Effect Examples

To assist you in selecting effects that you'd like to see in your Fireworks Display, examples and definitions of the more common ones are provided here.

Visual Effects

Brocade Crown

Chrysanthemum - The chrysanthemum has a spherical break of colored stars with a very short burn time, then followed by crackling

Crossette - Crossette is an effect characterized by a "star" which quickly shoots outward in four directions from the initial comet. When multiple crossette shells are fired simultaneously, the result is a mass of criss-crossing trails, hence the name "crossette". Each specialized star in a crossette shell contains a small shot hole that effectively divides the star into four segments. The shot hole is packed with an explosive powder. When the charge ignites, the star splits into four segments that propel outward.

In this example, the red crossettes at the ends have just started to split...

Dahlia - Essentially, the dahlia is the same as a peony shell, but with fewer and larger stars, which travel a longer-than-usual distance from the shell break before burning out

Diadem - The diadem is a type of Peony or Chrysanthemum with a center cluster of non-moving stars, usually of a strobing effect.

(Flying) Fish - Shells that have the property of projecting swarming flares in random directions.

Horsetail - Named for the shape of its break, this shell has a dense tail of stars that burn for a long time as they fall.

Mine - A mine is a ground firework that expels stars and/or other garnitures (effects) into the sky. Shot from a mortar like a shell, a mine can project small reports, serpents, small shells, comets, as well as just stars.

Mine - Another example of a mine.

Multi-Break Shell - There are two types: 1) Two or three shells, piggybacked one on top of the other (looks like a peanut; and is also called a "peanut" shell); the shell keeps rising as the lower shell(s) burst. The two or three shells are different - gives a great, prolonged effect (more "bang for the buck" ...sorry...);

2) a large shell containing several smaller shells of various sizes and types. The initial burst scatters the smaller shells across the sky before they explode; also called a bouquet shell.

Palm - A shell containing a relatively few large comet stars arranged in such a way as to burst with large arms or tendrils, producing a palm tree-like effect. Proper palm shells feature a thick rising tail that displays as the shell ascends, thereby simulating the tree trunk to further enhance the "palm tree" effect. Some Palm shells have a burst of color inside the palm burst (given by a small insert shell) to simulate coconuts.

Peony - The most commonly seen shell type, the peony has a spherical break of colored stars that burn without a tail effect.

Ring - A shell with stars specially arranged to create a ring-like shape. Variations include smiley faces, hearts, and clovers. This particular example is a very specialized one - the bursts around the outside are timed to explode sequentially (the long time exposure of the photo makes them look like they all went off at the same time.)

Spider - A shell containing a fast burning tailed or charcoal star that is burst very hard so that the stars travel in a straight and flat trajectory before slightly falling and burning out. This appears in the sky as a series of radial lines much like the legs of a spider.

Strobing - A series of quickly flashing stars that are used in peony shells and mines. In this example, the bright dots in the lower half were strobing on and off (the long time exposure of the photo makes them look like they all went off at the same time.)

Waterfall - Similar to a horsetail, but the stars burn for a long time

Willow - The willow is similar to the chrysanthemum, but has less of an ongoing flare after ignition of the shell. In addition, the flame trails gradually extinguish, and in doing so, fall, creating a willow branch-like effect.

Noise Effects

Bangs and Reports

The bang is the most common effect in fireworks and sounds like a gunshot; technically called a report.

Crackle - The firework produces a crackling sound. Many shells and cakes have this effect after a visual effect. The photo is an example of what crackle looks like (not the palm bursts in the lower right corner).

Hummers - Tiny tube fireworks that are ejected into the air spinning with such force that they shred their outer coating; in doing so they whizz and hum.

Salute - A shell intended to produce a loud report rather than a visual effect. Salute shells usually produce a quick flash, followed by a very loud report. Some salute shells produce a cloud of bright sparks around the flash. Salutes are commonly used in large quantities during finales to create intense noise and brightness.

Whistle - Shells that make high-pitched, often very loud screaming and screeching