Flashing Light Types in After Effects CS4

Written by alan donahue
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Flashing Light Types in After Effects CS4
Create multiple types of flashing lights with the "Vegas Effect." (Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The creation of flashing lights in Adobe After Effects CS4 can create many different types of lights from marquee signs, flashing sirens or control lights on a robot. Without the use of a third-party plug-in, the flashing lights are created and manipulated using the "Vegas Effect." This effect is built into "After Effects" and has multiple customisation options.

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Set Up

Click on the "Effects of Presets" window. Type in "Vegas" and the "Vegas Effect" will appear in the box. Drag and drop this effect directly over the media file you want to add the flashing lights to. The default lights will appear on the screen and surround the object that you applied them to. Click on the "Effect Controls" tab to see the different settings for the project. Expand the arrows on the settings to see even more options.


Select the "Stroke" type. This is what the lights will form around. If you want the lights to form around the shape in the project, select the "Image Contours." If you want the lights to form around a specific area, select "Mask/Path." If you choose "Mask/Path," select the "Mask" tool at the top of the screen and create the path for the shape of the lights. Set the segments of the lights to see how many lights you want to add to the project.


Adjust the details to set different types of flashing lights. The "Length" shows the size of the lights. The width expands the lights in a circular shape. The "Hardness" shows how dense the lights are. Choose a starting point for all these adjustments because they can be animated and adjusted throughout the project. Select the colour of the flashing lights with the eye dropper tool or the colour selection window.


Click on the key frame icons for everything you want to adjust in the animation. The "Opacity" and "Hardness" icons need to be activated to create the flashing lights. Drag the timeline navigator to the start of the project. Adjust the start point of the light. Now move the navigator to the point where you want the lights to start flashing. For example, if you want the lights to flash every second, bring it to the one second mark. Set the opacity to "0%." Move the navigator another second and adjust the opacity to "100%." Repeat this throughout the timeline to create the flashing light effect. Click on the "Render Preview" icon to see the an animated preview.

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