In my short there were a number of obsticles I had to overcome. Aside from story, character design and rigging, I had a number of effects which were beyond the typical things you'd get for free with Maya. One of them was electricity.
Maya does come with particle effects which could pass for electricity and I'd even tried using stretched polygons to substitute for bolts. After Effects also has a lightning tool. But utimetly I chose to draw the effect by hand. Personally I like the look of hand drawn effects and wanted to make sure the effect had a specific look to it.
Here's what I drew in Flash without any effects applied:
Lightning only Flash from Graham Ross on Vimeo.
Here's my first pass using After Effects and Photoship. I learned later that much of the colorization I used in Photoshop could have been achieved using solely After Effects. You'll also see some timing issues and some left-over stretched polys that I was using to simulate sparks:
Lightning w/ AE from Graham Ross on Vimeo.
And the final render. I animated a light to flash on his underside and kept the background dark to emphasize the electricity:
Lightning w/ Render from Graham Ross on Vimeo.