where do you FX dudes get smoke textures from?

ngon master
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PixelMasher ngon master
Hey guys,
So i've been getting into fx lately in unreal and have a good understanding of the particle editor. What I was wondering is where do most fx artists start for their smoke and fire sources?

I mainly been using the unreal ones to quickly prototype FX, but I'm at the point now where I would like to own 100% of the effect, from start to finish to have the full skillset down.

I know there are plugins like afterburn that can get great results for generating thick explosions and smoke and render those out to textures, but is there any other sources you dudes use for creating various FX textures?

cheers fellas


  • Jeremy Lindstrom
    Photoshop>filter>Render>difference clouds? (create little puff balls of smoke) can use smoke images as well... just create little puffballs out of them, used as particles then... afterburner is a good option though
  • sprunghunt
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    sprunghunt polycounter lvl 13
    I know our FX artist just paints them in photoshop. Afterburner is an option if you're interested in smoke, and I have seen it used to good effect, but it's not necessary.
  • jocose
    Just get yourself some REALLY good photoshop brushes, and then combine them and experiment with them in different ways. There are lots of brush packs online maybe even some that are effects orientated.

    A nice uniform particle shape will get you some good smoke, using different particles in combinations is a good way to get some diversity. That's why the brushes are so usefull; you can make slight alterations to a uniform shape quickly and easily.

    Just remember a particle texture will only take you so far. A good chunk of the magic happens in the engine by carefully adjusting your parameters.
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher ngon master
    thanks guys, good point on the custom brushes, such an obvious solution and it totally didnt dawn on me :P after some quick web hunting I found a ton, now just gotta sort through and create a personal brush set, something ive been meaning to do for all my brushes too, so this is a good excuse to get organized.

    hell yea, once again PC proves to be the best resource on the net.

    Cheers and thanks guys.
  • Mark Dygert
    A few ways I can think of:

    1) Create smoke using particles, (FumeFX works great for this) render it to tga with alpha or png and call it a day.

    The great thing about this method is that you set up a scene, and any time you need a change or something different, just tweak a few settings. It is also easy to render out a series to have animated smoke. You can also do it with normal particles but fume makes it easier and renders volume.

    2) Paint it in PhotoShop. This set of brushes has a great "clouds/smoke brush". Crack it open and make them yourself.
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher ngon master
    hell yea, thanks for the brush link vig, took a quick peep and the couple smokey ones in there should be super handy.

    In regards to fume (and afterburn) you are totally right about rendering out a animated style texture, saves so much time in comparison to trying g to hand paint one, even an 8 frame flipbook style one like the ones in unreal/gears.

    Ill post up some results in the WAYWO thread when i get around to working on somethin.

    cheers dudes, keep rockin it, and anyone with any other tips/techniques/resources chime on in :D
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