FXWars! Nuke!: Dan Chamberlin, Freeform, 1950s test footage


Ok. I’ve got a little time before I start work again, and just couldn’t pass up on a challenge called “Nuke”…

I’m going to be doing a desert explosion, to keep things simple, similar to several of the test operations conducted in the 1950s. I’ll be using FumeFX, 3DS Max, After Effects. I’m really looking forward to this challenge…



Ok. Here’s a FumeFX preview of my progress:


The beginning of the animation can be forgiven a bit, there’s going to be a huge bright flash, so it doesn’t have to expand nearly as fast it would in reality.

I’m basing my timing (how fast it rises, how long the fire lingers, how fast the blast wave goes out and kicks dust up off the ground, etc) off of this test footage: click

More to come…


Really liked this test.


A bit of an update:

I’ve been busy playing with settings trying to get things to work and look how I want them to. I think I’ve got most of it sorted out.

Here’s an updated preview of the animation: here

originally I was going to have the dust at the base radiate from the center, but it wasn’t cooperating. The first seconds after the blast are gonna be too bright to see any of it anyhow, so it’s allowing me to cheat it and just kick up all the dust at once. I may yet decrease the buoyancy of the base dust so it doesn’t rise up so high, but for the most part I think it’s finished.

Here’s a rendered frame of the animation: here

There aren’t any shadows or lighting on the ground yet, and the old film look isn’t there, but it does give an idea of the general color matching and look of the simulations.

I’m gonna be cutting things pretty close. It’s taking a while to render a frame, just hoping I’ve got enough time to render all 360 frames in the animation without cutting it short.



This is one of the better fumefx nukes I’ve seen. Usually the smoke looks flat but yours has a nice feel of depth and shape. The colors are good as well. Going to look cool when it’s done.


Really quite impressive.


yeah this is my favorite so far (the still looks great).


I really like the scale of your simulation. Finally one with convincing scale. I also think the still looks great, though I am not sure about the previz. There is not so much ground dust generated in a surface explosion because there is no shockwave overlapping in such a case. Anyway, artisticly this looks great so far. Wanna see more! :thumbsup:

I wonder where you guys always get so nice desert images from. I am always seeking for such images (or even footage) for my explosion but I never find one. If someone has a link I´d appreciate sharing it. :slight_smile:


The rendering is complete. I spent today compositing everything together. Unfortunately, there no time to tweak anything in the simulations, so anything that needs fixing has to be done in post.

http://danchamberlin3d.com/movies/nuke_first_draft_01.mov (20.7mb)

I ended up keeping the dust on the ground from rising so high. It may have lost a bit of the form I had earlier, but it helped the scale a bit.

Comments and suggestions are always appreciated.



Awesome! Best I’ve seen so far.


I really like the ground smoke and it’s shape, you have no idea how long i tried to achieve that “look”
Did you just birth particles on a geometry or did you actually have them radiate out?

I was trying all sorts of ways to get that random clumpyness look and I just couldn’t figure it out.
I even attempted with multiple sources with different radius’s.
great job though keeping it all geometry free and still looking large. I resorted to geometry to get the desired shape.

One thing I really wish Fumefx did that it doesn’t is to somehow let you color based on source.
I have three grids in my scene, I really wish I wouldnt have to add a whole nother grid and sim the exact same simulation just to get color variation into my smoke. Not color variation in each voxel, but some white voxels, some brown, some black, ect. if you know what i mean.
Maybe Andy can enlighten us about whats coming for fume 2.0? lol.

Good luck man, really nice fume work.


The dust on the ground is 3 separate sims. I basically arrayed them around the center. I emitted from a plane with a black and white gradient/noise texture mapped on it. Then used a gravity vector to initially push the dust out, then reversed it to pull the smoke back towards the center. it’s hard to see at normal speed since the time scale was pretty low, but is easy to pick up when you scrub through the animation.

In the end, the clumpiness and size of my ground dust was directly related to the expansion. When I lowered the expansion to keep it from rising so high into the air, it lost it’s clumps, and became more flat. Was a careful balance to get a mix of both.

I’d love to have gotten some nice color variation in there. Coloring by source would definitely be a huge step in the right direction.


Great simulation Dan, very realistic and impressive! You have really mastered FumeFX and this animation proves that once again!!


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