Houdini 17 Quicktip: Setting Up Colored Smoke

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Free Tutorials

Smoke and mirrors! Well Smoke mainly in this quicktip. We’ll look at a few of Houdini 17’s new pyro features – namely the new sourcing workflow and the ability to (easily) color your smoke simulation using a mesh’s colors.

Houdini 17 brought a few changes when it comes to setting up smoke simulations. Emission is now handled by generating points and then turning them into a sparse volume to be used as source in your DOPnet. That might seem a bit alien at first but makes sense once you use a pyro-sim in conjunction with particles or debris (VFX anyone?).

Another (at least for motion graphics) huge feature is the ability to now easily color smoke in H17. Not that this was impossible in pre-17 days, it just got a whole lot easier. Granted – a donut isn’t the most spectacular shape to fill with (donut-)colored smoke but you get the idea. Use it for shoes, cars, watches, whatever product you’ll need to apply a bit of colorful smoke to…

Download Free Donut 3D Scan
Download Project File (.hip)

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  1. Adam Tracksler

    Fantastic! Cant wait for the Patreon Lighting and rendering!!

  2. Daniele Frontini

    Thanks a lot Moritz, superuseful!! I can’t get rid of the stepped surface on the smoke surface in contact with the collision geo. Any suggestion?
    Thank You!!

      • There is no vdb collider, if you see the “collider_out” its above the pyro source
        you talking about VDB is static object in dop network current value in video its “64” you want this value to be UPrez to get rid of stepped surface.

        I am new too

  3. Mark Pamatat

    Just curious, the GLTF file format, what if you wanted to pull the color say from a mesh? like a model thats textured and colored etc… is there a way to pull in that information and feed it to that setup?


    • Sure, that’d be pretty much the exact same workflow: load in your mesh, (assuming it’s UV’ed) load in it’s texture using attribfrommap and you’re set. Cheers, Mo

  4. Thanks, Moritz, for the great tutorial. I am still new to houdini, so can you clarify some points? the first, why do we add alpha to the rasterize attribute in sop and to the volume source in dop? is it just in case if we have alpha or what? and second why do we set color field to blend? Thanks in advance!

  5. Hey Guys, great Tutorial! Is it rendered in REDSHIFT? If yes how did you get the color into the rsvolume_shader? Is there a way to pipe a color field (Cd.x,Cd.y,Cd.z) into this shader? or do we have to use mantra? Thx!

    • Hey Mick,

      in this case I used Mantra but Redshift by now should also have a color slot in its volume shader where you can pipe in vector volumes for color.

      Cheers, Mo

  6. Hey Moritz, thx for your reply! no unfortunately the rs volume is still a black box. No inputs.In the pp there is a column called color but no matter what I typ there ( Cd.* – Cd – Cd.xCd.yCd.z ) no color field appears in the render 🙁
    Maybe you guys could do a qucktip on Patreon :)Thx

  7. Matthieu Robert

    Thank you Moritz for this (again) very detailed tutorial !
    I opened your scene in Houdini 18.5, and the color doesn’t get to the volume, even the volumevisualization linked to the volumerasterizeattribute (donut’s) is white.
    Did I miss something of Houdini 18.5 asks some tweaks ?

    • Matthieu Robert

      My mistake, you can erase my previous message.

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