I work for a small ministry doing the VFX and motion graphics for a documentary. A large section of the documentary deals with the Old Testament sanctuary and so I've had to design a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire. My background in 3D is Blender, and the majority of the work is done there. However, on occasion we have had to bring other software into the pipeline such as Lightwave and now, Houdini. The pillar of fire I decided would be best done in Houdini, and rendered out to be composited in with the animations from Blender. I've worked out getting the camera moves between the software, and I have made the tent a matte object, but being so new to the software, I don't fully understand how to do what I need to in regards to the actual fire. I know just enough to get close, but I'm running into some issues.
If you look at the attached images, there's an example of how it should look, and how it's currently looking. The physical size of the bottom part is perfect, and fits onto the model of the tent brought in from Blender perfectly. But then the fire expands out and almost looks like water, with a whirlpool or something inside. I would like the entire pillar to look like that bottom section. Any ideas how I would go about doing that?
I'm using the Apprentice version of Houdini right now until I can be 100 percent sure that I have the effect nailed, at which point the ministry will purchase a license. Thanks a lot for taking a look!