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Create Fairly Realistic Fire using CC Particle World

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Read Time: 4 min
This post is part of a series called The Complete Introduction to Particle Emitters.
Quick Tip – How To Get Better Control Without “Particular” Emitters
Create a Breakup into Particles Logo Transition

Using the built-in plugin CC Particle World and a few tricks, learn how to create this fairly realistic looking fire shot.


Step 1

Make a new composition. Use whatever settings you like to have. Call it "Main".

Step 2

Now, create a new solid which will be the main fire element. Call it "Particles" and apply CC Particle World to it.

Step 3

Start by changing Longevity to 2.3, later you can change it as needed for height of your fire.
Open Physics menu and lower Velocity down to 0 because we want fire to move according only to gravity.
Change Gravity to -0.02.
Next, open Particle menu and change Particle type to Tetrahedron. You can try other types but this one looked good for me.

Step 4

To change a shape of animation a bit closer to look of fire, change Death Size to 0.110, Size Variation to 100% and Max Opacity to 20%
Now the colors, I went with #FFBF74 and #FF6C00, it’s better to use dull colors because then it’s easier with color correction later as you’ll see.
Open the Producer menu and change Position values to move emitter closer to bottom of the view. Change Position Y to 0.13 and Position Z to -0.52.
Also you need bigger emitter so change Radius X to 0.10.
Turn off the Grid and save.

Step 5

Precompose "Particles" layer and call it "Particles_percomp". Don’t forget to check Move all attributes into the new composition. Open "Particles_precomp". Highlight "Particles" layer and apply CC Vector Blur. This will give us some of that fire texture.
Change Amount to 45.

Step 6

Apply Turbulent Displace to the same layer which will give us some irregularity. For this one you don’t have to change anything unless you want to.
Next, go back to "Main" composition and duplicate "Particle_precomp" layer three times.

Step 7

Now, we’re going to polish and color correct to get a nice looking flame.
First set the upper layer’s Blending Mode to Add.
Then select the lowest one, apply Fast Blur to it and set Blurriness to 200. Tick Repeat Edge Pixels.
Still it doesn’t look quite right. Create a new Adjustment Layer above all three fire layers.

Step 8

Apply Bezier Warp (Distort>Bezier War) to the adjustment layer. Set its parameters to something similar as seen in screenshot. Save.

Step 9

Next, highlight all the layers and precompose them into "Fire_element" composition. Stay inside "Fire_Precomp".
Now you’ll do some compositing - you have to arrange a composition of those "Fire_element" layers. Now it’s all about you creativity as you can do that on your own. Use scale for variation and don’t forget to offset everything so there would be no identical animation.
Also, set the blending mode for every layer to Add.

Step 10

Next, I created a new Adjustment Layer and applied Bezier Warp to it and animated it so everything looks a bit better. You can do that too if you want. This again, depends on your desires.

Step 11

Now you can color correct the fire. Create a new Adjustment layer and apply Fill effect to it. Set its color to red and change layers Blending mode to Add. Save.

Step 12

Precompose everything to "Fire_Composite". Now, you should find a texture for glass and import it. Place it inside "Main" composition and correct its size if needed so it would fill the screen.

Step 13

Turn off its visibility as it’ll serve only as a layer map now.
Highlight "Fire_Composite" and apply both CC Vector Blur and CC Glass to it.
Change Vector Blur Amount to 40, Angle Offset to 22 degrees and set Vector map to your glass texture layer (Glass_texture.jpg). This will give some additional distortion.
Set Type to Constant Length. Save.

Step 14

Select CC Glass and change Bump Map to your glass texture layer.
Change Softness to 1, it’ll give bunch of detail.
Then change Height to 20 to bring down sharpness.
Set Displacement to 200.
As you can see, there’re black stuff going on around borders. Scale up "Fire_Composite" layer until you can’t see them anymore. Save.

Step 15

Again, precompose everything to "Fire_Precomp". Bring in your glass texture and scale it so it would fit the screen. Change its Blending mode to Screen.

Step 16

Create a new Adjustment Layer and apply Curves and Levels to it.
Draw a curve so it would give some contrast.

Step 17

Now, change the Gamma for Levels so it would give a satisfactory outcome.

Step 18

The fire looks a bit dull, so go to "Fire_Composite" composition and apply Glow to the upper, already created, Adjustment Layer. No further changes are necessary unless you want a different look.
You’re done!

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