Monday, February 27, 2006


Lately, I've been spending most of my smoking moose time working on the smoke effects. Currently focusing on making the moose smoke his cigarette. I've analyzed cigarette smoking videos and films (from getty images and from some DVDs I have .. Ryan has some good examples of cigarette smoke). When smoking a cigarette there are 3 different types of smoke:
  1. the smoke that rises from the tip (end) of the cigarette as it burns
  2. the smoke that rises from the filter of the cigarette after an inhalation (most likely this is the smoke that has been pulled through the cigarette but didn't get inhaled)
  3. the smoke that the smoker blows out
For now, I'm ignoring the 2nd type of smoke and just focus on the first and last .. if I hadn't have analyzed the video footage, I'm not sure I would have seen this 2nd type.

I started experimenting with XSI particles and then adding effects in the fx tree. This could work well if I could pin the start of the particles to the end of the cigarette (in theory this is possible using the tracker, but I'm using XSI 4.2 and the fxtree tracker crashes XSI... This is fixed in 5.0 but I'm a bit weary of upgrading at this point in production).

Currently I'm experimenting with the volume shader for cigarette smoke. You can get a good head start on this by using Holger Schonberger's
preset downloadable from A small tip about using the volume shader technique - the smoke rises straight up until it hits the center of the object - so to control when the turbulence starts in the smoke, edit the center of the object.

For the exhaling of the smoke, I'm currently experimenting with the smoke explosion particleop.