Phoenix FD Tutorial: explosion

This tutorial shows you the essential setup for explosion simulation with Phoenix FD 1.2 and rendering with Vray 2.0.

Tutorial Results

Learning Concepts
Chaos Group Phoenix FD is a fluid-dynamic plugin for 3dsmax, it is relatively physically accurate and some of the parameters are using physical unit. One must strictly setup the scene with that in mind (ie: gamma, lighting...etc) to use this plugin or you might get undesired results or found this plugin uncontrollable.

1. Preparation
Open Phoenix FD sample scene: "Nuke.max"
C:\Documents and Settings\User\My Documents\Phoenix FD\samples
Select Simulator01 and scroll down the rollout at the bottom, check both Renderings and Rendering settings and save as Nuke.apr file. We will use this apr as preset later on.

2. Scene Setup
Go to Create Panel/PhoenixFD, click and drag to create a PHXSimlator in viewport. (Size would be 110X110X160 in my example)

Go to Create Panel/Lights/Vray, click and drag to create a VraySun in viewport (when pop-up to put VRaySky in Environment, say NO)

Create a VRayPhysicalCamera in your Scene. Adjust the parameters as image above:

Go to Create Panel/Helper/PhoenixFD, put a PHXSource (barrel shape) in your scene. Create any geometry in your scene as PHXSource's source, we used Geosphere in this example. Check smoke channel to 1. Key the Discharge value to 300 until frame 11. (300 to zero), this induce the sudden explosion when simulate.

Overall scene setup

3. Simulation
Click on PhoenixFD001 and go to Templates, load the Nuke.apr we just created. This will load must parameter settings we need. We could use those settings as starting point. Adjust the cell size while monitoring "Required RAM". The cell size equal voxel size in FumeFX which directly determine the resolution of fluid/smoke. Higher cell size generate better quality, however I found when "Required RAM" higher than 60Mb causing PhoenixFD to crash in 3dsmax 2011 32bit system. Choose any resolution on your own.

Hit Simulation button to start simulate. Gray dots and red dots represent smoke/fire respectably. You could increase Conservation Quality or decrease cell size if desired.

4. Rendering Settings
Left: No Gamma correction; Right: correct gamma settings

Go to Rendering/Gamma LutSetup, set those parameters as follow:

Assign Vray as your renderer. set those parameters as follow:

5. Rendering/test
Now you could make your first render, it might looks ugly at first time. Select your PhoenixFD001, go to Rendering, click on "Color and Transparency". If emission source set to disable, it will render smoke only; if set to Temperature, it will render both smoke and fire.

You could adjust your VrayPhysicalCamera's shutter speed if too dark/too bright.

6. Add detail
Displacement adds fine detail to your smoke rendering

To add detail and realism to your smoke, select PhoenixFD001. Check Displacement enable and set value to about 3. Put a smoke map (procedural map) in the Fine channel. Adjust smoke map size according to your scene unit (I use value 4 in my example)

7. Light Scattering
Scattering strength: 1, 2, 4

In real world, lights actually scattering in a smoke. To add more realism, select PhoenixFD001. Go to Rendering/ Color and transparency. Play around the scattering Multiplier value, the Maxim is 4

8. Post-Process
Hit "8" or go to Rendering/Environment. Add VRay Lens Effect, check Bloom and Glare on. Adjust the value interactively, this will give final touch to your rendering.

Congratulation! you have just finish this quick tutorial, play around and have fun with PhoenixFD 1.2!

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BakaNoname said...

Hi, First off amazing tutorial, it really helped getting off the ground with Phoenix FD, I have some doubts though, I've followed your guide to the letter and I seem to have run into a little snag, not I'm not that well versed with VRAY lights and the VRAY camera and as a result I seem to be rendering the actual explosion without shadows, now shadows are on in the vray sun and I've been reducing the shutter speed as you instructed but to no avail...I'm really interested in both learning using Phoenix FD, please help =)

Hammer B. Chen said...

To BakaNoname:

Remember to check the "cast atomospheric shadow" for your VraySun. when rendering explo's shadow.

If you're using standard lights, check "Atmosphere shadows" under Shadow parameters.