To create the laser effect I decided to build the basis of it using geometry in Max then finish it with a dose of After Effects. The geometry and animation was fairly straightforward – all items had a Matte Shadow material to block it from the alpha channel and the main laser beam was a standard Max material with self-illumination at 100
The render, as imported into After Effects, looked like this:
I then added an Outer Glow with a light blue colour
Then a Fast Blur…
After that I just upped the Brightness & Contrast with some Curves to white out the blue of the geometry. At the time of rendering I wasn’t sure of the actual colour I required for the beam (hence the medium blue) as it happens I just could have done them in white…
The ‘ball of light’ at the end of the gun was using the Advanced Lightning effect in After Effects. It took a bit of working to make it look like a ball. Basically I moved the start and end points really close with a large but thin spread and animated the conductivity state.
And the final frame looked like the below. The long shots were done in the same manner but with some parameters toned down as they were physically smaller on the screen.