What Is a quick method for build­ing a sim­ple can­dle flame?

3D World - - ARTIST Q&A - Si­mon Ed­wards replies

Cre­at­ing re­al­is­tic-look­ing CG fire might seem like a daunt­ing task, and gen­er­ally speak­ing I would al­ways ad­vise util­is­ing a sim­u­la­tion plugin, such as the water and fire sim­u­la­tor Phoenix FD sup­plied by Chaos Group, for this sort of task.

In fact, for any­thing more com­plex than the sim­plest of flames, I don’t think there are many other op­tions avail­able other than us­ing a sim­u­la­tion plugin pro­gram such as this.

How­ever, this might seem like an aw­ful lot of fid­dly work for some­thing small and sim­ple in a scene, such as a small flame from a can­dle. So with that in mind, here is a quick and easy method of mod­el­ling and tex­tur­ing a pretty con­vinc­ing can­dle flame.

The can­dle it­self in this scene be­gan life as a sim­ple cylin­der in 3ds Max. It was then ex­ported as an OBJ file, then de­formed in­side Zbrush to add all the lumps, bumps, dents and bends for a more re­al­is­ti­clook­ing can­dle shape.

It was then im­ported back into 3ds Max where I ap­plied a VRAYFASTSSS2 (sub­sur­face scat­ter) tex­ture to give it that soft, semi-opaque, waxy look. Fun­nily enough, I find that the Po­tato pre­set in Vray’s SSS tex­ture works well as a can­dle!

The scene was then il­lu­mi­nated us­ing only a sin­gle light source po­si­tioned just above the flame, and for this I have used an in­vis­i­ble V-ray spher­i­cal light mul­ti­plied to a high set­ting of 800 and with an or­angey yel­low colour.

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