I'm using the Laplacian Lightning Generator, and have figured out how to make the generated lightning renderable in Blender Internal. While I (probably?) could use this, there's a few issues with me using BI, such as the quality of Cycles (e.g., really detailed shadows) not being available with BI.

I read in the Lightning addon comments that you can convert it to a curve, or use wire material. Is wire material available in Cycles? I tried converting it to a curve, but I can't figure out how to make it visible in render from there. I could extrude it, but then it'd be a 2D plane of lightning, as the lightning itself is just edges (wouldn't it?)

I'm wanting it to be similar to the video showcase it has; glowing, bright, etc. I also need to be able to animate this rather easily, I'm still new around here. :P

I apologize if these are really dumb questions. Thank you in advance! :D

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    $\begingroup$ There is a wire node, but it takes the geometry that's outputted to the renderer, so it's all triangles. There's also freestyle, but if I've heard correctly, it's very slow. I'll also mention that there are several ways to make a wireframe version of a mesh before rendering. $\endgroup$ Apr 23, 2015 at 3:43
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    $\begingroup$ try wireframe modifier or skin modifier $\endgroup$
    – Chebhou
    Apr 23, 2015 at 3:43
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    $\begingroup$ related: blender.stackexchange.com/questions/21739/… $\endgroup$
    – user1853
    Apr 23, 2015 at 4:42
  • $\begingroup$ @TARDISMaker I'll look into the wire node, and see if it will work for me. Thank you! $\endgroup$ Apr 24, 2015 at 3:57
  • $\begingroup$ And Chebhou, the wireframe modifier worked, but made it look extruded. I think compositing would allow me to make it look glowy (like real lightning) but I don't think it would work while trying to animate, would it? Thanks Cegaton, though those methods wouldn't work for me, as I mainly need this to be as animation-friendly as possible. $\endgroup$ Apr 24, 2015 at 4:06

1 Answer 1


The laplacian Lightning generator produces a set of Mesh objects. At its most basic setting, using two empties (origin and ground).

enter image description here

You can use the Single Mesh tickbox to make sure it's all one mesh, you lose flexibility, but the sake of example that method is probably handiest.

enter image description here

  • You can add a skin modifier to the mesh. By default the skinned edges is probably not the right size, you enter edit mode on the mesh, and go to vertex selection mode, select all vertices, then ctrl+a to scale down the radius of the skin.
  • Alternatively convert it to a Curve object (it will convert each edge to a straight section Curve type) (alt+C > Curve From Mesh)

Both solutions will render fine in Cycles.

enter image description here

For the animation, perhaps you might use a Build Modifier and tick reverse. Remember Light is a really fast phenomenum, often all we see is the trail of air burning and extinguishing rather fast.

Ultra Slowmotion:

enter image description here

I think it might have been better to subdivide the generated mesh a few times..now it exhibits jumps..

Credits to gandalf3 for this one:

enter image description here


(unless you need to generate a tonne of different strikes) Why not trace a photograph and use artistic discretion to 3d spatialize it, and animate that strike:)

  • $\begingroup$ I tried single mesh, like you said, and then the skin modifier, and it worked! Thank you! You helped me a ton! :D $\endgroup$ Apr 25, 2015 at 5:29
  • $\begingroup$ You're welcome! keep experimenting, it's a tricky phenomenon to simulate believably. $\endgroup$
    – zeffii
    Apr 25, 2015 at 5:40

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