FumeFx is a powerful plug-in for 3ds Max and Maya. You can create very realistic explosions, fire and smoke animations with real-time physics. It supports 3ds Max Particle Flow, and Space Warps and Mental Ray as well.
There are so many awesome parameters to experiment with as well as the ability to start and pause a simulation which will build itself into the animation timeline with as many frames as memory on your computer will allow.
Although there is no demo or trial version, the moderate price is well worth your expense. Here is the link to the FumeFX homepage.
This tutorial will focus on creating a cool explosion with billowing smoke in just 100 frames of animation. Not bad, because any moderate computer with a few gigs of ram will have no problems here.
By the way, the explosion animation was created in FumeFX 3ds Max 2014 Edition. But there is support from 2012 and up.
Check out the animated gif of the explosion I embedded above. But for more, check out the video below. The sounds of explosions were put in the “dope sheet” in 3ds Max while creating the animated explosion.
Check out this cool tutorial on how to add sound effects. Look somewhere In the middle of the video. It has a lot of information.
Now startup your 3ds Max, and get making some serious smokin-crash-bang-explosions.
Hit number 6 to open up the particle view. Right click and select New > Particle System > Standard flow. A new particle event will be created. Now delete the Rotation and Shape from particle event. Select the Speed and in Direction, check Reverse and change the Divergenece to 90.
Now Select the Birth event and change the Emit Stop to 5. Make sure that Emit Start is 0, and Amount is selected, and value is 200.
Now add a Delete event after Speed. Select By Particle Age and change Life Span to 7 and Variation to 3.
Now we need to setup the particle system for Fumefx. Create a Fumefx particle Src from Create > Helpers > FumeFX > Particle Src. You can drag and create it anywhere on the viewport. With selecting the FFX Particle Src, go to modify panel and on the Particles, click on the pick objects and select the Particle flow you’ve created. Now in the Radius, change it to 8.5.
The Particle system is done. Now we need to make the bounding box and change settings for the simulation. Create a FumeFX object from Create > Geometry > FumeFX > FumeFX. Make the box about 800x800x800.
Now click Open FumeFX UI to open up the FumeFX window and click on Open Preview Window to open the Output Preview. On the FumeFX UI, go to obj/src tab and click on Pick Object. Then select the FFX Particle Src.
You can try a simulation now. It may be too fast, but the result will be very bad. We need to configure some settings.
First of all, on the Gen tab, Change the Spacing to 4 and simulate the whole thing. Click the “Start Default Simulation” button or move the animation slider at the bottom. This will do a fast simulation and you’ll be able to see some of the fire and smoke nicely but not perfect.
First we’ll change the fire color. Go to rend tab and in the Fire, right click on the color and make sure that it’s in key mode. Now change the gradient to something like I’ve used in the picture. To make the fire better, you need to use Darker colors on the edge of the gradient and lighter colors in the middle.
Watch the video to see how to set the gradient.
Change the color percentage to 0.25 and opacity to 1.5.
Now for the smoke. I want to use key mode again for the gradient. Again make darker colors on both sides of the gradient. Uncheck Fire, and run a simulation on the smoke.
Now we need to setup a light for sunlight. I’ll use a directional light (Create > Light > Standard > Target Direct). Make sure that the light is casting shadows and it’s a overshot light so that it can act like the sun.
Now go back to Open FumeFX UI again and go to the illum tab. On the Lights, click Pick Light and select the Directional light. You can use any kind of light here and any number of lights. Change the Multiplier to 2. This will make the whole thing brighter.
Now go to Sim tab and change the X Turbulence to 0.1. This will give the fire a little noise.
Then go to the gen tab again and change the spacing to 1.5. The lower the spacing is, the higher detail you get in simulation. But it also take a lot of time to simulate with lower spacing.
You can simulate the explosion with any frame count you want. But if you have a lot of detail in simulation, you’ll need more time. Also you need plenty of RAM in order to simulate more frames. I have 12GB of ram and I can go up to 500 Frames with 0.5 spacing.
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