For years concerts, parties, raves and even dedicated traveling light shows have been dazzling attendees with laser effects. Laser effects and shows have been become so popular as to spawn an entire industry organization.The variety of laser lighting effects can be classified in just a few categories.

Static Beam Effects

Beam effects, like the name would suggest, involve the laser beam itself. There are two types of beam effects: static and dynamic. Static beam effects are the kind that do not move but are often turned on and off (sometimes at rapid intervals), bounced off mirrors or passed through smoke to create a variety of effects. Light show information website Laser FX notes that static beam effects can be the most dangerous. Direct eye contact with the beam can lead to burning the retina or even blindness, so care should be taken that the beams are not aimed at the audience.

Dynamic Beam Effects

Dynamic beam effects are the kind that move. If you've ever been to a show or party in which a "fan" of laser beams cascaded upward or downward, you've seen some dynamic effects. Dynamic effects can also move beams in sequence and in particular shapes, such as cones, tunnels and even sheets. Those putting on dynamic beam effects can also use diffraction grating elements to disperse the beams all around.

Screen Effects

Screen effects are the kind that are projected onto a surface. The effects include animations and graphics. Laser FX also lists types of abstract light projections--"cycloids, abstracts, lumia"--among the projected effects. Surfaces for screen effects include walls, billboards, sides of buildings, dome ceilings, mountains, and, if the conditions are right, even clouds.