So in photoshop the effect just didn’t develop. As you can see, the movement is very two dimensional and not projecting light the way we wanted. One very import piece did come from this though, and that is the spectrum I made.
Into After Effects I go, and quickly I discover the Radial Fast Blur effect, which makes this all possible. The spectrum layer is on the bottom, with the radial fast blur on that. this creates the projecting spectrum lights.
Because of the way we recorded Dad signing his name, I was able to transfer the data points for the brush positioning to create a reveal mask. This allows for the “writing” of his name in the spectrum and in a white light, second layer, that is on top of the spectrum.
The spectrum itself moves because of the final, critical trick. Using a null object set behind the spectrum layer in the 3d view, the spectrum’s light source center is connected to the null object. I then animated the movement of the null object, i.e. the light source.