View Full Version : mushroom cloud

09 September 2006, 09:15 AM
Hey Guys

the last two days i spent hours trying to do a nice mushroom cloud of an atomic bomb explosion.

I started simple with a tourus going upwards and increasing the firts radius, while emitting particles.

it know what i mean ;)

then i build a mesh of the cloud, and started emitting on the bottom, and applayed a speed by surface so the particles went up along the surface of the mesh.
and this is not very cool looking too,-for the cloud itself-, but i'll keep it for the pillar, becaus it will give me a cool effect. first i'll make the explosion, then the cloud will rise, and between the floor and the cloud will firstly be nothing, and then flames and smoke will rise to the cloud and connect :twisted:

so, back to the cloud...
my last method to do it, is again a tourus going upwards and emitting particles. underneath is a spherical wind with very low strength and decay. also underneath the tourus is a mushroomcloud-mesh following the tourus. this is used as a deflector without bounce(the deflector is not connected to anything). so the particles collide with it, and it pushes them slightly away.
underneath that mesh, is a spherical wind, with negative strength. so the particles keep on surface of the mesh, and when they passed it, they are draged back to center.
lastly, a sphere deflector is cutting the bottom of the mesh, which does not bounce, but continue the particles into the next event.
and in this last event, the particles are draged with another wind, with negative strength which is in center of the mesh.
so the particles go upwards, when they are on bottom of the mushroom.
in this whole motion is a speed space follw spin operator, which gives more effect to the cloud.

I werote this, because i didn't find anywhere any tut, except the L.O.R. video. but i don't have this DVD, so i tried it by myself.
I also wanted to post some screenshots and animations, but the last days, my machine is going crazy, and max crashed, without saving anything :shrug:

so, i'll do it again, and then post.

If somebody has another way to make a nuke, write it here please. I would love to know how others do it.
I heard about sticky particles, and moving mesh. but i never foud out, how the hell you get the mesh move like this.:scream:


here the scene preview... (

I think with some little tweaks, it will look nice.

09 September 2006, 08:18 PM
That looks pretty cool. I too have been trying to create a good nuclear explosion, but I based mine off the LOR DVD technique. Perhaps when you finish yours, you could post a scene file?

I have created a pretty neat way of illuminating the AfterBurn clouds on the mushroom head. This what what I came up with...

09 September 2006, 08:38 PM
Hehe...yea, thats great!! I saw your post in the afterburn thread, and it is actually, what motivated me to try to do it myself:thumbsup: thank you

your cloud is looking awsome. may i ask, how you illuminated it?

I'll post the file, when i am satisfied with it:)

09 September 2006, 09:04 PM
Well, what I attempted to do was get an internal illumination effect. I placed an actual light in the center of the mushroom head, and set it's falloff to be inverse square. Alot of the look is infact created during compositing, and not straight out of the render. Maybe I'll post a tutorial.

09 September 2006, 09:16 PM
Ok, thanx, i'll think of it when i come to the shaders. A tutorial would be very nice. thanx

09 September 2006, 08:43 AM
Looks pretty promising, crazy setup you have there. Looking forward to see the afterburn render.

09 September 2006, 01:21 AM
that little preview looks great! the motion was really nice. And that afterburn one looks sweet, too, but i'm really interested in figuring this out without plugins. i've often thought about using a lot of animated meshes to create the shape, then just running particles all over it in the right directions. really nice work, keep going on this stuff!

09 September 2006, 04:28 AM
Hi PixelMagic,

That looks great! I am curious as to the amount of post work done to it. Could you please post a straight render pic for comparison?

I think I speak for most ppl when I say a tutorial would be wonderful. I have LOR 2 DVD and have briefly watched how he did it. But more techniques/tips the better IMO :)



Is it part of an animation? I would love to see the rolling effect.

09 September 2006, 05:18 PM
Yes, it is an animation. I don't have time to post a still render straight out of max right now, but maybe over the weekend.

09 September 2006, 05:40 PM

these look llike some okay starting points for some other techniques. the second one here has a great technique for illuminating facing particles so it looks hot. When i did this tutorial a while back, i modified it alot so the smoke puffs got bigger and faded as they spread out.

09 September 2006, 02:18 AM
Ok, as promised, i post the file here. (

some things you guys should keep in mind bevore using it:

- there are a lot of particles and a lot of frames, and to play them,it will need time. set your playback time not to realtime, and be patient. there are cache operators in the pflows, and if you want to be able to play the particles in realtime, make sure that you are able to use the cache operators.
also make sure that you have enough memory, otherwise play only one pf source at a time.
to cache all particles you will need about 2GB Ram.
If you don't have the plugin where the cache operator is integrated, you can download the plugin on

- The dust which gets pushed to the side, has two possibilities to be emitted. the one which is now active, i like more, but it takes very long to calculate and playtrough.
the other one is much faster.

so, have fun with doing the shaders. i didn't do any shader till now :p


what i forgot.
all the objects which are used by the seperate pflows are hidden and on seperate layers. every pflow has his own layer with the spacewraps and all that in it.

09 September 2006, 09:27 AM
Awesome. Can't wait to play with it.

09 September 2006, 11:06 PM
hmm...i have to little disappointed. it doesen't look as i expected. i applyed some volumentrics now, and it doesn't give me this huge explosion look.
I posted this file to show, what a way could be to make a mushroom movement. but if somebody want to use this file for a project, or just for doing some renders, then i would suggest, go behind the setup again, and change some values.

the cloud should be much bigger. also the smoke, which rolls on the flor should go more far away. and the smoke pillar could be more fat.
also a shickwave would be nice... and what is a must is a new camera position:p

this things will give you a much more strong effect.

I'll do it ;)

09 September 2006, 09:29 PM
wow that's hot! can u make a step by step walkthrough for the particle system noobs like me? I'm sure i'll be able to cope with it if it's step by step and i think it would be an awesome learning experience :D

09 September 2006, 10:28 AM
hmm...In the first post is described how the particles are controled.and there is also a file posted, where you see, how the particles are send from one event to the next.
I have no time at the moment to write an exact tutorial how to do it step by step.
perhaps, when i finish the shaders and all renders, i'll do a video tut...perhaps ;)

btw. PixelMagic, did you do something with the scene?
I am sticking with some sand and dust shaders. the cloud and so is rendered out(looks ugly, but with post effects it looks ok :p )

09 September 2006, 01:44 AM
I've been very busy with a freelance gig. I hope to take a crack at it soon.

09 September 2006, 12:26 AM
Try Andy Murdock's tutorial on his second DVD. It is amazing.


09 September 2006, 01:06 AM
got a link? i can't find his training dvd's in google!

09 September 2006, 02:34 AM
Here is the link.

Let me know what you think.

09 September 2006, 07:49 PM
holy crap, thats awesome! thats the best nuke i ever saw come out of Max! really great work by that dude!

there's gotta be a way to do it without plugins.... hmmm...

09 September 2006, 10:32 PM
I agree. Andy's stuff is terrific.

btw. Afterburn is worth the purchase price to be able to pull off effects like this.

The Mushroom Cloud tutorial is on his DVD #2 which also has other Particle Flow and Afterburn Tutorials.

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