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Create a Fireball with 3D Studio Max and FumeFX

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What You'll Be Creating

Introduction

Hello everyone, I'm here again with a new tutorial which will help you to make a fireball in 3ds Max. We will make this effect using a minimum amount of parameters, and use some tricks. So get ready for the fireball.

We'll be talking about a fireball with a huge smoke trail, you've probably seen such effects in game cinematics, war movies or science fiction movies, which can increase the look of certain shots.

In this tutorial, I'll show you how I created this fireball with the help of 3ds Max and the FumeFX Plugin. There are different types of techniques we can use to make this effect in FumeFX - e.g. Simple Sources, Object Sources, Particle Sources, etc. But this time we will use a Simple Source. And for this purpose we are going to use three different Simple Sources, some standard lights (Target Spot & Omni), and the default Scanline Renderer.

1. Create the FumeFX Simple Sources


As I mentioned before, there are different types of technique we can use to make this effect, but we are going to use simple sources in this example. So follow these steps:

Step 1

To Create a FFX Simple Source go to the Create Panel > Helpers, click on the drop-down menu and select FumeFX.

Click on the Simple Src button and generate it in the viewport by clicking and dragging.

Step 2

We'll now adjust the position and rotation of the first simple source (FFX Simple Src01). You can do this by selecting the source and Right Clicking on the Move and Rotate tools to open the Move and Rotate Transform Type-ins and entering the values.

In the viewport position Simple Source 01 at these coordinates:

X : 856.925 | Y : 0.0 | Z : 683.705

Rotation of Simple Source 01:

X : 0.0 | Y : -13.304 | Z : 0.0

Step 3

Add a second FFX Simple Source to the viewport by repeating Step 1 again. Adjust the position and rotation as follows:

Position of Simple Source 02:

X : 826.018 | Y : -1.765 | Z : 683.245

Rotation of Simple Source 02:

X : 0.0 | Y : 40.733 | Z : 0.0

Step 4

Finally add a third FFX Simple Source to the scene and adjust it's position and rotation as follows:

Position of Simple Source 03:

X : 837.963 | Y : 11.228 | Z : 699.334

Rotation of Simple Source 03:

X : 0.0 | Y : -42.45 | Z : 0.0

2. Creating and Linking the Dummy

I know you might be asking "Why we are going to use a Dummy..??". This is because we are going to link all three Simple Sources to the Dummy, so we won't need to animate the Simple Sources individually, we’ll just animate dummy and the linked objects will animate automatically.

Step 1

To create a Dummy go to Create > Helpers > Dummy and click and drag in the viewport.

Position of Dummy:

X : 839.469 | Y : 2.929 | Z : 690.044

Rotation of Dummy:

X : 0.0 | Y : 0.0 | Z : 0.0

Step 2

Now select all Three Simple Sources and link them to the Dummy using the Select and Link tool.

4. Animate the Dummy

Step 1

Now it’s time to animate the Dummy. We are going to animate this dummy from frame 0 to 65.

Select the Dummy, turn On the Auto Key button and with the time slider at at frame 0, position and rotate the Dummy as follows:

Position:

X : 839.469 | Y : 2.929 | Z : 690.044

Rotation:

X : 0.0 | Y : 0.0 | Z : 0.0

Step 2

Now with the time slider at frame 65, position and rotate the Dummy as follows:

Position:

X : 17.689 | Y : 2.929 | Z : 20.082

Rotation:

X : 0.0 | Y : -720.0 | Z : 0.0

After setting the position and rotation, turn Off the Auto Key button by clicking on it again.

Step 3

Next we need to make the Dummy's animation linear. Select the Dummy, Right Click on it and select Curve Editor. Now select all the Key frames and make them Linear by clicking on the Set Tangents to Linear button.

5. Modify the Three Simple Sources

Step 1

Select Simple Source 01 and go to the Modify panel and make the following changes.

Source

  • Shape: Sphere
  • Type: Solid
  • Diameter: 23.257
  • Fuel: 100 (Animate to turn Off Fuel after Frame 70.)
  • Temperature: 300
  • Smoke: Disable
  • Turbulence: No Changes
  • Velocity - Objects: 1.0 / Directional: 5.0 / Radial: 15.0

 Step 2

Select Simple Source 02 and go to the Modify panel and make following changes.

Source

  • Shape: Cylinder
  • Type: Solid
  • Diameter: 23.257
  • Height: 23.257
  • Fuel: 100 (Animate to turn Off Fuel after Frame 70.)
  • Temperature: 300
  • Smoke: Disable
  • Turbulence: No Changes
  • Velocity - Objects: 1.0 / Directional: 7.0 / Radial: 5.0

 Step 3

Select Simple Source 03 and go to the Modify panel and make following changes.

Source

  • Shape: Cylinder
  • Type: Solid
  • Diameter: 18.606
  • Height: 23.257
  • Fuel: 100 (Animate to turn Off Fuel after Frame 70.)
  • Temperature: 300
  • Smoke: Disable
  • Turbulence: No Changes
  • Velocity – Objects: 1.0 / Directional: 7.0 / Radial: 20.0

6. Create the FumeFX Container

Now it's time to create the FumeFX Container. To create the container follow these steps. Go to the Create Panel > Geometry, click on the Drop-down menu and select FumeFX.

Click on the FumeFX button and generate the container in the viewport by clicking and dragging. Next, rename the FumeFX01 to "Fireball Container".

Position and rotate the Fireball Container as follows:

Position:

X : 389.963 | Y : -37.619 | Z : 121.638

Rotation:

X : 0.0 | Y : -40.0 | Z : 0.0

 

7. Create the Ground Plane

Step 1

Create a Plane to deflect the fire and smoke when it hits the ground. To create the plane go to Create > Standard Primitives > Plane and create it in the viewport by clicking and dragging.

Position it at:

X : 0.0 | Y : 0.0 | Z : 0.0

Set both the Length and Width values to 800.

8. Edit the FumeFX Container

For the FumeFX Container (Fireball Container), there are five important sections of FumeFX we are going to modify.

  1. A.    Gen – General
  2. B.    Sim – Simulation
  3. C.    Rend – Rendering
  4. D.    Illum - Illumination
  5. E.    Obj/Src - Objects & Sources

Step 1

Open FumeFX, go to the Gen tab and set the following parameters for each section.

A. Gen Tab:

General Parameters:

  • Spacing:1.0
  • Width: 1461.809
  • Length: 366.635
  • Height: 452.075
  • Adaptive: On

Output:

  • Start:0
  • End Frame:100
  • Exporting Channels: Fuel, Smoke.
  • Output Path: Click on Small Button next to Output path, Make a New Folder on your Storage Drive & Save your cache file (fxd) as "Fireball_test_" in that Folder.

Playback:

  • Play From: 0
  • Play To: 100
  • Start Frame: 0

Step 2

Go to the Sim tab and set the following parameters for each section.

B. Sim Tab:

Simulation:

  • Quality: 7
  • Maximum Iteration: 100
  • CFL Conditions: 5.0
  • Maximum Simulation Steps: 1
  • Advection Stride: 0.5
  • Time Scale: 1.0

System:

  • Gravity: 0.0
  • Vorticity: 1.0
  • X Turbulence: 0.25

Turbulence Noise:

  • Scale: 1.0
  • Frames: 5.0
  • Detail: 5.0

Tip - Turbulence Noise is very important to define the hugeness of smoke.

Blocking Sides:

X : None | Y : None | Z : None

Simulate Fuel:

  • Ignition: 100.0
  • Burn Rate: 15.0
  • Burn Rate Variation: 1.0
  • Heat Production: 10.0
  • Expansion: 3.0
  • Fire Creates Smoke: Checked
  • Smoke Density: 10.0

 Note - Don’t change any parameters for Smoke or Temperature, keep them default.

Step 3

C. Rend Tab:

Rendering Parameters:

We are not changing anything in this tab.

Fire:

  • Color: 0.25
  • I made a color gradient asset for the fire (download above), you just have to load it into the Color channel.

Smoke:

  • Ambient: R : 0 | G : 0 | B : 0
  • Smoke Color: R : 72 | G : 72 | B : 72
  • Opacity: 0.4
  • Cast Shadows: Checked
  • Receive Shadows: Checked

 Note: Keep all other parameter as default.

Step 4

D.  Illum Tab:


Before we start working on this tab, we have to add some lights. We will use two Standard Lights. A Target Spot and an Omni.

Create a Target Spotlight by going to Create > Lights > Standard Lights > Target Spotlight and dragging in the viewport.

Position the light at the following coordinates:

X : -2615.007 | Y : -2123.166 | Z : 1415.535

Position the Target at:

X : -13.825 | Y : 0.0 | Z : 200.066

Next, go to the Modify panel and adjust the Light's settings:

  • Turn On Shadows.
  • Multiplier: 0.8
  • Go to the Shadow Parameters rollout and turn On Atmosphere Shadows.

Note - Keep everything else at default.

Create an Omni light by going to Create > Lights > Standard Lights > Omni and clicking in the viewport.

Position the light at the following coordinated:

X : 1779.888 | Y : -1052.7 | Z : 562.186

  • Turn On Shadows
  • Multiplier - 0.3
  • Go to the Shadow Parameters tab and Turn On the Atmosphere Shadows.

 Note - Keep everything else at default.

Finally, add these lights to FumeFX by going to the Illum tab and picking them to add them into the Lights list.

Step 5

E. Obj/Scr Tab:

Note - This is Final Step before you hit the Simulation button.

Add all three Simple Sources and the Plane to the Objects Tab. When you select a FFX Simple Src, another tab will appear called Simple Source Parameters. Since we have already made our changes to all three Simple Sources, we don't need to make any further changes. So lets start Simulation.
 

10. Start the Simulation

Hit the Simulation Button. It may take around 4 or 5 hours for the simulation to complete depending on your system. So it's time to take a break, after all you need some rest.

11. Rendering

After the simulation finishes, go to the Render Setup by pressing F10 or by going to Rendering > Render Setup... Add the FumeFX Fire, FumeFX Smoke, and Shadow elements into the Render Elements list for better control when Compositing.

Now render the animation as an image sequence at an HD Resolution of 1280 x 720.

12. Compositing

Open After Effects and load the image sequences you rendered from 3D Studio Max.

Now you can apply a few simple effects to the fire and smoke. For example:

  1. Color Balance
  2. Sharpen
  3. Brightness & Contrast

Also add a new Solid layer into the background, and set the color to R : 25 | G : 25 | B : 25 to complete the shot:

Final Output

Conclusion

The most important thing to make such effects is to always try different parameters, again and again. First try this tutorial, then try your own ideas. Try to use an Object Source with a Particle Source or a Simple Source, change the parameters and see what happens. I want to see your tests when you finish this tutorial, but not the same as I have made. I want to see your own effects.

So Good Luck… keep working….


















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