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How to simulate a Flickering Candle effect

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I used this technique last year 2010 (my first year with LOR) and needed a really good looking way to make my Jack O' Lanterns that are internally lit with a single C7 bulb appear to have a candle in them and not a light bulb. I also used this with some NOEL Christmas Candles that the flame tips were lit seperately from the stalks (I know the candle stalks aren't usually lit, but I inserted C7 bulbs inside mine to also light the stalks so they would be visible too, this also worked out well!) But this is about how to achieve a nice flickering candle flame effect.

Below is what I came up with, and it worked out so well that I am sharing my technique for doing this type effect with others that may not know how to achieve it. This particular techinque made an effect that was very successful.

If you can locate Clear-Amber C7 bulbs, these are the ideal color as they look more realistic as a candle than the standard clear C7 bulbs, but either will still work just fine.

WARNING!: There is NO EASY or FAST WAY to do this! To get this effect and have it look really good takes time and patience!

How to simulate a Flickering Candle flame in an Halloween Jack O' Lantern or Christmas Candle Blowmold that only the flame tip has a bulb in it or even a single C7 based Window sill candle . Works best with C7 Clear or Clear-Amber(preferred) type incandescent bulbs using the LOR 2 Sequence Editor software.

First to "shimmer" fade it up:

Click on the Star icon in the tool bar

Next Click the Shimmer Icon (to the right of the star icon)

Then the Fade Up (also to the right of the star icon)

You should now have 3 icons recessed, star,Shimmer and Fade Up

Now shimmer-Fade up to the length you want it to be (at the end of that channel just reverse this process, but use the Fade down icon to the right of the star to shimmer-fade out.)

Fading it up at the beginning/down at the end is optional and not needed in most cases. But it does make it look just a hint better by doing it.

If you need to change the intensity of the fade and don't want it to fade full on, use the Fade Up button with the question mark in it, this will bring up the fade tool window of various intensities you can use, these can be changed to intensity settings of your choosing as well..

Now for the random looking intensities between the shimmer-fade up and shimmer-fade out(down, if used)

Now click on the intensity icon (has the bars in it and also to the right of the star), you should still ahve 3 icons recessed, the star, shimmer and intensity (this icon is directly right of the shimmer icon)

Also click on the intensity icon with the question mark in it to the very far right, this will bring up the intensity tool where you can select intensities, you can also change them from their standard intesnity settings.

Select a starting intensity, say like 20% and click on a square in the sequence you want to turn on at that intensity, this will insert that intensity, now change intensities to a higher one, say 75%, click on the next square, keep changing intensities at various levels to get the light to shimmer at low to full intensity back to lower intensities (keep doing this for the entire channel, changing intensity settings as you go), use an intensity that won't light an incandescent bulb (or LED) and use that for areas where you want the light to appear to be in an off state, this also helps keep the bulb alive, and the flickering effect works much better this way than if you just turned the bulb completely off.

One thing I do is I will create a bar of intensities and then just copy and past them over top of each other in randonm fashion in each channel I want this effect to occur in.

And you will get the results I got in the Cool to Be a Witch 2.0 sequence whre I used this technique for my Funkin Style Jack O' Lanterns.

To see how this effect was used or see how I did it, please go to the Cool to Be a Witch 2.0 Sneak Peek thread here:

http://forums.lightorama.com/forum83/26411.html

Download the sequence from there, then you can see how this effect works and maybe get a better understanding of how I did it along with the information presented here.


Any questions? Just ask!:D

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Here are some photo's that show what the effect looks like in the LOR II Sequence Editor to get the "Flickering Candle" effect I used for Jack O' Lanterns, Christmas Candles (Blowmold candles) or windowsill candles. Other uses are possible, use your imagination.

Couldn't post all the photo's in one block, tried uploading and linking to them, but that did not work.

So here they are in 3 seperate views.
My apologies for the bad pix, but the way my monitor sits and the lighting from the windows above the computer doesn't help.


This one os the Shimmer Fade Up (the orange area with the diagonal lines)



Attached files 244211=13292-FlickerSim-01.jpg

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Middle of the sequence screen shot




Attached files 244212=13293-FlickerSim-02.jpg

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Shimmer end Fade Out screen shot.




Attached files 244213=13294-FlickerSim-03.jpg

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[align=left]Just a short, silent sample video to show how the Flickering Candle Flame effect works.

This is accomplished using the LOR II Sequence Editor and LOR CTB16PC Conttollers.

In the video is a modifed Solar lamp housing that is covering a single windowsill candle that uses a C7 bulb. The C7 bulb is a clear-amber colored bulb to give more of a fire flame effect.

This effect is used in my Halloween display for Styrofoam type Jack O' Lanterns as well as in my Christmas Display using Blowmold NOEL Candles to simulate the flicker of a candle flame.

This was accomplished using the information and screen shots shown in the above posts.

This was taken from the "Cool to Be a Witch 2.0" sequence.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAfokjsVYzg&hl=en&fs=1

[/align]
[align=center]Any questions, just ask!

[/align]

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Thanks Greg.

And I made a goof in the posts above about the C7 bulb color, all the CLEAR-AMBER should be replaced with CLEAR-ORANGE, sorry about that liitle error.

And for anyone interested, you can buy these bulbs here:

Clear Orange C7 bulb 25 pack @ 4.90.

http://www.christmas-light-source.com/C7-Bulbs-Orange_p_1151.html

They do require a minimum order of $20 and the $20 can also be included in your shipping charges.

Just as an example:

Order total = $17.00

Shipping = $ 3.00

---------

combined total = $20.00

So this would make your $20 minimum order. And they do have a shpping calculator (based on zip code) on the site before you check out to know what your shipping charge will be.

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Jim Saul wrote:

That looks amazingly real!


Thanks Jim.

I came up with this technique for my 2010 Halloween Display for my Jack O Lantern's originally. I was very surprised at how well it actually did work out, better than I imagined! And so it found its way into my Christmas display for the flame tips on my NOEL candles. All 4 of them!

I didn't even think about this until John Slade sent me a PM asking how I did that cool candle flicker effect, so I had thought I had posted it last year after I had tried it at Halloween, appears I hadn't.

So I put up the info here so others can use it in their displays.

Got to say, it works and looks best if the bulb is actually hidden inside a housing of some sort, it looks just okay if just the bulb is exposed, but the best and real wow effect comes from the bulb being hidden inside a lamp housing, flame tip on a blowmold candle or inside a Jack O Lantern.

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That is really nice! I copied your sequence and pasted it into one of my Halloween sequences. I may even use it on the candlesticks for Christmas.

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Thanks Steven. Yes, it sure fooled a lot of folks last year, they thought I had put real candles in my "styrofoam" Jack O Lanterns, uhhh, no, don't think that'd work too well. LOL

I've updated the sequence I used to make it easier to edit for other displays,

Here's the newly revised sequence that has better graphic animation and has been split into tracks for easier incorporation into other displays just by changing the information.

New Revised "Cool to Be a Witch 2.0" sequence:




Attached files 2011_Cool to Be a Witch 2_0.lms

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B-Rock wrote:

I was looking for something exactly like this. Thanks for sharing!


You're very welcome and always happy to share new techniques or ways to use our lights in different ways.

That's what makes this hobby so much fun, finding out ways to do things that folks watching our displays just can't believe it's a simple light bulb doing all that.:cool:

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BTW: I have updated my 48 channel sequences and uploaded the newer versions of the ones that are complete (albeit, may need some tweaks).


The new enhanced sequences have been set up using Tracks to hopefully make it easier to edit for others wanting to download and adapt/modify them for their display.


These 48 channel Halloween sequences can be downloaded here:

https://cid-7d6d47dfa1c635ae.office.live.com/browse.aspx/Halloween%20-%20LOR%20Sequences/Halloween%20Sequences/48%20Channel?uc=8


More to come as I get them ready.

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I am not sure which is better.

How freaking awesome the candle looks - which it totally does!!!

or the Warning message that you started out with.

Time to make candle effect - x days

Look on everyone's face that views it - PRICELESS!

Great job!

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KenL_MCSE wrote:

I am not sure which is better.

How freaking awesome the candle looks - which it totally does!!!

or the Warning message that you started out with.

Time to make candle effect - x days

Look on everyone's face that views it - PRICELESS!

Great job!


Thanks Ken.


LOL. That's why I made the sequence available with the effect in it. That way folks have an easier start in doing this because they have a foundation to start with.

If you try and do it from scratch, it takes some time to get it looking really good, hence that big, bold, ominous warning. :P

I think that effect when I first started playing with it and to get it where it's at, probably around 2,000-2,500 hours before I was pleased with the effect I wanted. Actually started working on that effect in the DEMO version of the software in November or December of 2009 before implementing it in my Halloween Display (my first set up with LOR) in 2010.


BTW: this is the newest sequence for Cool to Be A Witch 2.0:


Attached files 2011_Cool to Be a Witch 2_0.lms

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Question, do you know if this effect will work thru a malibu 12V landscape light transformer? I was working on a "Candleabra" with 8 4W amber lights and this would be right up that alley. IE: run the lights thru a regular LOR controller to the Transformer to the 12V lights?

Thanks
Tom Straub

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testraub wrote:

Question, do you know if this effect will work thru a malibu 12V landscape light transformer? I was working on a "Candleabra" with 8 4W amber lights and this would be right up that alley. IE: run the lights thru a regular LOR controller to the Transformer to the 12V lights?

Thanks
Tom Straub

I don't think so. This is designed to control a standard C7 120VAC bulb. Going through a transformer, I'm pretty sure won't allow the effect. Although you can try it and see, but I have some serious doubt it will work. Or if it does, not very well.

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yes it works great, i feed the 12v transformer in on the 1-8 side of the boards, then feed the outs to the low voltage lights, running over 16 channels this way (multiple boards)

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Mtrumbull wrote:

yes it works great, i feed the 12v transformer in on the 1-8 side of the boards, then feed the outs to the low voltage lights, running over 16 channels this way (multiple boards)


Yes, it works in the way you're doing it.

But I'm almost certain the other person is asking if they can connect a regular LOR controller(like a CTB16PC) with an 120v dongle DIRECTLY to the Malibu transformer and then to the lights they want to flicker.

I still do not believe this will work in that manner.

I use wal-warts to supply lighting to some of my tombstones and I can only use a FULL ON or OFF command, it will not allow me to use any other lighting effects. Can't fade, shimmer, twinkle because the adapter won't pass those commands directly from a CTB16PC type controller, and I think this is what they are trying to do. At least that's how it sounds to me from the way it's posted.

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Uhhhh It does work :D Malibu Transformer to 1 amber light working GREAT! Only plan on 4 lights hooked into the transfomer.

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testraub wrote:

Uhhhh It does work :D Malibu Transformer to 1 amber light working GREAT! Only plan on 4 lights hooked into the transfomer.


Glad it works! I really wasn't sure if it would.

The Malibu transformer must be different than your average wal-wart because it won't work with them using LED's or Incandescent bulbs. At least none of the wal-warts I have will function with the flickering or any other lighting options except off/on. Maybe I need to buy some Malibu transformers!

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yes, the malibu transformers are AC out. the ones i use can handle 88 watts i use one light per channel down the driveway (16), one each channels on the garage (2), 6 in front of the house (1) using two transformers. all command from the CT16Ds (4).

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Mtrumbull wrote:

yes, the malibu transformers are AC out. the ones i use can handle 88 watts i use one light per channel down the driveway (16), one each channels on the garage (2), 6 in front of the house (1) using two transformers. all command from the CT16Ds (4).


That's definitely difference, my wal-warts with a few exceptions are all pretty much DC out. Have a couple that are 9VAC and 12VAC out, but never tried using them.

I don't have any CT16D's, only CTB16PC controllers and that's what I was basing my responses on. As I don't think any of the transformers will work on the output of the CTB16PC controller, at least none of my DC output ones will. Haven't tried any of the ones that put out AC, as most of the items on my wal-warts are DC operated (converted from battery to wal-wart) and don't really have anything that uses low voltage AC.

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The CTB16PC will also work, the key is the isolated input on 1-8 so you can run a different AC power in. 9-16 must be 120V to power the board. Thought about removing the transformer to isolate 9-16 as to have 32 channels capable of 120V xmas lights or 12V summer lights.

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