Here is a piece I edited on Adobe After Effects, to practise creating light saber effects. Initially I thought that the best method would be to motion track the swords/weapons or whatever is being used as a prop, and then in theory the glow would follow the prop in the video. However, after researching the practicalities of this method, Idiscovered that it would be easier to use layer masks and the pen tool to create a path, as motion tracking has major disadvantages, because it only really works when the item you are tracking remains the same size and doesn’t blur, which obviously for a weapon being waved around is going to be an issue, and hard to get around.

The method I used involved using the pen tool, and creating a path around the weapon at every frame. I keyframed these changes so that the path would follow the outline of the weapon, increasing in size when the weapon blurred to match the light effects that would be displayed if it were really happening. I then pre-composed this layer, and duplicated it four times on top of a solid black layer. Each duplicate was feathered, and each one doubled the value of the feathering, which gave the glowing effect. Finally, I screened the composition onto my original video composition, which revealed only the effect, before editing the colour balancing so that the swords were different colours.