Illusion and Photoshop tutorials:

Creating a particle shape

Making things go boom

Ok. Let's add some variation to our emitter. Actually, let's add it to a lot of places!

Here's the graph for motion randomness variation:

Okay, here's the hard part. Add similar amounts of randomness to life, velocity, size and spin too!

Well, that IS a lot of places! Do the settings actually need to be similar in all these places? - No, you can vary the variations as you please. And often less is more! I myself decided to use a lot less in spin and velocity...

Ok, it does look a bit more organic now. I guess this is a good starting point for the smoke. Let's make some fire in the middle now!

Let's start by copying the particle type. With the type active, click on  icon.

This will make a copy of the current type. If a particle type is not active, a new default particle type is created.

In this new particle type, first activate the "Intense" checkbox in the particles tab. This will change the blending mode of the shape to additive.

Yep, you are right - we will change the color of the particles to more firey one:

Note that the random color checkbox is now unselected.

Ok. Set the particle behavior to random. Set the velocity to minimum. This gives us firey like center to our explosion.

You can check out how the particle shapes look combined by clicking on the emitter or any (SLAP!! -Darn!) of it's properties.

You may allready have wondered why we have kept the number of the particles constant all the time? Well, it makes making adjustments to the general properties much easier.

Now it's the time to set the number of the particles (Emitter/number graph) to zero at frame 10.

Almost all of our particles vanished! Bogger!

Not to worry, let's next make the number to 2000 (Full ahead, captain!) in frame one. And yet another key with 2000 particles at frame 9.

Yeah! That's more like it!

I decided to reduce the number and life of the fire particles a bit, as well as enlarging their size a little.

Also, reducing the visibility of the emitter to like 40% helps to blend the shapes together a bit more.

Ok. I hope i have guided you through the initial setup of one way to make things go boom.

This is where the work really starts!

Experiment with different shapes, add more particle types (A bright flash in the beginning and some flying debris are the first to come to mind) and off you go. Also try blurring the particle shape image in photoshop. The possibilities are endless. While some cool results can be made in illusion really quickly, making them *great* is sweat and tears and hours of tweaking!

Go to the Illusion movie gallery and have a look at an explosion scene i made using the same principles. All the explosions were composited over a photograph right inside illusion!

As i mentioned in the beginning, the cloud image we started with was far from perfect. You will get best results with more contrasty, stormier clouds.

I will work on with the emitter that was created over the course of writing this tutorial, and TRY to finish it before the deadline of April Illusion emitter contest expires.

Try to guess which one is it (If i make it ;-).

Thanks a lot - class dismissed!

Hello again!

It's now 2 am, and i managed to make this into a semi-decent scene, which i submitted to the contest. What i did was mainly just play around in illusion, i added:

1. A  new shape with additive small lens flares (A new shape, but simple: it was just default PS lens flare in black background.) It's really similar to "Blurred spikey star".

2. A "blurry cloud" shape to break up the smoke

3. An additive "spikey star" shape for the beginning flash

4. A "Specks" shape to mimick debris

5. I added a lot more contrast to the shape we made in this tutorial, hand painted the alpha a little to remove the one noticeable spikey part of the cloud. I also blurred the image (and alpha) a bit. The final version is the one with red showing transparent areas.

I made all the new shapes by copying the old ones and just tweaking the parameters a bit. If this was for a "real" job i would have custom-made all the particle shapes. Not because it would make that huge a difference, but to make them original... and EXACTLY the way i wanted them ;-)

Here's the scene file & the cloud shapes, zipped

Here's an Mpeg of it

All right - thats it folks, nothing to see here!

If you have any - hey man, if you slap me ONCE more, i will not promise to behave! - ...any questions, feel free to mail me.

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