Whether you're a fan of the show or not, you have to admire some of the special effects it creates.  This tutorial will show you how to create the Energyball effect used by many demons on the show.  This effect does not match the original perfectly.  Instead I choose to make mine a little more 3D than the show's.  Personally I like mine better, but that's just me.

Materials Needed:

    -3DS Max (I'm using version 5 but earlier versions will work)

    -Basic understanding of Max

    -Still or video camera

 

        Step 1:  Open 3Ds Max and create an omni light at coordinates 0,0,0. You can accept the default settings for the light, but rename the light Core Light.

        Step 2:  Create a sphere with a radius of 3.25 and 32 segments and align it (Alt A) with the light. Name this sphere Core Sphere.

        Step 3:  Next create a sphere with a radius of 6.5, and 32 segments. Use the align tool to center the sphere on the light. Name the sphere Inner Sphere.

        Step 4:  Create, yet, another sphere with a radius of 12 this time and 32 segments. Again, align this sphere on the omni light. Rename the sphere Outer Sphere.

        Step 5:  Open the Material Editor by hitting M on your keyboard. We'll be creating 3 different materials. First create the Core material with a diffuse color of pure white, 100% Self Illumination, and both Specular and Glossiness levels at 0. Go into the Maps rollout and click on the Opacity slot. When the Material/Map Browser opens, select Gradient Ramp. Within the Gradient Ramp settings enter the settings below. Once you have done this, minimize the Material Editor and turn on the Auto Key button (Animate in earlier versions). Move your time
slider to the last  frame of your animation. Now return to the Material Editor and enter a phase value of 4(The phase value should increase by 4 for each 100 frames you have).  Name this material Core. Apply the Core material to your Core Sphere Object.

        Step 6:  Make two duplicates of this material by clicking and dragging the material sample picture to two new slots. Name one duplicate Inner Sphere and the other Outer Sphere. In the Inner Sphere properties, leave all the Blinn Basic settings the same except change the opacity to 50. In the Maps rollout, select your Opacity material and change the following settings to the ones below.

Once you're through with that, go back to the Maps rollout and click on the Diffuse Color map slot. Select a Gradient Ramp from the Material/Map Browser and use the following settings. Apply this to the Inner Sphere object.

        Step 7:  Move to the Outer Sphere material. Again leave all the Blinn Basic settings the same except change the opacity to 0. In the Maps rollout set the opacity map to these settings.

In the Diffuse Color slot set a Gradient Ramp to the settings below. Apply this material to your Outer Sphere object and your done with your materials.

        Step 8:  Now onto the actual FX. Open Video Post and add a scene event by clicking the icon with a teapot with an arrow next to it. I used the Perspective view, but if you created a camera, then add that.

        Step 9:  Add an Image Filter Event, which is the yellow icon with the red squiggle through it. When the dialogue box opens select a Lens Effects Glow. Name this filter Lightning. Click the Setup tab to enter the Glow Settings area. Go to the Preferences tab and set the size to 2 and change the color to user. Set the color to Red=178, Green=148, Blue=189 and set the intensity to 50. Now go to the Inferno tab and enter the following settings. Click the OK button and you're done.

        Step 10:  Now back in the Video Post main dialogue box, add a new Image Filter Event, only this time make it a Lens Effects Flare. Name this filter Core and click the setup button. When the Lens Flare dialogue box opens click the Node Source button and select your Core Light from the list. Set the size to 30 and the squeeze to 0. Off to the right, under the Prefs tab, make sure that the Glow, Man Sec, and the Rays are the only boxes checked under the Render heading.  Then for the Glow, Man Sec and Rays set the Occlusion to 0. Once you're done with that go to the Man Sec tab. Make sure that only Man Secs 1 and 2 are on by using this to scroll through. Click OK to exit back to the main Video Post screen.

        Step 11:  Add an Image Output Event and set it however you like. I personally prefer .mov files.

        Step 12:  Exit the Video Post. The last thing to do is set the Object Channel for the Outer Sphere. Select the Outer Sphere object, right click and select properties.  Where it says Object Channel enter 1. That's it, you're done. All you have to do now is render your image or movie.

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