3ds max: Smoke - As easy as it gets

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  • Posted by: PiLe
  • Added on: 11 April 2003 14:01
  • Reads: 24044
  • Rating: 9.33333
  • Votes: 3

3DK Team member BryanA. has submited his amazing Smoke tutorial for 3ds MAX. It's made for users of all levels of experience and finished project is available for download from this site...

As easy as it gets...
by BryanA.

First, let me fill you in on the history of this tutorial. I was once desparate to make clouds, fire and smoke for a project and after looking long at hard at several tutorials that alleged to teach how to do this, I was still unable to get the results that these tutorials promised me. As revenge, I submit this complete tutorial and promise that, come Hell or high water, beginners out there like me WILL get a result of smoke.

To ensure this, we have this tutorial, a model of smoke systems with instructions, lots of pictures, and a second sheet of instructions that you can download with the model here at 3DKingdom.org Let's begin...

Oren-Nayar-Blinn is the type of material you need. The colors are not important now because we will use a Diffuse Map anyway. The Diffuse Level 135 and the Roughness 65. Kill Specular Levels and Glosiness to 0 while bringing the Soften to 1.0 Under the rarely used (by me) Extended Parameters, set the Advanced Transparency>Type to Filter and adjust the colors to all be about 94 or so - maybe darker if you like LATER.

Set up your Slots with a Gradient Ramp in Diffuse Color, and a Mask in Opacity and leave the values at 100. (Opacity) For the Opacity's Mask, MAP with a Noise, and MASK with a Gradient.

The Opacity's MAP Noise Parameters should be rather simple as follows: Fractal, High of 0.6, Levels of 3.0, Size of 31.5, Low of 0.3 and we'll animate the Phase later IF you want to animate the White Smoke that we're making. Leave the Noise maps black and white and don't Swap them.

The second part of Opacity's Mask was the Gradient MASK we put in. Now we have several things to do to this and you will begin to see the sample sphere take shape. Your colors for the Gradient will never be lighter than 127-127-127 And secondly, Color #1 should definitely be BLACK as BLACK can be. Make Color #3 a gray (Opacity works with shades of gray, so this is NOT where you try to change the Smoke color) that is darker that #2 by just a bit. Adding Noise to these Gradient Parameters is easy: Amount is 0.3, Regular Noise is best, set the size to 2.1 and you're done with the important exception of this: Color #2 needs a Particle Age Map.

At this point, if you are trying to compare your screen with my pictures, disregard/ignore the Map #'s that are in this tutorial. I was a sucker when I first tried it and attempted to match ALL the numbers; this has NO importance. All it means is that we're doing things in a different order now.

The Particle Age is an easy one to set up. Click and drag Color #3 on top of Color #1 and select Swap from the choices that appear. Have a drink, you're done with Particle Age. I wish I could tell you WHY it's like that. I can't - I'm a beginner.


Now let's do some coloring that we can fool with later to make this White Smoke look Black later or even look like Fire later! FUN! I have included the entire Material Browser window for this so that you can see your sample sphere along with mine. You don't have the Black Smoke, the Fire or my failed attempt at Steam yet, so don't worry. Just look at the first Sample Sphere.

Remember that I instructed you to make a Gradient Ramp in the Diffuse Color Slot earlier. When you open this Map, you should now set the following: Only the Parameters will get changed here - Gradient Type is Radial, double-check that the Interpolation is Linear, Noise Amount is 0.41 for FRACTAL, Size is 2.0 and Phase deals with animation later, the Levels could be 4.0 for now which you can mess with later. Done.

Really, you're done! What? To what do you apply this material? GOOD question and here's where the title "As Easy As It Gets" comes in. I am baffled/confused by the fact that this material applies BEST and WONDERFULLY to the Particle System: SPRAY Create a Spray. Render count and Viewport Count to about 190 or 230, whichever your computer can take best. Life is as long as you can make it, Start time is 0, Display the Particles for one frame longer than your counter is set for (100 possible frames Displays for 101). I don't know why; people smarter than me set it up that way so I do as they do.

Don't stop reading, here's the key: Drop size - 30.0 and also select FACING to be the Particle Type. What you're doing is creating a 30x30 unit square that will always "look" or face the camera/view. When we apply the Material of White Smoke to this Particle System Spray, it will color the 30x30 squares, with our Opacity and Diffuse controlled Material. What is MOST interesting, is that different 30x30 squares will somehow SHARE the material!

Here's the best way to compare your Material with mine. In the Material Browser, click the picture of those two little, tiny spheres (one on top of the other) to open the Material/Map Navigator. Your second option there is three little circles, blue, green and red all followed by horizontal lines. Click that and hopefully you will see EXACTLY like what I've got. Again, ignore the Map #'s and focus ONLY on the square pictures and the "family tree" with the parents and children.

Here are the two White Smoke alterations I did as an experiment: The first is to make Black Smoke, and the second was an attempt at Fire. They were both just changes to the White Smoke Material.

That's all. Check these reference pics that might help you with making your own smoke fx...

I hope you liked my tutorial and that you found it helpfull. Finished project of this tutorial can be downloaded from 3D Kingdom Models section. Click Here!

Tutorial by 3DK Team member BryanA.
If you have some questions, send him a PM or contact him on e-mail: bryan@NOSPAM3dkingdom.org
Before sending mail, please remove "NOSPAM" in order to send your mail sucessfully!

Comments Login to comment »

  • knightthrasher (over 8 years ago):

    Looks good can't wait to try it. I wanted to get the scene file for itso if it does work I wcan have something to compare it with to make sure I did everything right. but the link doesn't take me to it. or is it just the picture of it . when it says finished project thought they were talking about the scene file .

  • knightthrasher (over 8 years ago):

    What the deal with the e-mail address I tried sending and yes I did take out the "NOSPAM" and I still get this " mail not delivered" if you are going to post an e-mail adress could you atleast make sure you have one.

  • /user.html (over 8 years ago):

    Hey What the deal with this tutorial? In you material/ map navigator you have 3 noise maps mI only have 1. according to the tutorial there wasonly instruction to add one. and that other little branch coming off if the diffuse. my tree looks nothing like yours . and also for the particles are you using the drops , Dots or Ticks? you didn't say. hello does anyone ever read these comment .I left 2 of the a few days ago and no response back.

  • eumel3d (over 8 years ago):

    sorry for the delay.. I am working on that problem

  • chanthuts (over 8 years ago):

    where is the max file for download

  • /user.html (over 6 years ago):

    The files don't appear to be available for download.