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Create Realistic Heat Distortions in Blender


pavla writes:

Heat distortions are a fantastic atmospheric effect that can really help sell the realism of any shot containing excessive heat. From lava to jet engines, this method will help you replicate realistic heat distortions in no time!


  1. realistic heat distortion with a simple plane ?!
    nooo... i am of a completely different opinion...
    it looks absolutely fake and is far of looking realistic.

    but unfortunately i have no better idea how to do it realistic...
    i guess it is only possible do do it really realistic, when using kind of smoke/fire simulation,
    but i don't know how it would be possible to transfer the smoke simulation into distortion to get the heat distortion effekt.

    • I think you might be being overly critical of this video. These are supposed to be quick and easy videos to achieve things in Blender in digestible ways.

      While I think the effect in this video seems to be slightly too strong, I would argue that the result is good and is easily scalable and easy to implement on many projects.

      Anyhow, I think what you are looking for is this: - which I believe he has done a tutorial about it on CG cookie as well, but I think it is behind their pay wall.

  2. Meh... likely another hack using a render layer or particle emitter as a mask. I've kept requesting a real refraction volume shader for precisely this reason... so far the developers haven't been eager to take on that task at all.

  3. An extension of the planes technique can look super realistic - just add planes. Also, since hot air *expands* and therefore has an IOR *less* than 1 (CGCookie was pretty off on this factor), that should be corrected too.

    Since there's no real way to do volumetric refraction in Blender (and pretty much everywhere else), we need to pull a little fakery by using lots of geometry :P

    Also, while this isn't procedural and shouldn't be done unless procedurals just don't cut it, but using dynamic paint and a smoke sim (smoke that fades really fast and dynamic paint that completely clears every frame) would further increase realism.

  4. Create a volumetric variation of index of refraction requires a lot of code lines... Could be done, with time and a team working on it. But this shouldn't be a priority task in this moment.
    This tutorial do the job decently for now.

  5. Well, that’s why you can’t find it anywhere, even in the professional rendering software like RenderMan.
    It’s more worth it to just use an array of facing planes.

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