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Faking smoke with particles in Cycles


Jonathan Lampel speeds up the creation of smoke effects.

Real volumetrics can take a long time to simulate and render. Sometimes we don't need all that detail, so we can just fake the effect with particles to get a decent looking result extremely quickly. In this video you will learn how to:

  • Animate particle size (and any other attribute) over their lifetime
  • Set up a Cycles smoke material for the particles using transparent image planes


  1. Chrome Monkey on

    CG Cookie 5.0 needs to get Lampel recording some intermediate work flows for them, ASAP. Lampel is making a big impression by figuring out how things work where answers are difficult to find. The solution for controlling smoke size over time is one example, another was in a video with a very detailed explanation of how the Musgrave parameters interact. I'll bet he can figure out how things such as Nabla value interact with Warp and Displace under the Normals section in textures too. And someone might work with him to transcribe his examples into the user wiki, which would fill out underexplained sections in the user manual.

    • I thought the same. Under circumstances the render takes even longer.
      It is a good idea to cheat with transparent depth - with this tehnique the renders will be very quick.

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