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Rendering Smoke and Fire in Cycles



The upcoming Blender 2.71 will add smoke and fire rendering to Cycles. In this tutorial Jonathan Lampel shows us how to use the new features. Remember that you'll need to download a development build of Blender and that implementation details of these functions may change in the final 2.71 release.

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. Dayumn. I watched that tutorial before posting my third entry on the default cube weekend contest.... Today!

    Great tutorial, highly recommend it to everyone

  2. The first look says - juchu :-) :-) Finaly smoke and fire in Blender. I love Blender a lot more now. And thanks for this tutorial too.

    • winnertakesteve on

      i've struggled a lot with trying to make convincing thicker smoke. i think the system is better optimized for less dense smoke. trying to do anything too heavy, i always run into issues like those large globs forming towards the tail of that smoke in the image above. if a dev expresses interest in tweaking the simulator to emulate larger plumes, i'd definitely be down for a donation!

        • LarryWallpaper on

          I can only get smoke to work the first time I try, then it will not work again. Fire will not work at all. I have tested all the windows and mac builds from today. None of them are 2.71, but neither are the ones in the tutorial video.

    • I was having the same issue, and still kind of am. it seems to be related to the world settings. if i set the background color to white and set the strength to 0 i can see it better. not sure what the real fix is though. some how he's getting his objects to show without using lamps?

  3. Awesome! Though the smoke looks too solid and compact on the tail end, almost fake looking. The smoke near the fire looks much better.

  4. I was wondering, if it's also possible to use the emission from the voxel data to light stuff outside the domain:

    • In the very top header of Blender is a renderer menu to the right of the Scene menu. By default it's set to "Blender Render", so click on that and change it to "Cycles Render".

  5. 2.71 you get off anyway, how do i keep the domain from showing up in the render? I basically have made a huge flickering rectangle. looks great till i try to raise the brightness ot make it emit light.

    • Make sure your domain has a material that has no surface. when you make the domain material just remove the surface so it says "None".

  6. Can anyone please tell me why the camera does not 'see' the smoke in rendered view? I see it in all other views, but camera!!
    I am using Cycles 2.72b on a macbook pro.

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