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Ben Dansie's Flame Test

colourfulflame1You might have seen this in Ben Dansie's Durian application demo reel (after being selected as one of the final Durian team members), but he has recently come up with a very cool way to make flames and fire using Blender.

Ben writes:

Without volumetrics, raytracing, even particles...
Can be changed to a fair few shapes, but can overall only go in one general direction because the movement is controlled by procedural textures being dragged by empties.

The setup can be tweaked simply by changing the speed that the empties move and the scale of the textures.

Theres the thread on here. And also links to 3 different versions of the fire below (click the images to view on Vimeo).

Ben has also very nicely put the .blend up for download, so we can all learn this technique and start making our own cool fire! Download from this link or from the thread on BA mentioned above.

Bat Symbol fire:


Coloured Flames:


Slower Flames:



  1. amazing, it looks almost real even animated!
    thx for sharing the technique (maybe ill can use this technique in my current work)

    Wish u much fun with the durian project, i wish i could be there too :-)


  2. ^^ For once, I'm quite happy to see some flames that are not the byproducts of the bigotry of some blenderheads.

    Downloading the .blend as I type this...


    I mentioned it in the thread, but will mention it here. 7th flame down by 'Sensei' was where I got the idea, then tweaked it further.

    True volumetric flames will be awesome, but not always needed for certain scenes. This sort of flame will be handy more for background fires, flames to composite into parts of scenes and so on. It certainly has it's limitations if you play around with it.

    That being said, there is a fair bit it can do for what it is.


  4. Wow, very nice animated texture. Congratulations !

    Last year, just before Christmas, I had made an open fire animation using meshes animated by softbody blown up by a virtual fan. This allows the flames to move in all needed directions, and the result looks "volumetric", even if it is not actually.

    This said, Ben Dansie's texture is much better than mine. Maybe it is more suitable for petrol or gaz fire than wood fire, but not sure (I have just seen the images and not yet tried his Blend file).

    I think that "blending" his texture setup with the use of softbody animation would give a very realistic result !

    My wood fire (movie in 5 formats at the bottom of the page) :

  5. I thought it reminded me of something ;-D
    Thank you for the credit, much appreciated.
    You've vastly improved on my idea, well done.

    And congrats on being selected for Durian, you're on a roll :-D

  6. @Sensei - Credit where credit is due. At least now I can thank you for the idea - Cheers!

    @Roubal - For some reason, softbodies never crossed my mind. Probably because I initially needed it for a single directional blowtorch (as seen in the 'Steampunk Mousetrap). I agree that while I like where the fire is at, there is still room for improvement.

    @Everyone - if you do have a play with the .blend file, please post the results in the forum thread so we can all have a look. :)

  7. I won't waste any more words on how genius this is. But to all those who are already pointing out difference between other 3D apps: If this is a procedural texture method, it should be as hell possible in other apps as well.

  8. @Ben: Kudos, that effect is brilliant :) I shudder to think what will happen when you have the force of Brecht, Campbell, Ton and of course Blender 2.5 behind you!

    And the effect is so easy too! I got no-at-all-shabby results in about 10 minutes of my own experimentation with your technique.

    If I wore a hat it would be off right now.

  9. Raked & Flamed! NASCAR can do no better! Why is it easier to download from
    BlenderArtists than from Vimeo?

  10. @Olaf - should be possible. The smoke would be the tricky part, but Blender is getting a smoke simulator. :) There is also the issue of heat haze, but that can be done with some compositing.

    A lot can be changed with this effect by altering the scale of the textures and the speed of the moving empties. For a rocket exhaust starting point, you probably want large scale textures (ie less turbulence) and faster empties. Be sure to post your results in the forum thread if you want!

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