Creating Realistic Fire in Blender 2.5

Download the free eBook here!

30 seconds
Blender 2.5
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.5/5 (37 votes cast)

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • How to create fire and smoke using the new smoke simulator
  • A simple lighting trick that will vastly improve the look of your fire
  • The correct material settings for fire
  • How to make your flames emit burning embers
  • An easy heat distortion trick that adds nothing to your rendertimes

Previously, creating fire in Blender was a chore. We were forced to use the outdated particle system combined with the clumsy halo renderer. We cringed as we hit F12 and watched the equivalent of a mustard stain materialize on screen.

Those days are over.

The new smoke simulator can not only create realistic smoke, but a gorgeous fire.

I’ve been working extensively with the smoke simulator over the past few months to find out the best method for creating fire. It’s been a long road but I believe I’ve finally got the formula right.

Last week, I launched an Introduction to Smoke Simulation that covered an in-depth approach to realistic smoke physics.

This week it’s all about fire… and it’s completely free.

What you will get from this tutorial is essentially the 3 months worth of experimenting, testing and adjusting, it took me to create the best looking fire possible.

Here’s a sneak peak at what’s inside:

Download FREE copy of your ebook here

Creating Realistic Fire in Blender 2.5, 4.5 out of 5 based on 37 ratings

About Andrew Price

User of Blender for 9+ years. I've written tutorials for 3d World Magazine and spoken at three Blender conferences. My goal is to help artists get employed in the industry by making training accessible and easy to understand. I'm an Aussie and I live in South Korea ;)
  • Lance Jasper Lopez

    I’ve tried to create this using the latest version of blender(2.69) but it seems the fire is out of control and is at the same level as the smoke… How can I minimize the amount of fire generated similar to this tutorial??

    • Satria

      Me too, 2.69, is the problem the version?

    • Satria

      Anyone knows how?

  • ran

    you are the best

  • cepot

    you are the best teacher price

  • Morteza

    Tank you andrew.Good luck

  • Midnight

    I’m using Blender 2.62, and I can’t seem to find the Initial Velocity in the Physics>Smoke tab.

    Also, the Normal value for the panel object.

    It’s probably just under another name, but I’m not sure which one it is.

    I’m a bit more than a total newbie.

    • dosho


      seems they where moved,

      Normal : in the *Velocity* pulldown (Emmitter tab) and
      Initial velocity :in the MAIN physics tab (not the Emmitter one).

      as for my self i’m looking for the fire c-ramp (tried to flip, as mentionned above, but still no color) …

      The link below explain some (most) of the settings.

      happy blending

  • http://- alexander

    gracias por el gan aporte a los ususrios de blender, por todo y en particular por tu apollo artistico y al desarrollo y motivacion de los nuevos jovenes que incurcionamos en el 3d y sobre todo en blender
    otra vez gracias alexander cuba

    • patrick

      hola , usted puede ayudarme en mios nuevos projectos ? mi skype Sonic.360 desculp por mi malo español yo soy brasilian

  • amcam

    Here’s a real one

    Still a way to go with the sim.

    • Jeremiah R

      though i think ya this sim that andrew did he needs to play with the color texture of the domain some more and you can get that same fire that you show in that vid. Blender smoke sim can get realistic looking fire no doubt, you should always do as many tuts as you can when you are learning anything its best to gather as much knowledge out there. There is tricks in everyones vid that helps to get the results you want. The bad thing about the sims it takes a lot of playing with the settings to get the results you want also. so its hard to make a tut and have everyone follow it to a t anyways, its best to just learn what the settings do and experiment yourself with the tips you learn from tuts. sorry i had to put this because i feel you dont understand that yes the user has to actually trial and error sometimes. The basics and some advanced tips are in this tut though. and even though the result isnt like what you pointed out it can get to that level.

    • Daniel Parthier

      Fire like that would easily be possible too, just need to go different about setting the scene up

  • Alexandre

    One of the questions you had asked on a questionnaire you offered some time ago was, “What can I do to improve my tutorials?” My answer to that was to provide a written version as well. The E-book tutorial you provided here is EXACTLY what I meant by that. Thank you!

    In my opinion, you provide some of the best tutorials available on the web. Thanks for listening!

  • trimondi

    this is probably the best tutorial I’ve ever followed…fantastic idea writing it in a pdf file, because it’s easier to follow it step by step. Thank you very much, really! Your tutorials are fundamentals to try learning something about blender…

  • Adam

    for some reason, I can’t download it

  • MiD-AwE

    Hi Andrew,

    Great tutorial. I have one question; Have been able to make this work in Blender 2.61 Cycles?

    For me the Domain object is fully opaque in rendered view & the materials have no volumetric options that I can find.

    Please help.

    • fergus

      there is no volumetrics in cycles. they are planned mid-2013.

  • Vaakmeisster

    I’m using the e-book. Also using Blender 2.61. Followed everything to the letter only to see (after a painfully long baking process) that no smoke showed. I don’t know what I did wrong. I’ve done this several times, still can’t see any smoke after baking. It’s really getting frustrating. :’(

    • fergus

      you need to use the blender internal render engine. cycles wont have volumetrics until mid 2013.

  • ska

    hi give me blender file link

  • alienkid

    NVM .8 Brownian is too high. I’ve setting on .2 in 2.60a

  • alienkid

    For some reason my particles don’t go straight up even though I followed the particle settings exactly. Any help?

    • alienkid

      NVM .8 Brownian is too high. I’ve setting on .2 in 2.60a

  • Simon

    If i do this, there is too much smoke (i do all the exact steps like in the e-book), and then the Fire looks pretty ugly and there is too much smoke for the Fire -.-

    • alienkid

      same problem.

  • Pat

    I tried this in 2.59 and in the step before the Compositor all I am getting is pinkish smoke. Does the fire need its own particle system?

  • blorf

    I made fire without the smoke simulator and just nodes and particles, and I personally think it was quite a success, but this was good too.

  • Owldude (formerly The Hammer)

    sorry I mean actually looked decent ;)

  • Owldude (formerly The Hammer)

    I was watching a movie recently which had some fire in it and I thought to myself, ‘hey I know how to make that in blender,’ but it turned out that it was a completely different technique from this! the next day I tried it and it worked really well. some differences from this I will list below.
    1. in the domain settings, I checked ‘dissolve’ and set the time value to 3.
    2. in the textures I removed the smoke texture and checked ‘density’ in the fire texture influence.
    3. the actual smoke (which was missing) I made with halos which, with the right materials (alpha to .01 and hardness to 0), it actually looked decent.

    anyway, just thought I’d put that up for any curious people with unreliable compositers.

  • Jack

    Whats Wrong with your Lip?

    • Porter Morgan

      Ha! I know Right?

  • Andrew

    hey andrew great tutorial but i’m having problems moving it into my full scene after making it, whenever i do the smoke disappears and all that is left (sometimes) is a thin layer of white smoke and no fire.

    thanks for your help

  • Pingback: Creating Realistic Fire « Jeremy Deighan

  • Jeremy Deighan

    Here’s my go! Feedback people! :D

    Jeremy Deighan

  • MH

    Do you know if it is possible to create a very fast flame like a flame torche .

    • fergus

      I created a Bunsen burner type flame by using blender 2.66 and setting the flow object to mesh and making the heating something crazy, like 10 or 50 and it was really fast. you could improve the materials with no smoke and thin, blue fire.

  • Maxime

    Everytime I close blender after baking and saving the smoke and I re-open it, I get that message

    ”High resolution smoke cache not available due to pointcache update. Please reset the simulation.”

    And after that, when i try to render a frame or animation i get only a black spot where the smoke should be.


  • trying2learn

    I’m new to Blender and i’m unable to see anything with this tutorial. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. Blender 2.56

  • The Hammer

    forgot to mention that the time I got it to work, smoke high resolution didn’t act weird.

  • The Hammer

    ok, I tried it again and this time it looked great! unfortunately, I’m not yet sure how to move a blender image or animation onto any other software, could be a useful tutorial.

  • Sipke

    Excellent tutorial!

    here is my result:

  • The Hammer

    also, i found that (after many failing attempts) the Voxel Data texture sometimes acts weird. it didn’t have all the same options if I didn’t switch anything. :\

  • The Hammer

    cool,quitecool I found that ‘smoke high resolution’ gave me some 3D view problems (turning the domain solid black) so I used it without. in my situation I found that fiddling with the color ramp helped a ton. I made the ramp thingies much farther apart and make them yellowish. I also turned brightness and contrast down to get some nice results. before that it looked a little like a bunch of miniature laser explosions.

  • Blizzer

    I don’t get this tutorial working. I use version 2.56.0. I have redone it 4-5 times. I can’t now get the fire to show up even thou I have done everything.

    I would like to see every little step is showed in the tutorials. Is different layers used? Do we have to use it to get it working?

    In tuturial I shall press ctrl+Left Arrow to get into the Composing Editor. When I do that I dont have any items there …

    Also, I would like to see the tutorials load Factory settings before starting the tutorials. So all starts with same base and get same end result.

    Btw, where can I download the .blender file that Andrew have created in this tutorial, so I can check what I have done wrong?

    Otherwise I really like the help we get from Andrew.

    PS: I am a newbie on Blender.

    • Jason

      I had the same problem using blender 2.62. Try flipping the color ramp for the fire texture so it runs from left to right. Worked for me. Don’t know if they changed this in my version or if I just have something else backwards, but it did the trick.

  • Patrick

    Great tutorial Andrew :)
    Wonderful tutorial, it gave me the inspiration to do this:

    I actually made this scene with a friend for the first page of a scout camp “user’s manual” :D

    Please leave comments and/or critiques :)
    Thank you and bye

  • David Richter

    Make sure that you have both saved your blender file and baked it. The baking process will cache the settings to enable a quicker smoke output (with a high resolution setting). Click Alt-A. When the smoke is at its longest reach, hit the F12 key and let it render. As you know, you won’t see fire in the actual timelined Alt-A view, but only when you render the during the timelined view.

  • St Anonymous

    Okay, I have run into an issue about halfway through this process that I have found to be very…annoying.

    When I try to render a single frame image, I can see the image being produced and then it goes completely dark. When trying to create an animation, the same thing occurs. I can watch the frames individually being created, then go black. And when I try to play the clip, I get nothing but a black screen.

    Andrew, here’s hoping you read this and know a solution to my problem.

  • Black

    When i was trying to render the fire, i wasn’t able to see it, so i strated to tweak a bit and i notecie that the “Brightness” value in the textures panel does great impact on how much fire and smoke is being rendered, so its a important value you should explain it

    Besides that, its a great tutorial, i’ve learned many things that i didnt realize that they were there

  • Ian Cameron


    I was wondering why I wasn’t achieving the same results as shown in the video.

    I decided to download your blender file attached to this tutorial and looked around it found that you used multiple physics emitters whereas in your tutorial you used one and something to do with embers (It’s been a while since I followed the tutorial) but I got the distinct impression that I would end up with the same quality outcome as you did just by following your tutorial.

    Why would you do this? Why not make it clear that multiple physics emitters are required

    I have now discovered that I was never going to achieve the same outcome by following your tutorial. (ignoring the desert floor, logs and night sky.)

    Why would you not explain that to achieve the same level of fire and smoke as you did in your video requires the student to look at the final blend that you’ve created.

    I find that not explaining this would do nothing but discourage a person wanting to learn Blender.

    You produce great work but…dude your tutorials require full disclosure.

    I found a similar problem with your exploding glass logo tutorial.

    You need to work from the expectation that your student has never touched blender ever. The only exception, if you say upfront, that that a certain level of assumed knowledge is required.

    I’m annoyed.

  • dharma

    thank’s for the tutorial…

  • dpghost

    Greets. Another masterwork by Andrew Price. I have not net achieved fire, bu have achieve successful smoke simulation with red, orange, and yellow around the tip of the smoke: this approaches the fire simulation. Thank you Andrew Price!!

  • Ceryni

    is the pdf file broken?
    i cant get to the site