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Creating large-scale smoke with the help of FumeFX

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Date Added: 25th November 2013
Software used:

Vikrant Dalal takes us through the key processes in creating a convincing plume of large-scale smoke.

Hi everyone, this is the first time I've written a tutorial explaining how to create VFX, so I've tried to make it as simple as I can.

So to start, I'll introduce the idea of large-scale smoke. You may have seen recent Hollywood movies include particle effects of smoke (or dust), which make certain shots appear huge and dramatic. This is because nowadays, many big VFX studios use this plug-in in their pipeline.

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to create large-scale smoke with the help of 3ds Max and the FumeFX plug-in. I can't teach you about the whole plug-in or each and every parameter in this tutorial, as it's a very big plug-in, but I can teach you how to make big effects with the use of minimum parameters.

There are a number of ways you can create the plumed smoke effect in FumeFX; for example, by using
Simple Source, Object Source or Particle Source ? but in this tutorial, we will use Particle Source. This will entail using Particle Flow, Standard Lights (Target Spot and Omni), and a Default Scanline Render.

Generate particle flow system

As I mentioned before, there are different types of technique to make this effect, but here we are going to use Particle Source. To begin, there are two ways to open the Particle Flow window: first, you can go Graph Editors > Particle View, or you can simply use the keyboard shortcut ?6'.

Now we can create the Standard Flow. First, click on the center part of the Particle Flow Window > New > Particle System > Standard Flow. In the viewport check the following positions:

Position of 'PF Source 01'
X: 0.0
Y: 0.0
Z: 20.0

Rotation of 'PF Source 01'
X: -90.0
Y: 0.0
Z: 0.0

The interface you should see in 3ds Max

Edit particle flow system

Now rename PF Source 01 to LSS Emitter 01. After this you can remove Shape and Rotation from the Event 01 and add Delete. Then select the LSS Emitter 01 and make the following changes in the parameters in the windows shown in the image below:

An important tip: if you keep the viewport at 50%, then it will only show 50% of the particles in the viewport. Because of that, FumeFX will generate smoke from only 50% of the particles. Therefore, you should always keep it at 100%.

A smaller integration step can improve accuracy at the cost of calculation time. But I am not worried about this because our Particle System is not particularly complicated.

Make sure to change your parameters to the ones shown here

continued on next page >

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
John Mcfarlin on Thu, 11 February 2016 3:56pm
thanks for wasting my time C:
Vikrant Dalal on Tue, 08 July 2014 7:53pm
My new Blog Address is - You can watch more tutorials. My Showreel Link -
Cengceng on Wed, 11 December 2013 2:58am
Thank you for sharing the good work~but I really want to know how can i make sure that i use the right scale of turbulence noise?That's always confuse me.
Prasad Hublikar on Wed, 27 November 2013 5:50pm
thanks vikrant for sharing amazing tutotial
Ds on Tue, 26 November 2013 12:44pm
Looks good but move too fast for large scale plum
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