The Fire Primitive

evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 8,910
edited January 2014 in Carrara Discussion

I've been asked to post the settings for this video. This actually uses three elements. The fire primitive, a light bulb with some effects, and a particle emitter.

There are some caveats to using the fire. It does not react to scene forces and it has no controls to simulate forces such as wind, wind direction, or wind speed. These would be welcome improvements in future updates. It can also cast shadows, they are not opaque, but it can cause some weird artifacts, so if you don't want them, I would turn off the cast shadows option. The fire primitive can also provide illumination provided you use Indirect Lighting in your render.


I couldn't find the original scene file, but I did save the torch to my Objects browser and that includes everything except the particle emitter which I'm trying to recreate


I've found that the default colors are too cartoony. I find I can get a more accurate look if I adjust the colors much brighter. Yellow in the base color and I usually brighten that to a very light yellow. Of course, there are times when you'll want a more fantastic color such as for a magical or sci-fi effect, in which case, whatever color you choose, I would go for a bright version of it.


I also like a high detail, and high edge falloff. I usually don't increase the pointiness from its default and many times I will reduce it somewhat. I've found an upward speed of 8 or 9 works best for me. Your mileage may vary.


The fire itself doesn't cast a light unless you use Indirect Lighting in your render, so what I do is stick a bulb light into the fire. I leave it pretty bright and set the color to approximate the fire's color. I also add a 3D Light Sphere in the bulb's effects tab. This helps sell the brightness or heat of the fire.


If you are animating the fire, the fire should be set to 0% at the start of the animation. Scrub to the end of the timeline and adjust the fire's completion to 100%. To get a flickering firelight, you can set the bulb's brightness to 100% at the beginning of the animation and 50% at the end. Change the tweener type to noise and choose Cubic. The T-scale is the time scale. Fire flickers rapidly, so you'll want to to adjust the slider so that you get a lot peaks and valleys. You can also clamp the peaks and valleys if you feel the valleys or peaks have too much variance.

Post edited by evilproducer on
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Comments

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 8,910
    edited December 1969

    Here's the setting for the light sphere:

    Picture_7.png
    988 x 639 - 121K
  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 8,910
    edited December 1969

    I should add that depending on your needs, you can change the container type for the fire. I used a cylinder for the torch, but a box works can work well for a campfire, a sphere is great for your spell casting mage, or a Sci-Fi energy weapon, etc.

  • DUDUDUDU Posts: 1,866
    edited December 1969

    Many thanks !
    I will try that very soon.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 8,910
    edited December 1969

    I'm working on recreating the particle emitter. I can post a link to a scene file when I get it done. I'm almost there. The particle velocity is what's causing my greatest problem.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 8,910
    edited December 1969

    Here's a scene with a fire and particle emitter I put together this morning. It is an animated scene set at 4 seconds. I didn't add a light to the fire. Feel free to use what you want from it, in any manner you wish.
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/7370483/Fire_and_emitter.car.zip

    fire_sample.jpg
    1200 x 900 - 66K
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 13,976
    edited December 1969

    Just beautiful! Great job, my friend!
    You know, this brings me back a few years, when I first got Carrara. I started messing around with the Carrara fire primitive, and several people mentioned how much they just can't stand the thing. Not mine, the Carrara fire primitive in general. I was already really close to getting the results that I wanted, so I was fortunate enough to have the ambition to keep playing with it - because now I just love it. It may require some subtlety and patience - that's for sure. But it's an excellent thing to have. There was a lot of that sort of thing going on. Statements about how Carrara is lacking in this and in that. I bought Carrara to handle all of this stuff. I am no stranger to jumping from one software to the next when I need to, but such things are truly becoming more and more distant from my workflow.

    Cripeman mentions in at least one of his, most excellent tutorial videos, that Carrara does have ways to tackle nearly anything you can dream up. I don't remember his actual words - but it had that basic feel. MacGuyver made similar comments as well. It was really refreshing to hear such positive feedback. At certain stages of noobdom I started to believe some of the negativity and opting not to use 'this' in Carrara, and try to avoid using 'that' as well. Thank goodness that some of that started bleeding its way into things that I know Carrara excels at - at least in my opinion. So then I start going through and getting down with the modeler, manipulating UV Maps, animating fire and ocean and fog, rendering with global illumination and, on the other end of the spectrum trying out the ambient scene setting in scenes that I imagined might be able to make fun use of it. Nowadays, I'm finding myself methodically making my way through my projects of my imagination with glee. Sure I run into situations that require a lot of thought, patience, and experimentation. I've made horrible mistakes and crashed the heck out of Carrara - but I can always seem to feel that tickle of success in Carrara - and it feels really good! Finest software purchase I've ever made!

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 8,910
    edited December 1969

    Some people used to harp on the fact that the fire didn't look real and that you should use billboards made with real fire video. My feeling was that both had their place. An animated fire billboard won't react to scene forces just as the fire primitive won't. The other issue I had with animated fire billboards was that they were great for certain simple camera movements, but heaven forbid you need a shot where the camera moves around the fire in any way.

    No, it's not photo real, but if you take the time to really experiment with it, you can get some very nice results as long as you keep the limitations in mind. The same is true for splats or billboards that use movies of real fire.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 13,976
    edited December 1969

    Absolutely.
    Yeah, I'm certainly not knocking other methods... I like to use whatever makes me feel good using at the time, so long as I'm happy with the results. No doubt that shooting alpha video clips of real fire out of particle emitters makes for some killer looking flames! I've never tried that route yet - But I have thought about doing that same concept using animated renders of Carrara fire ;)

  • That Other PersonaThat Other Persona Posts: 381
    edited December 1969

    Looks nice, Evil.

    Started playing with the fire settings today. For the moment, I am looking for a campfire that will run 20 seconds or so.

    Would it be best to set the fire to run that long or loop it at four seconds? The primary focus of my scene is the characters interacting near the fire; the fire is just for atmosphere. I use the Toon Gen characters, so I also am not going for great realism.

    Will run and save a few test files with five fires each, comparing the impact of changing one setting at a time.

    Oh how I wish my Mac Pro were already here... I could set a batch of files and render all night and be done with it!

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 8,910
    edited December 1969

    Looks nice, Evil.

    Started playing with the fire settings today. For the moment, I am looking for a campfire that will run 20 seconds or so.

    Would it be best to set the fire to run that long or loop it at four seconds? The primary focus of my scene is the characters interacting near the fire; the fire is just for atmosphere. I use the Toon Gen characters, so I also am not going for great realism.

    Will run and save a few test files with five fires each, comparing the impact of changing one setting at a time.

    Oh how I wish my Mac Pro were already here... I could set a batch of files and render all night and be done with it!

    I would set the completion at the starting frame to 0%, and scrub to the end f the timeline and set the completion to 100%. The upward speed will determine how fast the flames move.

    Also, stick a light bulb in the middle and set the color to match the fire. Make sure to uncheck the cast and receive shadows option for the fire. To have a flickering light effect, start the bulb at 100% brightness at the start of the animation and at the end set it to something around 60%. Change the tweener to noise. For 20 seconds you would want to adjust the T scale (time scale) to compress the noise and make the flickering faster.

  • That Other PersonaThat Other Persona Posts: 381
    edited December 1969

    Awesome! That looks great! I had never played with tweener settings before; there is soooo much to learn...

    I went with an up speed of 7; fine for the look I want for now. So many settings that I still need to play around with to really understand it all.

  • RoygeeRoygee Posts: 2,220
    edited December 1969

    A hint I picked up from 3dage is to duplicate the fire in place, make some very slight changes to parameters and set the duplicate on a slow spin modifier in the Z-axis - adds variety and randomness to make it more realistic.

  • Headwax_CarraraHeadwax_Carrara Posts: 6,852
    edited December 1969

    Roygee said:
    A hint I picked up from 3dage is to duplicate the fire in place, make some very slight changes to parameters and set the duplicate on a slow spin modifier in the Z-axis - adds variety and randomness to make it more realistic.

    hey Roygee, welcome back :)

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 8,910
    edited December 1969

    Roygee said:
    A hint I picked up from 3dage is to duplicate the fire in place, make some very slight changes to parameters and set the duplicate on a slow spin modifier in the Z-axis - adds variety and randomness to make it more realistic.

    Great idea Roygee. I'll have to give it a try sometime.

    P.S. I sure miss 3Dage. I hope all is well with him.

  • SileneUK_CarraraSileneUK_Carrara Posts: 1,310
    edited December 1969

    Here's a scene with a fire and particle emitter I put together this morning. It is an animated scene set at 4 seconds. I didn't add a light to the fire. Feel free to use what you want from it, in any manner you wish.
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/7370483/Fire_and_emitter.car.zip

    Looks great... I think it looks good as a still. I have your original fire file, and will definitely try this one! Thanks :) SileneUK

  • RoygeeRoygee Posts: 2,220
    edited December 1969

    Hi head wax :)

    I've not been away - pop in every day to see how you all are getting along. Been concentrating on modeling, not rendering, so don't have anything to contribute here at the moment.

    Cheers:)

    PS - really wish 3dage would come back.

  • That Other PersonaThat Other Persona Posts: 381
    edited December 1969

    Got a new Mac Pro 6-core machine this week and decided to break it in running tests on the Fire Primitive.

    After determining a base file that looks decent (default with upward set to 4, 10 seconds long), I created 4 to 5 variations of each of the other parameters. Batch render, wait a couple of hours and viola 27 videos showing the changes each setting makes!

    I went both sides of the default. For example:

    Quantity
    100% (default)
    50%
    150%
    200%

    Now I have samples to work from while honing in on a look.

    BTW, the MacPro handled this with ease and never made a sound.

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 8,910
    edited March 2014

    Got a new Mac Pro 6-core machine this week and decided to break it in running tests on the Fire Primitive.

    After determining a base file that looks decent (default with upward set to 4, 10 seconds long), I created 4 to 5 variations of each of the other parameters. Batch render, wait a couple of hours and viola 27 videos showing the changes each setting makes!

    I went both sides of the default. For example:

    Quantity
    100% (default)
    50%
    150%
    200%

    Now I have samples to work from while honing in on a look.

    BTW, the MacPro handled this with ease and never made a sound.

    The fire primitive has been around since at least Raydream 5, with the interface for its controls unchanged as far as I can recall, so it shouldn't be to much of a test on your system.

    Animating volumetric clouds on the hand is something I haven't had much luck with on my ancient PPC machine. The parameters to change its shape over time I mean.

    BTW, congratulations on your new rig. I am jealous!

    Post edited by evilproducer on
  • That Other PersonaThat Other Persona Posts: 381
    edited March 2014

    Not so bad but at 720x720 at 30fps it took about 2 hours total to crank out all the tests, but it was really interesting to see the results. I am new to all of this so I have no clue as to how these things behave, thus the reason for the testing. Haven't even looked at skies yet, not to mention clouds.

    The MacPro works with a 2012 iMac which is rated almost the same CPU-wise, just at 4 cores. If Daz would fix the render node problem I have under Mavericks I would have an awesome system... (actually still have the mini so I could put together 14 cores for short bursts) version 9 coming soon???

    Post edited by That Other Persona on
  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 8,910
    edited December 1969

    Not so bad but at 720x720 at 30fps it took about 2 hours total to crank out all the tests, but it was really interesting to see the results. I am new to all of this so I have no clue as to how these things behave, thus the reason for the testing. Haven't even looked at skies yet, not to mention clouds.

    The MacPro works with a 2012 iMac which is rated almost the same CPU-wise, just at 4 cores. If Daz would fix the render node problem I have under Mavericks I would have an awesome system... (actually still have the mini so I could put together 14 cores for short bursts) version 9 coming soon???

    Good points! It's always good to try out the different features so you get an idea of what you can do and can't do. It's been said that to get the best fire you should use billboard or splat with an image or movie of real fire. This can true in some situations, such as if you want photoreal, or if it's an animation, you severely limit your camera movements. If you need to mover around the fire, then it's a great idea to learn the fire primitive.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 13,976
    edited December 1969

    Well, you could use "Face Camera" particles. Just saying.
    But I am a fan of Carrara fire. I love it!

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 8,910
    edited December 1969

    Well, you could use "Face Camera" particles. Just saying.
    But I am a fan of Carrara fire. I love it!

    You could, that is true. It will render slower though because of the alphas. Then there's the particle calculations which I think may still be a single threaded operation.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 13,976
    edited December 1969

    Too true. Particles are an amazing way to add limitless enhancements to animations - limitless. But they do take time to calculate.

    I'm not sure if I've (or someone else) mentioned this in this thread yet. But Carrara fog and fire were two of the things that I was warned away from using when I was a fresh, new Carraraist. I wasn't ready to start messing around with that stuff yet anyways. I was still getting Mike and Vicky suited up into new shaders to render well in Carrara - and having a total blast in doing it.

    When I started to animate them walking through a cave passage, it would have felt a crime to not try the fire primitive on their torches. I mean... it's there, right?

    Here's how my first attempt turned out: My Dragon Animation Promo video
    In the first few seconds of the video, Dartanbeck and Rosie are making their way through the cave passage with torches, whose fire is made using Carrara fire. Where you see the flames stop animating was not a Carrara thing, but where I paused the shot in the movie-making editor.

    I like the effect a lot. I have since been contacted by a (then) very active, promising Carrara enthusiast regarding the particles fire he was making. He sent me some dynamite images and video clips of it in action, but then I got an apology letter saying that he had to abandon Carrara for a job he was getting that required him to use different software - if time permits, he would revisit the project in the future.

    Anyways, since then I've acquired the Infinite Skills Advanced Carrara Techniques, where Phil Wilkes shows how easily the particles system can be set up. It is immensely powerful and, while it may end up chewing more render time, it can produce some amazing results.

    Still, when it comes to flames, I will always begin using the Carrara Fire Primitive. With certain settings, like those on my torch flames in the above linked video, I find that I really like what happens at the bottom of the flames. Some of those whom have tried steering me away from it didn't like the bottom. I can only conclude that they just didn't try enough settings changes, because when I have my flames the way I like them, the base becomes this turbulent array of fire as it spews forth from whatever fuel it's consuming - and I love the effect.

    We do have to be mindful on how we place these things along with other elements. But that goes for any effects in any software. Sometimes if we use fog too close to flames, you'll get apparitions of funky geometry appearing. When stuff like this happens, sure, go ahead and try to fix it for a time. But otherwise just try another method of creating the effect.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 13,976
    edited December 1969

    I know that some of you are likely tired of my constant mentioning of Dogwaffle Pro: Howler.
    But with its new Brush Keyframer, and Carrara's ability to render animations with alpha, we can layer all manner of these effects quickly, effortlessly, and, thanks to the makers of Howler, very inexpensively! :)

    I'll show some examples in the near future, as I intend to do some nice animation tutorials

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 13,976
    edited December 1969

    Not to beat this subject with a stick, but I've just thought of something:

    In the CG industry, fire is always a thing. It either really works, or it has to be done some other way.

    With that in mind, I find it increasingly refreshing that our inexpensive software has such an amazing tool for making it!

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 8,910
    edited December 1969

    What Dart said... and said... and said! ;-P

    Yeah, I remember those tests. They were super impressive. Could react to forces and and everything. It's just important to know the pluses and minuses.

    Particle fire pluses:
    •Can react to scene forces
    •Emitter can be keyframed to slowly start or end.
    •reacts when moved if applied to a moving object.
    •Can get cool effects.
    •Can move and orbit camera and still retains 3D perspective.

    Particle fire minuses:
    •Difficult to set up.
    •Long particle calculations.
    •Long render times due to alphas.

    Fire primitive pluses:
    •Easier to set up.
    •Fast render times.
    •Different containers.
    •Can get cools effects.
    •Can move and orbit camera and still retains 3D perspective.

    Fire primitive minuses:
    •Does not react to scene forces.
    •No way to simulate wind.
    •Default settings look like shit.

    Splat or Billboard 2D fire Pluses:
    •Looks photo-real.
    •Fairly easy to set up.

    Splat or Billboard 2D fire minuses:
    •Does not react to scene forces.
    •Need to obtain fire image with alpha mask, either by spending time making your own, downloading from the internet for pay or free. If free, making sure usage rights fit project.
    •Very limited camera movements. Orbiting camera around fire will advertise its 2D perspective.

    My list i very simple and subjective to my past experience trying various effects. It's important to note that they all have their place. I've had some really nice effects by combing the fire primitive with a particle emitter for sparks and smoke. I also always include a light source with the 3D light sphere to help sell the fire. If it's animated, then I introduce a flicker in the light intensity by using an oscillate tweener.

  • DUDUDUDU Posts: 1,866
    edited December 1969

    It is a true penitence when one must work with billion particles in Carrara!
    For realistic smokes, particles, explosions and fires , I use an "old” program: Autodesk Combustion.
    In post-production, one can make miracles with it !

  • edited December 1969

    In one of the 3dxtract magazines I did an excellent fire/smoke tutorial for further reference: http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/29265/

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 8,910
    edited December 1969

    In one of the 3dxtract magazines I did an excellent fire/smoke tutorial for further reference: http://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/29265/

    I'll have to check it out. Sounds interesting.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 13,976
    edited December 1969

    It is a true penitence when one must work with billion particles in Carrara!
    For realistic smokes, particles, explosions and fires , I use an "old” program: Autodesk Combustion.
    In post-production, one can make miracles with it !
    This is very true. It can get Carrara coughing blood at that point.
    However, I've messed around in Howler to make the camera facing maps and working with the particle's behaviors during and after emission, and found that I can get some great results using much, much fewer particles.
    Using Howler's Brush Keyframer (I have no clue if you can do that in other software - it allows you to use an animation as a brush, that you can key-frame movement, rotation, blur, opacity, and other things over an existing animation) and Carrara's fine ability to render animations with alpha, I can layer effects really nicely. I'd love to try out that combustion app though... can we still get it? Maybe I'll look at Amazon. The thing is... I've got this Carrara/Howler thing going - not sure I need another app - but it never hurts to look, right?
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