View Full Version : Afterburn Thead ! We Need One. Right ?

07 July 2005, 12:26 AM
AFTERBURN THREAD: We need it ! I do ! so can anyone who is good at it please get it started, the world will be a better please if you do ! :bounce:

ok.. could some one tell me how important is :

1.light to afterburn (omni ect..)

2.and how to get after burn to look like smoke/fine sand particles/ water splash

3.when is it proper to use raymarcher and OCTANE shader. (I know that this will not be a rule, but when is it a good choice to used for what type of fx) picture of what hypersolid is for besides just saying it or writing it

5.what does noise shape parrameters : gain and bias do.. exactly. what are you telling afterburn when you play with those.

5.for an explosion is it better to have a low noise size then make it a lager noise size ?? what are the principles in using : density noise size noise level threshold, lo threshold, mball effect.What are you telling afterburn to do when playing with those settings..

the reason I asked is that the pdf that comes with afterburn does an ok job at explaining those things to you... so without havibg to buy ALLAN MCKAYS DVD Although when I need to get real advanced i'll look him up. Can you tell me what these settings do and what are some j....ust some of the resons to tweek them like this and like that. thanks!!!

SO FAR Ifound these sites :

07 July 2005, 10:59 PM
Hi sadghost,

What a great idea. This thread would give us a place to exchange info on Afterburn. Afterburn is the one "must have" plug-ins for 3D Max. Discreet should buy the rights and add it to Max!

Here's my input.

Step Size:
Creating a huge scene with lots of smoke or dust? Increase the Step Size to cut down on render times. The Step Size will determine how much detail will show in the Afterburn particle. With a large scene and large particles you won't need as much detail as you would with a smaller scene and up close to the smoke or dust. The step size is calculated in Max units and tells Afterburn how many slices of detail it will put in a particle. Lowering the number gives you more detail, which, at first, is counter intuitive to me. But thinking about it the number is telling you what size the slice is. So smaller is more defined. In the help file it gives an example of the different settings. For an example a setting of .125 gives a lot of detail in a puff. A setting of 6 means that only six slices will be made and produces less detail.

The best way to control the colors of Afterburn particles is through lighting and not in the Afterburn Manager. Although controlling the color in the Manager is good for some situations, with lighting you can control the brightness and color variations easily. Say for a rocket engine, link a spot light to the PF source. Now you can turn up the multiplier, adjust the attenuation and color for the initial blast, turn down the multiplier, adjust the attenuation and the color after the rocket gets moving. In the initial blast you can blow out, over expose, color the smoke to make a real cool bright fiery effect. Every property of the light can be animated. Just remember to add Afterburn Shadows to your lights in the command panel for better detail.

The Octane shader:
The Octane shader should be your first choice when you are creating very fine, transparent particles like dust. The Octane shader doesn't produce good shadows and details but, does a better job at creating transparrent particles. Shadows will be pixilated with Octane, but with very fine particles there isn't a need for shadows and it is 10 times faster than Raymarcher. While Raymarcher is better at shadows and details, it is just to slow for creating a lot of fine particles.

The Afterburn Flow Control allows you to animate the properties of the Afterburn particles. If you right click on the AFC button and choose enable the next time you click on it the AFC button the AFC graph will open. One import thing to note about the AFC:

If your animation is anything other than 100 key frames in length, the AFC timeline graph will not match your animation, assuming you are using it with P-Flow. The default length for the timeline in the AFC is 100 key frames. You have to set the Part Life value in the Particle Properties section, (top of the Afterburn Manager), to match the timeline for your animation. The Part Life value doesn't really determine the life of the particle when you are using it with P-Flow, it just sets the timeline in each AFC graph so you can match that timeline to the length of your animation. The life of the particle in PF is only determined by adding a delete operator in the PF View. Afterburn has no way of knowing how long the particles will live if no delete operator is added and the particles will live for as long as your animation.

Noise shape parameters:
The Gain value will increase or decrease the number of steps between variations of the wisps, (noise), within an Afterburn puff or particle. The more Gain the less steps there are in-between the wisps of the smoke of a particale. Move the Gain all the way to 1 and you will have only 1 step between light and dark areas in your particle. You can see this if you adjust the Gain and look in the section above (Particle Shape and Animation Parameters). Click the green button below the preview window in the section above and watch as you adjust the Gain.

The Bias is basically the brightness of the noise within the particle. Raise the Bias and you raise the brightness of all areas of noise within the particle, even the dark areas. Remember brightness means smoke and the dark areas mean that that area will not contain smoke. Raise the Bias to 1 results in a solid round puff.

When you are animating billowy clouds or fast moving jet exhaust you should adjust the Phase in the Noise Animation Parameters accordingly. Adjusting the Phase will animate the noise within the Afterburn puff or particle. For fast moving smoke like jet exhaust, you would need to adjust the Phase value to more than once per key frame of animation. Example if you have an animation of a jet exhaust 200 key frames in length, you would adjust the Phase to 200+. This gives the smoke a lot of interior movement. Clouds would need a smaller Phase as they generally have slower interior movements. You can also use the AFC to increase or decrease the Phase in time.

Okay anyone else?

07 July 2005, 02:11 AM
well I'm very happy that you wrote this.. I don't think that I'm a slow persone , it's just that I hate it when I get what I feel is a vague .pdf user manual.. I want more explanation .. what if I didn't have the net ?
I shouldn't have to wait for some guy to come up with a dvd tutorial in oder for me to get a deeper understanding of someting that I bought (Altough I understand that some times that's needed) mr Allan Mckay is exempt from this :-)
ANYWAY no more crying for Mr Sadghost I'ved learned alot about AB in a week and I feel like I made a good choice with this plugin:applause:

I'ved downloaded your post to look at when I'm working ,without having to go to the .pdf thanks.. let's burn this mother $#@% shall wee !? :buttrock:

07 July 2005, 04:24 AM
hehe... why didn't i think of this? ...*will read thread in a few minutes then possibly reply with something more productive* I think we should move this to the Resources forum though

07 July 2005, 06:49 AM
I hate to say it, but the cebas pyrocluster manual seems to explain what's going on a lot better... I do feel that it was occasionally easier to get the result with pyrocluster.... though I still feel afterburn is superior (in terms of options n such). Anywho my point is that the help file for pyro cluster helped me learn a lot about afterburn, so it might be worth looking at d/ling a demo version with a help file. It lacks tutorials... i think... but it comes with come good example files also.

07 July 2005, 02:18 PM
Hi SoLiTuDe,

Thanks for the tip. I'll download a trial and look at the help files.

I agree with sadghost about the Afterburn help files. They're okay but it would be nice if they contained more indepth info. Actually their definition of Part Life in the help file is wrong and it's things like that that make it difficult for new users to get a handle on what the settings are doing. It wasn't until I watched Allan McKay's and Andy Murdock's DVDs that things started to make sense. Of course, maybe that's just me.

I really have to plug Andy Murdock's DVD. If you have $29.95 US to spare it's worth getting. He's a master when it comes to Afterburn. I have never seen anyone come close to his AB effects. He spends a great deal of time experimenting with AB. He goes through every setting in Afterburn to find out what it does. He's been doing this for years. I guess when you think about it, it's kind of humbling. I'm compaining about manuals and he's doing brilliant things on his own. Maybe there is more to his DVD than just the tutorials.

Anyway I still think this is a great idea to share info on AB.

07 July 2005, 07:13 PM
yeah andy is a badass... i'll pick up his dvds when i get some extra cash.... I can't wait to see volume 3. :)

As for the pyrocluster help file... it was great for me when trying to figure out the whole "colors" thing. It made more sense to me the first time I read it....

What is Position doing?

As soon as more than one color is active, a position for the color needs to be defined. As described in the chapter about the volume tracer and how it works, each pyrocluster bounding volume is sampled in space to get the correct color and noise value. There are three possible positions to define a fixed color in the pyrocluster volume space.

1.) the outer shell

2.) the center of the bounding volume

3.) the middle position between center and outer shell of the bounding volume.

The color setup shown below, was used to render the illustration sequence of 3 images were the position of the red color changes from 0.0 to 0.6.

Note: A position of 1.0 defines a point on the outer shell of the bounding volume. Position 0.0 defines the center of the pyrocluster bounding volume while 0.5 is the exact middle position between outer shell and center.

Color Change by Density

Changing the color of the volumetric rendering effect by density can create easily a special look and might even offer more control over the outcome of the final rendering. By choosing Density as the Color Mixing method, pyrocluster will use the gathered density values of the noise function to define the color that is to be used to draw the volume effect.

A pure white color in the noise function will correspond to the color position value 1.0 while a black color in the noise function (can be easily seen in the noise preview window) will correspond to the color position 0.0.


The density value of the noise or the overall density in the volume created by adding multiple bounding volumes does not play any role in coloring the volume effect with the density function. The only thing that counts is the density value created by the noise function alone!

Also take a look at the volume tracer section in the help file... helps understanding the whole "step size" thing a lot more too!

...Funny how they're very alike...

07 July 2005, 10:05 AM
Where did you guys download the trial of pyrocluster from .. I whenT turbo squid and cebas website didn't find a download link....

07 July 2005, 01:35 AM
:) hey guys I need to slow down a volcano after it erupted , THe particles that I'm using are spitting out too fast how can I sloow fire and smoke down alot .. to make it look like a slow motion eruption...well not eruption but too look like it's not moving like a jet trail !

07 July 2005, 12:19 PM
Hi sadghost,

Put a drag force in your scene. In the command panel you may want to select Spherical Damping. In Particle Flow add a Force operator after the Speed and adjust its value. Add your drag force to the Force operator add "By List". If your particles are traveling very fast you'll have to increase the drag. On the Influence choose Sync By Particle age. The "older" the age the slower they'll get. Play around with the strength until you get the results you want.

Also, try putting a Keep Apart force in PF after the position. This will spread the particles apart making a puffier cloud. Adjust the settings and watch the cloud grow.

On the Speed operator in Particle Flow adjust the divergence angle. This tells the particle emitter to spread the angle of the particle stream. Instead of all the particles coming out in a straight path, the stream will start to spread. A divergence of 10 will mean the particles will come out of the emitter at a 10 degree spray.

Right before the Display in Particle Flow put a delete operator. This tells Afterburn how long the particles will live. You can set the delete operators time to more that your animation if you want the particles to stay around during your whole animation. Remember to change the Part Life in Afterburn to the length of your animation.

SoLiTuDe, Thanks for the good info!

Hey man, I checked out your photos in your gallery. WOW! Awesome!


07 July 2005, 04:02 PM
SoLiTuDe, Thanks for the good info!

Hey man, I checked out your photos in your gallery. WOW! Awesome!


Hey thanks! Which gallery??? My Temp one? I put up a new website that i haven't finished yet... so all my pics are on my isp webspace... surprised anybody even looked at it. :D And i didn't know it was still in my profile... mehhh... whatever works hehe...

...I woulda done that volcano the exact same way... The book by pete draper does a good job on this, and combined with afterburn it would be twice as good

07 July 2005, 06:19 PM
cool I'll give it a try... I might need to invest in a new video card.. cause AB is slow for me at times even when I use like only 10 particles to emit.

07 July 2005, 09:03 PM
Yeah Andy Murdocks dvd's definitely are great for their price, I've bought both purely because of how cheap they are, still haven't had a chance to actually watch them yet mind you ; ) but from what I had a look at they really are a great resource.

Pyrocluster up until 3 has been pretty useless although 3 was a complete rewrite and during it's early alpha stages interface wise wasn't that great although it's made large leaps to better itself. I still think AB's better in a lot of ways although there are things in pyro that do stand out as being far better and easier to use at times. Although you will find that particle raymcher shaders are going to become quite out of date pretty soon as a lot of new technology is being developed that really stamps how old particles are in a lot of ways when it comes to this kind of stuff.

Great to see an AB thread hope it expands into a big resource!

07 July 2005, 10:01 PM
Hey guys,

I've copied this thread to the Resources forum and stuck it along with the other discussions.
Click here ( to view it.


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07 July 2005, 10:01 PM
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