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Smoke and flames

From: Digital Matte Painting Essentials 4: Texturing

Video: Smoke and flames

We're almost done with our castle, but This is from a video sequence of rising smoke Load in the alpha channel and copy it out and paste it into the file.

Smoke and flames

We're almost done with our castle, but let's add some fun finishing touches like smoke coming out of the lava and flames in the side fire pots and the smoke stacks. If you're a lynda.com premium member, you can use this file also. It's in the Course Materials folder called smoke.tif. This is from a video sequence of rising smoke that I'll use in the next section on camera projection. But for right now, all you need is a single frame to indicate where the effect will occur. Load in the alpha channel and copy it out and paste it into the file.

It's smaller than the rest of the project, but since smoke is generally soft, we can get away with a resolution difference. Scale it and move it around to make it look like it's rising up off the bottom of the lava waterfall. Open up curves and let's think about this. It needs to have a lot more yellow so, pull the blue whitepoint all the way down. Then subtract a lot of the green channel, adding red. Pull the red white point to the left to add contrast to the red that's already there. Then, in the combined RBG, pull the white point to the left to increase the contrast and lighten it overall. That looks pretty fiery.

Name the layer smoke and set the layer transfer mode to screen. Position the smoke to match the bottom of the waterfall. We don't need to the smoke down here at the bottom so, let's marquee. Select it, invert the selection, and apply a layer mask. Now, with black in the foreground color picker, soften that edge so that it more naturally blends with the lava. Then load white into the foreground color picker, and restore a little bit of that where I went too far. I'd also like to add some smoke on this bridge where the lava comes out of the castle to show the heat rising.

Let's just paste in that same frame of smoke. We'll open up the curves again and do that same thing. Make it look nice and fiery. Then, set the layer to Screen. We already have one smoke layer set to Screen, so let's just combine these two layers. Cmd or Ctrl+E and choose Preserve the Layer Mask. Select around the smoke, then rotate it around, and let's flop it and scoot it into position. With a distort tool, let's stretch it to go across the bridge, and emerge from that entry way.

That looks something like what I envisioned. We need to load that Crenelations 3 layer that we turned off when we copied the color corrected crenelations out. So, load that selection to use in masking the smoke. Subtract the bits we don't need. Then select the layer mask and hit Delete with black in the background color picker to add it to the mask. We need to clean up around the smokestacks at the end of the bridge. And the other side. Some of these areas still need to be softened, let's make sure we're on the Smoke layer.

Then soften some of the edges of the smoke so it's more like a glow. Paint around the entrance so, it looks like the smoke is gently flowing out of it. Let's zoom out. I think I want even less of that smoke. I want to add some flames to the fire pots and the smokestacks. I have this piece of footage of a windy torch from Andrew Kramer's Action Essentials 2 collection. A great addition to any artist's reference library. We want to copy out a single frame of this sequence, which you can do in QuickTime by just pressing Cmd or Ctrl+C.

Let's make a new file, so I can save these for you. I'm going to paste it in and it comes in much too large so, I'm just going to scale it down to about a quarter of the size. I'm going to fast forward to this because I'm doing the same thing. Going to the sequence to find an interesting frame, copying it out, pasting it in the new file, and scaling it down to around 25%. These four frames will work fine in this project. Of course when we do the camera projection, we'll use the moving footage in the scene. Select all and copy out the first frame and paste it into the castle, it can go on this left fire pot.

Set the layer transfer mode to screen, name the layer flames, then transform and position it, it needs to sit right on top of this fire pot. Go back to that flames file and copy out the second flame. And, paste it into the project. It needs to go right over this right fire pot. Set the Transfer mode to Screen. Transform it and scale it to fit. I'm going to the exact same thing on the smokestacks. So, I'm going to fast forward through this part. There is no reason to have these four flames on four different layers, so select them and merge them all down into the Flames layer which remains in Screen mode.

We'll need to add a layer mask to this layer to make the flame seem to rise out of the smokestack and the fire pots. I know I have the tops of these smokestacks on that final Paint layer so, load in the selection from that layer. There's a lot of painting on this so you'll need to just select the top of the stacks. Add a bit to the bottom of the selection to cover the whole flame. Invert the selection and apply a layer mask to the Flames layer. That covers that nicely. We need to add the bottom of the fire pots to the layer mask.

Find that final Paint layer again, and load in the selection. There's a lot of painting on this layer. I think only the right fire pot is cleanly selected. So, intersect with that selection. Add a little to the bottom then hand select the left fire pot. Select the layer mask for the Flames layer, and add that selection to it. Now all the flames sit into the project nicely. Let's add some flames at the bottom of the waterfall, as of the ocean of lava is catching fire where the waterfall meets it.

Here's another piece of footage I'll use in the final camera projection. Don't worry, I'll talk about good sources for footage like this when we get to that section. For now, all we need is a single frame. Copy one out. Let's go back to that Flames file, and I'm going to paste it in there. Put it at the top of the stack. I'm going to save this to the course materials folder for premium members as flames.psd, in case you want to use some of these stills in your project. And then paste it in down here at the base of the waterfall, then set the layer to Screen.

Let's scale and position it to make this fit in. And maybe squash it a bit. It's getting there. I'd like some more detail on the flames, so let's open up curves. First darken them overall. Then, let's add some yellow and some red by removing the green. Merge this down into the Flames layer since they're all screened. Choose Preserve, select the layer mask and now we can paint into it to blend the flames into the lava sea. I'd like to add a glow to a few more elements starting with this entrance.

So, select this Smoke layer. And screen a little glow on the entrance. Glow the flames also. I know this final section is running long. But let's do one more thing before we finish. Light a flame at the top of the level waterfall. Select those flames at the base. We're going to be lazy and just duplicate them up to the top of the waterfall. Scale them down, flop them so that it's not obvious it's the same flames. This is just a placeholder anyway for the actual footage.

We need to add to the layer mask to make this go behind the bastion and smokestacks. Select the Layer mask. Make sure that black is in the background color picker. Hit Delete. Then paint into the layer mask to blend the flames in a little more. And that's it. There's the castle ready for use in camera projection in Maya. I'll save this for you lynda.com premium members to explore in the resource folder for the class, named TextureFinal.psd. And that's it. There is the castle ready for use in Camera Projection in Maya.

I'll say goodbye in the next lesson and give you a preview of what we'll be doing in the following section.

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This video is part of

Image for Digital Matte Painting Essentials 4: Texturing
Digital Matte Painting Essentials 4: Texturing

39 video lessons · 3428 viewers

David Mattingly
Author

 
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  1. 1m 51s
    1. Introduction
      59s
    2. Using the exercise files
      52s
  2. 44m 5s
    1. Why did we wait so long to use photographic textures?
      1m 55s
    2. Prepping the form study for texturing
      5m 32s
    3. Transfer modes
      9m 4s
    4. Color basics
      4m 45s
    5. Creating a stone texture
      3m 26s
    6. Adding the dark side's base texture
      3m 57s
    7. Adding the light side's base texture
      3m 40s
    8. Rounded textures and the Warp tool
      6m 33s
    9. Websites for matte painting reference
      5m 13s
  3. 30m 12s
    1. Creating a photographic crenellation
      7m 30s
    2. Creating a line of crenellations
      3m 27s
    3. The Vanishing Point tool
      4m 54s
    4. Adding crenellations using the Vanishing Point tool
      3m 4s
    5. Trimming the crenellations
      7m 9s
    6. Adding back sides to the crenellations
      4m 8s
  4. 29m 36s
    1. Levels and Curves anatomy
      5m 26s
    2. Camera Raw
      3m 33s
    3. Using Levels and Curves
      4m 55s
    4. Color correcting individual RGB channels
      3m 19s
    5. Toning the base castle
      5m 35s
    6. Toning the crenellations
      6m 48s
  5. 32m 25s
    1. Adding photographic elements
      4m 19s
    2. Distorting the dome and rectangular faces
      5m 18s
    3. Relighting the dome
      5m 59s
    4. Color correcting the dome
      1m 52s
    5. Adding more photographic details
      5m 57s
    6. Relighting the new details
      3m 50s
    7. Color correcting the details
      5m 10s
  6. 51m 33s
    1. Extreme color correction
      3m 36s
    2. Adding a photographic sky
      6m 27s
    3. Adding background mountains
      5m 32s
    4. Integrating the details
      7m 30s
    5. Collapsing layers and more details
      5m 13s
    6. The final paint layer
      6m 28s
    7. Lights and glows
      7m 16s
    8. Smoke and flames
      9m 31s
  7. 33s
    1. Goodbye
      33s

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