View Full Version : The Vegas Project

05 May 2010, 10:36 AM
Ok here it goes...
I've been working on an aftermath shot of Vegas a la 2012.
I have been working on and off on this shot for a few months now. My goal was to see how far I could push this shot using standard off the shelf tools with limited hard drive space and no render farm support. I want to make it clear that I am aware that when it comes to comp work project sucks. For now 100% of my time has been invested in caching/rendering fluids so I have not been able to work on comp work. Basically right now what I need the most is critique on my smoke/fire elements. Please be very very picky about it since I really want to improve my work on this shot. I will be posting updates on the smokey stuff and hopefully move on to other things like the fault on the background as well as overall comp work.

I know what this forum section is all about please mean. I really want to work and improve this shot.

My first attempt ( was not that good in my opinion. Deleted all the fluids and environment smoke and almost started from scratch with many of the smokey stuff.

Second Pass (


05 May 2010, 01:59 PM
Kudos to you for taking on such a challenging project. The scope of this is obviously pretty huge, but when it's complete, it'll be worth it.

Since you're asking specifically for feedback on the FX elements, I'll ignore the other issues for now. Incidentally, it might be helpful to also post a couple of still renders, possibly also one or two close ups. Even though it's ultimately about the final shot from this angle, looking at close ups and stills can help to pinpoint issues.

My overall impression is that the smoke is too fluffy. Smoke from heavy fire has more solid billowing, and a lot of turbulence with small details in it. Look at the image below. Whereas your smoke is very fluffy with soft edges, almost like candy floss, the smoke in this photo has a strongly defined edge, and the overall look is somewhat akin to cauliflower. It looks far more solid, and only starts getting wispy and fluffy looking higher up.

image link (

Notice also how high the fire details appear within the column of smoke as well, it's not just near the base. You should also check out some of the photos of the recent volcano eruption in Iceland - even though that's obviously a very different type of fire, it's a great reference for the smoke, and since there's also quite a lot of video footage of it, it's a good reference for how the smoke moves.

Another thing you should address in your animation is the way the columns of smoke coming from the background building on the left are all of equal length. This would imply that all the fires started at the same time, which is unlikely. Varying this would help to improve plausibility and therefore realism.

05 May 2010, 03:54 PM
More of you fires should start before you short. If you want fires to start in your shot, keep them few. I wouldn't do more than one, for this shot. And start it more violently, like a small explosion or something. And add some more chaos, destroyd buildings, collapsing building parts, fire damage from fires thats not burning anymore, and other stuff like that. Then you can also maybe start a litte fire in you shot, with an explosion or something.

And the fire down by the water, I'm guessing it's small explosions or what ? Well, it's not working, and it's destracting the eye.. I would go for either just smoke, or constant flame, maybe one explosion..

Just my two cents,
Cool project by the way !


05 May 2010, 07:01 PM
Thanks Guys,
For now I will work on 2 parts:
Getting main body of smoke to be a lot thicker with not so much diffusion/dissipation and I'll try and get more detail in the smoke.

Now about the flames, I looked at more reference of oil fires and such. I understand how flames rise a lot more , but there is a problem. Those are open air fires and mine are fires within a building so the fire is not necessarily at the edge of the windows. My thinking behind that was that the fire could have started in the middle of the building and maybe a flame could creep out here and there. Not sure if it is reading well though.

I'll still try to slip in a test with bigger flames see how that looks.
Again thanks for the critique.


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05 May 2010, 07:01 PM
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