LK Lightning 2.5 Available & Now Free

Today I have a new version of LK Lightning for you.
The headlining feature for version 2.5 is Stages which allows you to create much more complicated behaviours by assigning different sets of controllers to particles based on which stage they are in.
With these stages also comes a new category of compounds. Triggers that allow you to move particles between them.
You can assign a new stage to strands that have been split off as well and thus give them a different set of rules. This is something that was requested many times by 2.0 users and is indeed super useful.

Additionally there are a bunch of other useful tools for particle effects in here that stem from an awesome job I got to do at Digital Golem:

LK Lightning is also free for everyone now.

With Softimage going EOL I just don't feel good charging people for an extension to a software that has been sentenced to death.
Freelancers and companies who've approached me wanting to buy LKL in the past couple of months have already received it free of charge and with the new version I'm making it available to everyone.

I hope that the community can put 2.5 to good use and hope to still see many awesome projects made with it and Softimage.

You can get LK Lightning 2.5 on the Downloads page.

Let me know on twitter @LeonardKoch_ if you make something cool with it.

Why the new iPod touch is awesome for Webdevelopers

A few days ago Apple released the new iPod touch. It took them 3 years to refresh it, skipping every generation of the iPhone since the 5.

Now for most people this is an irrelevant device. Everyone who already has an iPhone or an iPad would get fairly little use out of the iPod touch.
Especially anyone techy usually scoffs at the touch as a device for children too young for their first phone or old people who want to facetime with their grandkids.

But I want to make the case that it is actually the ideal device for a certain subset of us tech-minded individuals.

The android-using, budget-conscious, independent Webdeveloper.

When building, I ran into so many issues with iOS it became a running joke among my iPhone using friends. "What bugs will Leo have us find today?" or "Oh Leo is here, when will he ask for my phone and open Zolar?"

There are so many things that mobile safari does very differently than other browsers, from not-loading html5 videos over handling drag events differently, to ignoring certain font settings and the list goes on.

Every time I asked one of my friends to borrow their iPhones I found new bugs, new weirdnesses and sometimes cool and neat behaviours that I didn't see anywhere else.
Asking your friends to load your site every time of course isn't the best way to debug your site on an operating system... So every webdeveloper should have an iOS device.

But which to choose?

Well if you can, ALL OF THEM or at least an iPhone 6 and an iPad Air 2. But not everyone has that kinda money.
It used to be the best budget option to go with an iPad Mini 2 for $300, but I think that now there is a new king in town - the new iPod touch, for just $200.

When it got refreshed, it received the most recent ARM chip from Apple, the A8. The iPad Mini 2 which costs a hundred dollars more is still rocking the A7.
The A8 will make sure that your iPod touch will be running the most recent version of iOS for a long time.
There was pant-up demand when Apple finally released bigger phones with the iPhone 6 and they sold a lot of them.
If the iPhone 6 with its A8 is supported - which they are incentivized to do because there are very many of them - then the iPod touch will be too.

You might say that the iPod touch is small and has a much lower resolution than an iPhone 6 which is probably the most important device for most sites, but I don't think that having the same resolution is important. 

You can try out different resolutions and scalings in chrome's dev tools all day, but what it can't give you is an environment to test out all those special behaviours of mobile safari that I talked about above. 

So if you want to min-max the value of your iOS test environment, then I think the iPod touch is the way to go.

New Tutorial: LKF Blend Shapes

Prompted by Miran Kevic's question about how to morph an LKF strand-mesh between different shapes, I've made this new tutorial in which I demonstrate how to blend one surface with another and how to make the LK Fabric strands generated from it behave properly.

This technique is really neat for a number of commonly needed effects.
I hope you get some good use out of it.

You can download LK Fabric on the Downloads-page.

LK Fabric - Awesome Sample Scene by Andy Moorer

Andy Moorer who worked on the jobs for Nike with me and who gave me a ton of feedback for LK Fabric, has written a nice blog post detailing his workflow with LKF.


If you are getting into LKF, then this blog post and the sample scene he made are definitely something to check out as it will help you get the workflow right.

Andy has also written a neat little explanation of his workflow with and thoughts on the tool over at

Here is the blog post with the sample scene on Andy's site:
And here is the lively forum thread on 

You can download LK Fabric over on the Download page.

New Plugin: LK Fabric

Hey everyone, today I have a new plugin for you. 

LK Fabric is an unsimulated tool-set made up of 50+ components, designed for the creation and animation of fabrics and cloths. 
Here is a video giving a tour of the basic functionality:

LK Fabric gives you control over the geometry of the cloth down to the fibres which make up the threads which then in turn make up the fabric.
It supports motionblur, strand-texturing directly in ICE, fabric flowing over multiple surfaces and many more things.

This tool has come out of a series of commercials for Nike, which I got to work on at Royale this summer.
They have graciously allowed me to share this tool-set with the community. Major thanks for that!

Big thanks also go to Billy Morrison, Ciaran Moloney, Steven Caron and Andy Moorer who provided pages and pages of feedback during production and then used the tools to create all the pretty images.
Andy did a nice write-up about the production on the Softimage-mailing-list: 

The two spots are available on Vimeo. 
Nike Tech Fleece
Nike Evolution

You can download LK Fabric in the Download section. 

If you find any bugs or have suggestions, feel free to shoot me an email to

I hope you guys check out the tool and that it helps you in production!



LK Lightning Eye Candy

Hey guys, here are some recent works using LK Lightning.

First is Elysium, on which The Embassy used LK Lightning to create the Raygun effects.
Can't wait to see this one in the Theatre.

Next up is the Cinematic Trailer for Alien Rage. Janimation used LK Lightning to create some of the mech gun effects. Really cool cinematic. I particularly like the Galaxy they made using Mootzoid plugins.

Thank you so much for using LK Lightning on such cool productions guys!

LK Lightning 2.0 is out!

It has been a long time coming, but now version 2 is finally out.

The video walks through some of the Sample Scenes and should give you a good overview about LK Lightning 2.0's capabilities.

There are a ton of new features and improvements that will make new things possible and already possible tasks easier.

The video is also available on vimeo:

The change-log goes into more detail about new features and improvements.

If you have any questions or thoughts feel free to post a comment or send me an email at

Thank you for your continued interest!

New Tutorial: Growing a Forest

In this tutorial I show you how to grow a forest with LK Lightning 2.0.

00:00 - Introduction.
01:20 -  Creating and examining the nodes in the basic strand setup.
03:47 - Setting up the emitter options.
05:39 - Adding the branches aka setting Splitter properties.
08:15 - Changing the trunk thickness.
09:13 - Using thickness propagation for thinner and thinner branches. 
09:54 - Using Modulate Size over Length to make the branches thin out at the end.
11:27 - Adding more branches & Split Limits explanation.
16:35 - Examining the tree and adding a direction controller.
18:48 - Using the controller to make the trees sway in the wind.
20:00 - Adding the leaves.
23:00 - Designing the look of the leaves.
25:07 - Using a gradient to design the summer look for the trees. (With brief tree-design on acid moment.)
26:27 - Pulling the color from ICE into the render tree.
28:15 - Fixing the trunk&branch color.
29:08 - Adjusting the growth of the leaves.
30:14 - Designing the fall look for the trees.
31:41 - Creating the transition from summer to fall.
36:35 - Examining the result.
37:40 - Playing with the wind and final thoughts.

The tutorial is also up on Vimeo.

LK Lightning 2.0 will be available very soon. I hope you enjoy this tutorial.