How to Create an Explosion

Discover how to use the smoke simulator to create a realistic explosion.

38 minutes
Blender 2.5
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.8/5 (122 votes cast)

In this tutorial you will discover:

  • The fundamentals of smoke simulation
  • The correct materials for realistic fire
  • How to create a shockwave

Time to blow stuff up!

You guys have been asking for this for quite sometime now so I decided to finally deliver on that request. Think of it like an early Christmas present (that explodes in your face).

Finished Result

Download finished .blend

At a Glance

Screenshots from the video:

Further Inspiration

Not sure where to take this tutorial? Here’s some more explosive inspiration:

I hope you enjoyed this week’s tutorial. Post any finished works in the comments below!

How to Create an Explosion, 4.8 out of 5 based on 122 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 ;)
  • lilcva

    When I add the domain, it appears all black? Help?

    • Darkness

      Make sure you apply a material to the domain, set it to volume, set the
      density to zero, set the density scale and scattering to your liking
      until the smoke renders well. (5 density scale, 5 scattering for
      example),set the texture to voxel data and under the “voxel data” tab,
      choose your domain under “domain object”, and in the influence settings
      toggle “density”.

  • CradleofFilth#1

    Past time I created this explosion at blender 2.63. And I updated blender 2.69….blender changed smoke(fire) simulation, so I tried to download finished file. But blender 2.69 can’t open this finished file.
    Now I’m confusing..
    (My English is very poor sorry.)

  • damian

    so i got everything to work. except theres no damn color when i render it. please help me

  • Umar Nadeem

    I do not get smoke emitting from the particles at all. What could be the problem? I’ve followed everything till 7:18 but when I press alt + A there is no smoke :S

  • Felipe Ribeiro Silva

    Nice tutorial thanks for posting it .
    its alwais nice to se new tutorials

  • ark524

    I got through most of the tutorial ok but when i got to the materials part the material didn’t show up in the preveiw menu or the render. I went over the part 5 or 6 times and i did exactly what he said to do.

  • Darkside

    Pardon me, how did you make those hills/landscapes nicely. I’ve tried the ANT landscape add-on, but I’ve got mess up in tweaking the mesh. I wanted somehow the result of what you did. I am hoping for your response. Thank you.

  • A Scot in VA

    Great tutorial! I’ve been working with blender for a couple of weeks now so it took a few tries but I finally got it. Thanks a lot mate, keep up the good work.

  • Donomo

    dont be mean to your cat

  • joe

    I do not get smoke emitting from the particles of the second icosphere?? I have tested by deleting the first icosphere and the smoke emits from the icosphere not the particles…..any suggestions???

    • PeterPan

      Have the same problem here. Could it be that Versions >2.66a are behaving like that? Or did you find a solution until now?

  • akshay_vfx

    great tut! thnxxx!!

  • fadis123

    why i can’t make a smoke simulation????????

    • fergus

      maybe you should say what has gone wrong, how your smoke is behaving?

    • CMD Bileena

      Y U NO SMOKE!

  • bob

    For some reason, Blender will crash when i try to render the image a second time. at the top where it says what part its rendering, it says volume preprocessing. if anyone can help that would be great.

    • Fergus

      obviously that means it is struggling to render something to do with the materials of the smoke, god knows why.

  • Ben

    I did everything you said but my smoke isn’t anything close to dense. It’s just a tiny puff of thin smoke. Any advice?



    • Edd

      Calm down dear. Ever heard of the pause button? Last time I checked you could also rewind the video slightly.
      If you do this, the tutorial is great and straight-forward.

      I won’t try and correct your English, because I presume it is not your mother tongue, but you do need to recap on a little more English grammar.

      Blender’s interface is easy to use and great when it comes to navigability, so I would suggest looking at more simple tutorials first, which may help you understand it a little more. I will admit though, the N menu and sidebar etc. seem a little daunting at first, although there are some great tutorials out there on the interface of Blender if you do a quick web search. :)

      Also, please do not caps spam, as it shows weak character by not being able to express your feelings in a more gentlemanly manner.

      Finally, if you really hate Andrew’s tutorials and/or Blender, then don’t use them! Use other software and other websites to achieve similar results!

      Many thanks,

    • Dave

      I love how this person hates Blender so much, but finds the time to come to this site just to blast it. Why did you even watch the tutorial? Some people are just unbelievable.

      • damian

        and look at this numb nuts who posted the same thing three times. now who is really unbelievable. my only problem was the color anyone know how to make in in color i only get black and white

    • zzzzzzz

      yes blender might be hard to use but that’s because it can do so much. this tutorial is quite good although whta i would like to see is a text and image tutorial on making simpler explosions with blender. heck this FUKJA guy is angry.

  • yollo

    good 1

  • Tayne

    This really helps with my Volcano :D

  • Michael

    I am currently making the explosipon and my explosion went down when I put the flow property on the icosphere, this never happened on the tutorial so I just set the multiplier to -1 and it works fine, I hope this helps some of you who are encountering the same problem.

    • Michael

      Ignore that comment, I must have forgot to set the gravity to 0 in the particle system.

  • Cameron

    I tried this tutorial, and encountered a unique problem. My explosion is flat as a pancake! There must be some setting wrong with the voxel mapping…

    • fergus

      check the gravity in the simulator settings.

  • PsalmWhan

    Nice tut!

    How do we export it out to.. say… .FBX?
    Or just anything which a game engine such as Unity3D can use?


    Awesome turorial as usual!
    But for some reason i cant get the smoke simulator working in bigger scenes:/ tried nearly everything now!

  • kostas

    despite the fact i download your file, it crashes when i open it with blender…

    • fergus

      I downloaded it, but it only crashed when i tried to render.

  • adam

    the smoke looks odd… I followed your tut and even made it higher quality than necessary, and it sill looks grainy and blobby

  • koivi

    I heard the cat! :D

  • Kieran G.

    If there is anyone who is just exploring the comments or something, and is reading this one, can you please answer my question!
    I made my explosion, and everything was working great! But then I moved it and my smoke isn’t appearing in the render anymore….
    Please Help!!

    • Chris

      maybe you moved it out of the domain?

    • damian

      did you bake it first? you might need to bake it to set the smoke in the square no matter where you move it

  • rob

    great website. I’ve tried this tutorial on version 2.59 (which crashes as soon as i click render), and I’ve tried it on version 2.5. it’l render the ground in frame 48. then if i try
    & increase the frame number to see the cloud or try to render it it instantly crashes.
    i just can’t get this one to work.
    error message i get doesn’t make any real sense either.
    i need my mushroom fix!

  • tarik bagriyanik

    hello i used this tutorial on a small “air strike” project:

  • Markus

    Really cool. Do you have any idea of how to make a dragon head appear from the fire? I´d have some use for it.

  • Brandon

    Thanks Andrew! Here’s my final result

  • Wes

    oops double post

  • Wes

    HELP! my esplosion keep apperaing VERY gravelly and chunky, its like a bunch of dots in most areas and somewhat how i want it im others. heres a picture:

  • Wes

    HELP! my esplosion keep apperaing VERY gravelly and chunky, its like a bunch of dots in most areas and somewhat how i want it im others. heres a picture:

  • Kryogen

    why didn’t u use the temperature channel for the color?
    That would be physically correct, and for me, it works well.