This article was updated on 30th November 2018
At Galactic, we enjoy nothing more than seeing the fireworks we stock in action. Each of the different types of effects generated by our cakes and rockets have their own unique characteristics to make them stand out.
As a consumer, it’s likely that you’ll have seen plenty of firework effects that you like, but wouldn’t be able to name. To help you recognise the difference between some of the most common effects – and choose your fireworks appropriately - we’ve put together this handy guide.
Comparison Table: What Different Firework Effects Are There?
|Name of Effect||Description||Defining feature|
|Brocade||An expanding sphere of weaving clusters||Culminates in a spectacular bright burst|
|Chrysanthemum||One or more concentric spheres that erupt with visible trails||The symmetrical flower that gives the effect its name|
|Comet||A projectile shot that leaves a shimmering trail in its wake||Particularly spectacular when combined with cake fireworks|
|Crossette||Overlapping shots from separate projectiles||Intriguing criss-cross effect|
|Dragon’s Eggs||Break effects that end in varying degrees of crackles and strobes||One of the most contemporary firework effects around|
|Fish||Wriggling flurries of stars that create a fairly erratic dispersal||A great mix of (usually) low-noise and colour|
|Palm||Thick rising tail that erupts into tendrils to reveal a palm tree effect||A real classic of the fireworks’ industry|
|Peony||Round aerial break that shoots outwards upon eruption||Ball-shaped stars are beautifully unique|
|Pistil||Bright burst that stretch outwards before fading into rest of firework effect||Usually found within a flower-shaped birst such as a peony|
|Strobe||Release of stars that burn brightly and dimly in quick succession||Designed to mimic the flickering effect seen in strobe lighting|
|Tourbillion||Shots that spin upwards with an erratic flight pattern||The spiral flight makes these effects highly sought-after by firework fans|
|Willow||Begins with a substantial star that generates trails to mimic a weeping willow tree||In the largest fireworks, these effects are difficult to rival|
Whilst there does tend to be some variation between manufacturers, the descriptions (and cool graphics) we’ve complied are arguably the most relative to each individual effect.
The brocade is one of the most common firework effects. Featuring an expanding sphere of weaving clusters, it culminates in a spectacular bright burst. This tends to be brighter than the finale of a willow. With brocade shells, there are usually trails behind each of the sparks as they fall to the ground.
A quintessentially-classic firework effect, the chrysanthemum consists of one or more concentric spheres. When chrysanthemums have multiple layers, they are referred to as double and triple versions. Symmetry is a key aspect the chrysanthemum. It should erupt with visible trails that ultimately grow to represent the flower that gives the effect its name.
The comet effect revolves around a projectile shot that should leave a shimmering trail in its wake. Propelled from a mortar or shell, these firework effects can be combined within cake fireworks or rockets to truly astonishing effect. Multiple comets will sometimes be included within fanned cakes to create a spellbinding sequence of shots from one side to another.
The intriguing criss-cross effect generated by the crossette makes fireworks that use it incredibly appealing additions to any display. Each shot fired from the firework in question splits into a separate projectile. As the trails of each of these overlap with each other, a wonderful medley of colour fills the sky.
Loosely defined as break effects that end in varying degrees of crackles and strobes, dragon’s eggs are one of the fireworks industry’s more contemporary effects. There will typically be a number of these shots included within one firework, with varying dragon’s eggs on show as the firework in question explodes.
These wriggling flurries of stars are seen across many modern-day consumer fireworks. They are often accompanied by low-noise sounds and tend to be seen in a plethora of colours, depending on the manufacturer. As they tend to launch in groups, the effect created is one that’s fairly erratic.
A classic of the fireworks industry, the palm effect revolves around a thick, rising tail that displays as the main shot climbs. This will then erupt into multiple tendrils that should fan out in various directions to mimic the leaves of a palm tree.
When a flower-shaped burst like a chrysanthemum or peony features a central burst, this is defined as a pistil. Viewable in many different colours and forms, a pistil can add an additional distinctive quality to the right firework. It’s likely that you’ll have witnessed hundreds of these before without realising. These bright bursts will typically stretch outwards before fading into the rest of the firework’s effects.
Strobe effects in fireworks have been designed to mimic the flickering effect seen in standard strobe lighting. As the shell of the firework explodes, the stars it releases should burn brightly and dimly in quick succession. Strobe firework effects are some of the most beautiful around. They’re particularly spectacular when packaged within larger fireworks.
The tourbillion effect refers to shots that tend to spin upwards with an erratic flight pattern. The almost spiral flight created by the effect has led to it being increasingly sought after by pyro fans. If you want to leave a memorable firework in the minds of those witnessing your display, a firework that produces tourbillions could be the perfect answer.
Named after the weeping willow tree, this effect is seen in the shape of the shell pattern as the firework in question explodes. In almost all cases, the willow effect will begin with a substantial star that’s followed by trails that hang in the same way the willow tree would. Fireworks that generate the most stunning willows are often reserved for spectacular displays.
A round aerial break that shoots outwards upon eruption, peonies can be an effect of true beauty. Seen in many different colours, this traditional shell-based effect is similar to the chrysanthemum. The primary difference is that the stars are ball-shaped and do not feature the lengthy trails.