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Stephen Moroz

Small Pyro Source

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Hi everyone,

For an upcoming project, I need to create the effect of an extension cable overheating. ie. holes being burnt in the plastic casing of a wire and then smoke emitting from them.

This is a good reference, particularly the shot at 1:26


The problem I am currently having is that for smoke to emit from these little holes, the source volume has to be really tiny. This requires a ridiculously low division size just to get the sim to work, making it impossible to easily preview the simulation.

I'm thinking there must be a better method for doing this, so if anyone has any suggestions, I'd be happy to hear them!

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There's a few things you could try here.

First off, for the most part the individual smoke plumes don't interact with each other much. So you might be able to get away with running each little source as its own pyro simulation, with bounding boxes big enough to contain each individual plume but not so big as to cause more computation. You could then run all these simulations simultaneously, assuming you have a render farm for that.

Second, very tiny pyro sources typically create very wispy effects. Some of the burning holes in your source video were pretty big, and you could probably safely go with a slightly larger source and then maybe mask out the very beginning of the emission in post. For smoke that is supposed to be very wispy though, you might want to start with a fairly low-res pyro sim, then emit particles from those tiny little holes and advect them through the velocity field of that low-res sim. You could then use Volume Rasterize Points to convert those particles back into a nice thin volume. This technique requires a lot of particles, though, and the rasterization process can be very slow.

Whenever you can, parallelize your simulations! Don't run everything as one big sim unless everything needs to interact with everything else. 

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