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Creating small scale fire and smoke with the help of FumeFX

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(Score 4.5 out of 5 after 24 Votes)
Date Added: 24th February 2014
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Under the Rendering Parameters heading, we won't change any of the settings. Though we will load a new color into the Fire tab:

? Don't change any parameter except the color. I made a specific color asset to use with fire here, and you can just download it into your color button.

? Ambient - R : 0 | G : 0 | B : 0
? Smoke Color - R : 60 | G : 60 | B : 60
? Cast Shadows - Checked
? Receive Shadows - Checked

Keep all other parameter as the default settings.

The settings used in the Rendering tab


Before we start working on this tab, we have to place lights in the scene. We'll be using 3 standard lights: a Target Spot and two Omni lights. We need to apply the following settings to these before we adjust the FumeFX settings.

1. Target Spot

Light Position
X : -95.487 | Y : -117.432 | Z : 1381.682
Target Position
X : 237.649 | Y : 0.0 | Z : 93.602

You can turn on the shadows for this light. Go to the Shadow Parameters tab and turn on the Atmosphere Shadows. Keep everything else default though.

2. Omni

Light Position
X : 827.659 | Y : -381.15 | Z : -16.907
Turn on the shadows for this light too, and set the Multiplier to 0.42. Then go to the Shadow Parameters tab and turn on the Atmosphere Shadows, and again, keep everything else default.

3. Omni

Light Position
X : 827.659 | Y : -381.15 | Z : -16.907
Turn on the shadows for this light too, and set the Multiplier to 0.42. Then go to the Shadow Parameters tab and turn on the Atmosphere Shadows, and again, keep everything else default.

Once you have placed and set your lights in the scene, add them to the Lights panel in the FumeFX Illumination Tab. When they are added, turn on Multiple Scattering and apply the following settings:
? Maximum Depth - 6
? Fire - 1.0
? Smoke Strength - 1.0
? Falloff - 12

Adding the lights to the Illumination panel and assigning parameters

Objects and sources

This is the final step before you hit the Simulation Button. Add the FFX Particle Src (SSF Src) and FFX Gravity Vector to the Objects tab. When you select FFX Object Src, one more tab will appear (Object Source Parameters). Add Plane01 in this tab.

Now we have to add the texture map to the Object source. First, click on the Disable button next to the map and select Source from Intensity, then drag the Gradient Ramp Map we made earlier into the None button. Do same with each of the 3 sections; Fuel, Temperature and Smoke.

Then increase the Smoke Amount from 2.0 to 20.0, keep the Objects at 1.0 under Velocity, and for the Extra, do the same as you did for Expansion.

The settings needed under the Objects and Sources tab

Start the simulation

Now we are ready to start the simulation. Just hit the Simulation button and it will take around 1 to 2 hours to complete the Simulation. In the mean-time, you can take a break.

Now it's time to apply the Wavelet Simulation. After your simulation is finished, go to the Simulation mode and select Wavelet. Now you will see the Simulation button has changed from green to orange. Now hit the Wavelet Simulation Button.

After the simulation has finished (it should take around an hour), you will see text; ?Cache', next to the Simulation buttons. You will also see a drop-down menu which mentions ?Default' ? change this into ?Wavelet'. If you kept this as default, then it will render a normal simulation with no wavelet or detail. So for that reason, you must check the Cache button before rendering.

Applying the Wavelet Simulation to your normal simulation

Rendering and compositing

To begin the render, after the simulation, go to Render Setup. Add the fire, smoke and shadow elements for better control later in the compositing stage, and finally render out the sequence with a HD Resolution (1280 x 720).

To start compositing, load your sequence into After Effects. Apply some effects to the fire and smoke and adjust the Color Balance (R : 25 | G : 25 | B : 25), Sharpen, and the Brightness and Contrast. Add a solid layer in the background too.

As a final tip, the most important thing to do when making these effects is to always try different parameters. First you can try using those outlined in this tutorial, but later, try out your ideas. Try to use Object Source with Particle Source or Simple Source, change the parameters, and just see what happens. Good Luck!

The final adjustments in After Effects

Related links
For more info on FumeFX, check out their site
Check out Vikrant's Vimeo page for more

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
J Lebowski on Mon, 03 July 2017 4:48pm
"This will generate one more window (Noise Controller: SSF Container/Expansion) and you can adjust the settings to the parameters shown in the image." What. Image?
J Lebowski on Mon, 03 July 2017 4:34pm
You need to include what your units set up is for 3ds max as part of this tutorial. It does make a difference as to the sim result you will get.
Tronmole on Sun, 05 October 2014 4:16pm
So to make this work do the following. Increase the strength of the noise modifier that is applied to the expansion. It should vary between 0 and maybe 5. Secondly make sure the plane is contained within the fumefx grid. move it up to about Z: 0.05 Also make sure your units are set to generic.
Emil on Fri, 12 September 2014 10:55am
I'm sorry , why i follow all the steps but still didn't see any result kust like MPeter, Black Screen and finish the simulation within 1 mins, please help
Vikrant Dalal on Tue, 08 July 2014 7:54pm
My new Blog Address is - You can watch more tutorials. My Showreel Link -
Chris on Thu, 29 May 2014 11:38am
I'm like Lawrance, Jim and JB : the final product IS NOT the same, though I followed to the letter the tuto. Flames are very small and ridiculous, and we can see the plane during the render. (sorry my english is bad) The tutorial is clumsy. Jackie and MPeter : the source (plane) is below the grid, move it up
Tmqvnf on Sat, 10 May 2014 8:43pm
oh.. It's nice tutoria l..!!! I wish I buy this program FumeFX.. I remember this
Jackie on Fri, 02 May 2014 4:54am
how come i don't see anything in my simulation? I really need some help. I did the tut twice already... (
Vikrant Dalal on Tue, 01 April 2014 7:43pm
Hello JB, I'm Really sorry that I forgot to add Noise controller Image.
JB on Wed, 26 March 2014 10:11am
Whilst i got the tute to work, the final product is deceptive. Perhaps its the noise modifer which makes the flame turn into a fireball ish and the smoke to plume around? Mine just looks lack luster. You say refer to the diagram for the noise modifier but there is no picture for it =P. I'd of liked to have seen a tute where you talk a little bit more about the parameters. Or what major ones are best to change for different effects etc.
MPeter on Thu, 13 March 2014 7:14pm
I made the tutorial also 2 times and everything I get is a black simulation screen. The Simulation only takes 1 minute...
Jim Mallard on Wed, 26 February 2014 1:27pm
I've done this several times and I am like Lawrence, not getting anything close to what you are getting. My flames are very small. Smoke isn't too bad. I did get the texture to emit OK. I used generic units.
Vikrant Dalal on Tue, 25 February 2014 12:11pm
Use generic units & keep z value of plane position is 5.0 it will work definitely. still if you have any problem, reply here. Good Luck... :)
Josh Purple on Tue, 25 February 2014 12:24am
Thank You :) !
Lawrence on Mon, 24 February 2014 6:04pm
Identical settings (done the tut 2 times from 0) , and the result I get its not even closed when comes to animation , it just burns a lil on the ground .... What units setup ? Generic units?
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