Could you show me a few ways to de­pict smoke?

Adam Dim­ple, US

ImagineFX - - Imagine Nation -

Tony replies

Smoke, steam and clouds vary in shape, size and den­sity. A cig­a­rette, for in­stance, usu­ally in­volves two dif­fer­ent types of smoke. Plumes com­ing off of the lit end leave in ten­drils, slowly turn­ing around each other as the air cir­cu­lates. Ex­haled smoke, how­ever, tends to be more lumpy and cloud-like.

When a can­dle flame goes out, how­ever, the trails need to be more clearly drawn. Us­ing a Soft Round brush, draw the mo­tion of the smoke. Once you have a ba­sic idea of how you want the ten­drils to move through the air, use the Smudge tool to smooth out tran­si­tions. For the most part I just use the ba­sic Pho­to­shop Round brush, and the stan­dard brushes 14, 27 and 59. You can also use the Eraser and the Opac­ity of the layer to al­ter the smoke’s translu­cency.

Depend­ing on what’s burn­ing (and how) the par­ti­cles emit­ted will float away dif­fer­ently, so choose your way of paint­ing based on the ef­fect you need. When paint­ing a for­est

fire, the clouds ris­ing will bil­low out in a fairly con­sis­tent stream. Use harder, clearer edges to make it feel more solid.

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