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Creating Lightning In Maya

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This tutorial covers how to create lightning effects in Maya.


Open the scene that you want to create lightning in.

Set the menu set to dynamics.

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Creating Lightning

Maya creates lightning by stringing a curve between 2 or more points, then extrudes the curve, turning it into geometry that can be rendered, adds noise to the curve, then assigns a glowing shader to the geometry.

Step one - Select your two or more objects. These objects can be NURBS, polygons, locators..basically anything that can be moved.

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Step two - Go to effects>create lightning... Open the options by clicking on the options box.

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Step three - Now let's explain its attribues.

Lightning name - This is the name of the lightning (kind of obvious).

Group lightnings - This will put all the lightning pieces into one group.

Creation options>All - The lightning strikes will be added between all of the objects.

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Create options>in order - This will create the lightning strikes in the order that they were selected.

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Create options>from list - Lightning strikes will be created from the first object and stretched from that object to all the objects selected after that.

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Curve segments - This is how many times the curve will be segmented. The more segments it has, the more definition in the "lightning noise" there will be.

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Thickness - This is the thickness of the lightning bolt.

Max spread - This is how "jumpy" the lightning will be. The higher the value, the farther the lightning will jump.

Lightning start - This acts like an offset at the point where the lightning is created.Most of the time, 0 is the best setting.

Lightning end
- This acts like an offset at the point where the lightning ends. Most of the time, 0 is the best setting.

Lightning glow intensity - This is how much glow will be applied to the shader.

Now select your appropriate settings and click create.

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