mushroom cloud

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  09 September 2006
mushroom cloud

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

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

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.


here the scene preview...

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

Last edited by CapitanRed : 09 September 2006 at 07:50 PM.
  09 September 2006
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...

Daniel Broadway 2013 Compositor Reel

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Daniel Broadway

  09 September 2006
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 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
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.
Daniel Broadway 2013 Compositor Reel

Vimeo Videos
Daniel Broadway

  09 September 2006
Ok, thanx, i'll think of it when i come to the shaders. A tutorial would be very nice. thanx
  09 September 2006
Looks pretty promising, crazy setup you have there. Looking forward to see the afterburn render.



  09 September 2006
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!
If it's not fun, what's the point?
  09 September 2006

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
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.
Daniel Broadway 2013 Compositor Reel

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Daniel Broadway

  09 September 2006

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.
If it's not fun, what's the point?
  09 September 2006
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


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.

Last edited by CapitanRed : 12 December 2006 at 12:22 AM.
  09 September 2006
Awesome. Can't wait to play with it.
Daniel Broadway 2013 Compositor Reel

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Daniel Broadway

  09 September 2006
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

this things will give you a much more strong effect.

I'll do it
  09 September 2006
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
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  09 September 2006
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 )
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