best software for explosion?


hi all,
I am a devotated Maya user, but now-a-days, i am not really happy with the quality that maya can produce regarding fire and explosion…i tried fluids/particles in different ways but still it lacks the detail we see in the movies.
what is the best software/what industry prefers most for making this kind of effects?




I’ve seen some fantastic explosion simulations done with Maya Fluid Dynamics. I was recently at a Maya 6 seminar in Virginia, and one of the presenters showed off a simulation of a large-scale explosion in the middle of a densely built-up city, and it looked amazing, both technically and aesthetically. It’s all about how you use your tools, to a great extent.


yes i know and used maya fluid a lot, but thing is, a pull down with 456 parameter is never a efficient solution to any given problem!


I have seen some amazing results with afterburn for 3dsMax… shame it requires Max.


The problem is you, not the software.


Lol. Nice.

But to be fair, Maya fluids are a bastard. There is a problem with them because they only calculate everything as if its in a liquid suspension… not as if it is in the air. (Think ink being injected into a fishtank, not like smoke being injected into the air) They said maybe in 6.5 or 7.0 they will fix that.


Erm… you sure you haven’t got that the wrong way round?

Oh and back on topic, yeah it’s not the software that’s the problem… you can do very tasty explosions in Maya…

think about it in terms of elements… you’ve got the central hot core, the initial flash, the first burst of flame, then the rolling fireball, then the puffy white smoke, then the rising black smoke column… look for some reference andtry hard to recreate what you see using particles rather than reaching for the “make cool” plugin…


Why not use artbeats REELExplosion and Adobe After Effects


well…seems the topic has changed when i mentioned about Maya…i told at the begining that I am a devotated maya user, simply because i know it’s great potential and spent last two years of my life exploring it…my main topic was : what industry uses for making fire…do they depend on maya or there are any special software(like realflow for liquid) for it.

yes in maya we can make big explosion which are volumetric in nature…like nuce or something but when comes to little smaller scale than that like say burning house or something where we need to see volume at the same time thin fire flame detail, i did not find a solution in fluid(well again may be lack of skill), only probable solution i found in compositing it.

can we talk now about some other solution except maya? i am sure Maya is not the last word in industry.


Well, the industry standard (if there is such a thing) is only to use CG when it can’t be done for real. Doing CG for the sake of CG is a bad idea. Shooting fire elements (artbeats for people on a budget) is the best way, and then you can track them in with some layering and displacements so they don’t look flat. There is nothing more real and beautiful than an actual firebomb going off on film. And it renders in realtime.


Are you referring to the “Nice” comment, or the discritption of how Maya handles the fluids. That breakdown was given to me by Ducan, and there are some posts from here somewhere with him talking about how/why it does that. Thats whats is a “fluid,” not a “liquid” simulator.


Yes, the best approach is to shoot live fire materials and composite them in your (live)shot. However, if you want the most realistic fire generator software, try using Phoenix from Chaos Studios

Afterburn is used for smoke and clouds although you can mix it with Phoenix.

These two are plugins are for 3dsmax and they don’t have versions for Maya.

I’ve seenn some of the Phoenix renders and I haven’t seen anything close that Maya alone can produce.

I agree that when it comes to realistic fire rendering requirements, Maya lacks this capability although it can render fancy fire using its native particle.

However if you use Arete’s Pyro Tools plugin for Maya, it changes Maya to the inadequate to the capable one.

By the way, I use both Max and Maya softwares.


I know that Houdini is used for quite a lot of vfx in feature film if you are looking for alternate vfx software used quite a lot on feature film. You should ask the same question on the sidefx forum or on Many strong effects users lurk and contribute there.

I also agree that it’s not the tool but the approach you take. You don’t need fluids to do excellent explosions. They just make it more accessible but also more complicated and time-consuming to compute the sim. Fluids give you the nice particle motion. What you do with the particles is the difference: shaders vs sprites vs volumetric rendering, etc. then taking these and layering to get complexity.


Since the qestion was waht software/methods does the industry use…

JackDeath is right, if they can they’ll just blow up or burn the real thing or a scale miniature and augment it with CG.

Maya and Houdini I think are the main two apps for blowing things up, and Renderman and Jig are two favored renderers for rendering explosions and other volumetric effects. It always starts as a layered particle simulation and then it’s either done with volumetrics or sprites. For a real good demonstration of the sprite method (Maya, Renderman, and Sprites), look at the special edition version of LotR:FotR. There’s a thorough, simple explanation of how Balrog was done, and that was some pretty fricken impressive looking fire. If you want to learn about using volumetrics, search the net, I’ve seen some tutorials. I think techimage has one for smoke in Houdini which can easily be extended to fire and probably extended to other software. If you are going the sprite route, the renderer is not so important. I’ve seen very impressive fire done on hardware renderers real time. If you want to go with volumetrics, you’re probably going to want to play around with ray-marchers so you’ll want a Renderman renderer or Mantra or Jig or possiby Mental Ray.


Whoah! Ok, sorry! Don’t name-drop on me, please!

Seriously, I must have got it wrong. I always thought it was that you could only simulate fluids in air (i.e. the “environment fluid” settings are locked), and that simulating interaction between two fluids with varying properties might be added in a later version…

Still cool tho…

As for the explosion thingy you’re totally right - real elements are usually the best if you’ve got good material.


Jackdeth wrote

There is nothing more real and beautiful than an actual firebomb going off on film. And it renders in realtime.

lol, funny one. Thanx for all the info guys, I shall steal it all!:slight_smile:


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