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Tutorial: Animating a Nuclear Explosion


videoimg_mini.jpgFabien Weibel has made this great and detailed tutorial of how to make an atomic bomb (or any other massive) explosion. The result looks really good so don't miss this intermediate/advanced level tutorial!

Weibel writes:

After many tests, I found that the particle system was inadequate to create an atomic bomb.
So I decided to find another way to do this. It is displacement mapping.

Go to the tutorial to read more (mirror). It's viewable in pdf-format in both English and French.

About the Author

Mathias Pedersen

Read more about Mathias Pedersen (The M.h.p.e.) at


  1. Awesome. I also like the fact that the sound comes only two seconds after the blast. While not accurate (this would place the observer at only 680m from the detonation ;-), it's a detail that not many people would pay attention to.

  2. Nice, although the mushroom part lloks a bit too solid.

    The first part with the light and smoke looks more realistic.

    Wished I could see the tut. But the site seems to be blendernationed for now.

  3. Very nice tutorial.
    Despite the effects of such explosion, I think Nuclear mushroom is one of the most beautyfull thing.

    Explosion should be add at the end of the tittle. I thought it was modellinf of a just a bomb (beneth a plane wing...)

  4. Is it really good to have a headline "Making an Atomic Bomb"? Now you'll have terrorists flocking here wanting to learn how to make bombs, as well as the FBI like Goofster said.... lol

  5. He meant 2.46,not 2.50.That version is features with new layers and new window interface along with new clothes goodies and composite lay out.What a blast !

  6. @Goofster: That would explain the 503 Service Temporarily Unavailable that I got when I visited the tutorial, XD. Luckily freqmod provided a mirror. Thanks, freqmod!

    This is a very clever technique.

  7. Great! I've been asked to create a mushroom cloud like this (to destroy leicester city) and I said I couldn't do it because I would have been trying to figure out how to make the partcles in blender do such a thing semi believably. Add to that ,it might have taken me months to figure out. Then comes along this tutorial; simple, understandable at a glance and mainly keyframing. I suppose (and I'm trying this out later) I should be able to play around with shape keys a little, to get the mesh objects to "act" within the particulars of a scene. Cool. Thanks Fabien that's just the kind of tutorial I like.

  8. @Goofster, Moonman: good! I'm sure both the FBI and NSA will have use for a good open source 3D application %^)

    Still, point taken: I've updated the title.

  9. @Goofster, Moonman: good! I'm sure both the FBI and NSA will have use for a good open source 3D application %^)

    If we get all sinister forces in the world addicted to Blender, maybe peance and freeance will break out all over.

  10. Thank you BlenderNation for showing my tutorial and video here.

    I hope that my tutorial will be understandable, because this is my first one^^
    Don't hesitate to correct me if something is wrong or badly explained !

    Please do not forget to send me a link if you make YOUR A-bomb !

    Actually, I meant blender 2.46, not 2.5...sry

  11. Very nice indeed ... very nice. I like the effect, though I have to agree it looks too ... solid ... but then again, who have actually been this close to a nuclear explosion? Except for that guy with the two heads. He doesn't count.

  12. Good but it would be brighter stay glowing longer. Also, the shock wave wasn't big enough. I'm going to give a try at it to see if a can't just make it look better. Funny, I live right by oak ridge and I've never made the atomic bomb in blender before.

  13. Thank you Fabien for the great tutorial. I have not finished it but have learned a lot already. I really like the effect, but learning the techniques is what I like the most. Thank you for posting this is English also. I know it is not your first language, but your tutorial is clear to me. I hope none of us will ever see a real atomic blast.

  14. I have just uploaded a video on youtube of a new project I work on: A ROCKET LAUNCH !!! hehe
    this use the same technique that the a-bomb. Maybe i will write a tutorial.
    Here is the link to this pre-preview-test-video^^

    I have tryied to do that with the particle system...but the result didn't satisfy me...actually, I don't really know how to use that particle system and how to get good renders with the halos...

  15. Nice Tut,

    but to everybody who plans to make tutorials in the future:
    Why making your layout like for traditional print when everybody is watching it on screen?

    Landscape layout pages!

  16. WOW!
    I love the rocket, smoke has even more realistic dynamics and color/ Light simulation than in the bomb video.
    Very Convincing!

  17. Hi,

    thanks for sharing and writing this tutorial. I think is a great approach but here comes some issues with displaying at once all these modifiers (I'm already aware of display options in modifiers, but...). My results is not so equal to your screenshots, I think this isn't bad (blender is not an exact science, fortunatelly) but perhaps your tutorial is too straightforward in some steps, so it don't covers completely the whole work that you come to show us.

    Great anyway!

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