AfterBurn Combustion



AfterBurn Combustion is an enhanced version of the 3ds max 5 effect called Fire Effect found in Rendering->Environment->Atmosphere->Effects.


This version of the Fire Effect can interact to some extent with AfterBurn, and also adds a number of features that are explained below. As the AfterBurn Combustion rollout is very long, it's individual groups of controls are listed below so that you can click on any of them to go to a particular part of the AfterBurn Combustion rollout.



Source Gizmo/Daemons

AfterBurn Combustion uses standard 3ds max Helpers (Atmospheric Apparatus Gizmos) as the basis for the effect, just like the Fire Effect that ships with 3ds max.



Pick Gizmos/Daemons - Click this button and choose the Helper gizmos you want to have the AfterBurn Combustion effect applied to. If you want any AfterBurn daemons applied to the effect, you need to specify which daemons you want. You can add as many helper gizmos and daemons as you want.


Remove Gizmos/Daemons - In order to remove a gizmo from the list, highlight it then click this button. It will then remove the helper gizmo currently listed in the dropdown menu located directly on the right.



Source Lights

AfterBurn Combustion needs one or more lights for illumination of its effects.


Pick Source Lights - Click this button and choose the lights you want to have illuminate the AfterBurn Combustion effect. You can add as many lights to this list as you want.


Remove Source Lights - In order to remove a light from the list, highlight it then click this button. It will then remove the light currently listed in the dropdown menu located directly on the right.




The Globals rollout is where you control the type of AfterBurn rendering algorithm that is applied to the Combustion effect, along with it's general shape and opacity.



Rendering Type - Besides Raymarcher, AfterBurn Combustion offers HyperSolids. The HyperSolids rendering type is a modified Raymarcher designed for rendering procedural solids. The final effect is similar to the one when you apply the native 3ds max Displace modifier to a sphere (for example) with a Noise map as a displace map.


The difference between those two techniques is that HyperSolids does not produce any polygons and the level of detail (at render time) is almost unlimited. It also does not require any additional RAM when you increase the detail level.


Antialias - This button controls AfterBurn's built-in anti-aliasing algorithm for rendering HyperSolids. You may consider using a third-party renderer (instead of the built-in FusionWorks Renderer) for anti-aliasing, as this may prove to be much faster.


Step Size - This spinner value indicates the step size of the integration path in world units. For an insight on how many steps will be performed, this value can be calculated using the formula: particle size divided by the number of steps. A lower Step Size value will produce a better-looking image. With very high density and a big step size, rendering artifacts may be produced. To avoid them, you should use smaller step sizes. Small step sizes are also required when rendering HyperSolids.


Regularity - This spinner controls how homogenous the noise patterns are that are applied to the AfterBurn Combustion effect. Lower values will look more random and sporadic while higher values will be more uniform and fill the volume boundary more completely. For HyperSolids, regularity will behave as the displacement strength.


Density - This spinner controls the overall density of the Raymarcher effect. Higher values produce more solid effects while lower values produce more transparent effects.


Falloff - This spinner controls the opaqueness for the AfterBurn Combustion effect. The higher the value, the more opaque the final volumetric effect will be. Smaller values are good for clouds.


Note: The HyperSolids rendering type does not use Density of Falloff parameters.



MAX 3D Texture

This feature lets you use almost any native 3ds max 3D procedural texture (such as Camouflage, Speckle, Cellular and many more) to affect the look of the AfterBurn Combustion volumetric.


This texture can be used for AfterBurn Combustion density and color. The example below was created by mixing several different Noise and Perlin Marble maps together.



If you decide to use a map for density, you may also specify you want this map to color the effect. The example below was created quickly by using the same map as the one used in the example above, but with several colors mixed in.



Use for Density- Once you've chosen your 3ds Max texture to use as a map, turning on this checkbox overrides the normal Density spinner and uses the grayscale information from the map for the density of the effect. Also, you have to activate this checkbox if you want to use maps for coloration as well as they are linked together. Be aware that in order for the texturing to work, you'll need to make sure that the shading it turned on in the Shading group of controls below.


Use for Color- When you activate the Use for Density checkbox, you can also choose to use the same map for color as well. Be aware that in order for the texturing to work, you'll need to make sure that the shading it turned on in the Shading group of controls below.


You should notice that you can apply AfterBurn IDs under the colors in AfterBurn Combustion (within the Characteristics group of controls). These IDs let you glow the AfterBurn Combustion effect or apply any other 3ds max Video Post or Render Effect to it. If you are using the 3ds Max texture for density only, you can apply IDs from the AfterBurn Combustion rollout. If you're using the texture for color, AfterBurn Combustion will use the Material ID. All other options in AfterBurn Combustion are the same as those in the Fire Effect included in 3ds Max.




Unlike the built-in Fire Effect, AfterBurn Combustion allows you to use lights to shade the effect. This group of controls is where you define how the lighting will interact with the AfterBurn Combustion effect.


Type of shading - There are three types of shading available: Off, Lambert and Phong.

  • Off - When this is selected, no shading is applied.
  • Lambert - Lambert shading changes the illumination of the surface based on the angle between the surface normal and the light.
  • Phong - Phong shading is similar to Lambert, except that it includes specular highlights (controlled by Shininess and Shininess Strength).


Normals - There are two options for normal calculations - Shape and Volumetric.

  • Shape - Shape normals are calculated from the shape you are using (Sphere, Box, Cylinder), and thus are smooth over the surface.
  • Volumetric - Noise normals are the normals of the actual Noise function rendered.


Shape Infl. - The Shape Influence spinner becomes active when you choose the Volumetric normals method of shading and is used to mix between the Noise normal and Shape normal. A value of 0.0 means the shape has no effect on the shading, while a value of 1.0 means the shape fully controls the shading of the AfterBurn Combustion effect (this is identical to having selected the Shape radio button).


Specular Color - This color swatch determines what color the specular highlights will be when the Phong shading method is selected.


Shininess Strength - The Shininess Strength spinner affects the intensity of the shininess on the AfterBurn Combustion effect.


Shininess - The Shininess spinner affects the size of the specular area of the highlight.




The Reflections group of controls is where you define how whether or not the AfterBurn Combustion effect will reflect objects in your scene.


Note: The AfterBurn Combustion effect does NOT support reflections of the background environment.


Use- When enabled, other objects in the scene become visible in reflections.


Strength - This spinner controls the overall reflectivity within the AfterBurn Combustion volumetrics (in a similar way as native 3ds Max reflective maps and materials.) A value of 0.0 = no reflectivity while a value of 1.0 = full reflectivity.


Reflect MtlID - This checkbox tells the AfterBurn Combustion effect to render out the Material ID within it's reflections for use with other Video Post or Render Effects effects.




You can set three color properties for an AfterBurn Combustion effect using the color swatches under Colors. Click a color swatch to display the software's Color Selector.


Inner Color - Sets the color of the densest part of the effect. For a typical fire, this color represents the hottest part of the flame.


Outer Color - Sets the color of the sparsest part of the effect. For a typical fire, this color represents the cooler, dissipating edge of the flame.

The AfterBurn Combustion effect is colored using a gradient between the inner and outer colors. The dense areas of the effect use the inner color and gradually blend to the outer color near the edges of the effect.


Smoke Color - Sets the color of smoke for use with the Explosion option.


If you turn on Explosion and Smoke, the inner and outer colors animate to the smoke color. If you turn off Explosion or Smoke, the smoke color is ignored.


ID - The spinners beneath each of the color swatches represents a separate Material ID. You can set both the Inner and Outer Color swatches to have different Material IDs in situations where you want to apply another Video Post or Render Effect to it such as a Glow.


Flame Type - You control the shape, scale, and pattern of flames within the AfterBurn Combustion effect using controls under Shape. Two options set the direction and general shape of flames.

  • Tendril - Creates directional pointed flames with veins along their center. The flames orient along the local Z-axis of the fire apparatus. Tendril creates campfire-like flames.
  • Fireball - Creates round puffy flames. Fireballs are well suited for explosions.


Stretch - Scales flames along the Z-axis of the apparatus. Stretch works best with Tendril flames, but you can use it to give Fireballs an oval shape. Values less than 1.0 compress flames, making them shorter and thicker. Values greater than 1.0 stretch flames, making them long and skinny.


You can also combine Stretch with non-uniform scaling of the apparatus. Use non-uniform scale to change the boundary of the effect and scale the shape of the flames.


Use the Stretch parameter to scale only the flames inside the apparatus. You can also use Stretch values to reverse the effect that scaling the apparatus had on the flames


Flame Size - Sets the size of individual flames inside the apparatus. The size of the apparatus affects the flame size. A larger apparatus requires a larger flame size. Use a range from 15.0 to 30.0 for the best results. Large values work best for Fireballs. Small values work best for Tendrils.


If the AfterBurn Combustion flame size is very small, you might need to increase Samples to see individual flames.


Noise Levels - This spinner controls the amount of color change and edge sharpness seen within each flame. Range=0.0 to 10.0. Low values produce smooth, fuzzy flames and render faster. High values produce patterned, sharp flames but render slower.


Use higher Noise Levels for large flame sizes. If the Noise Levels value is greater than 4, you might need to increase the Step Size spinner (above in the Globals group of controls) to capture the detail.



Noise Animation

This group of controls defines how the noise patterns within the AfterBurn Combustion effect animate over time.


Phase - Controls the rate of change for the AfterBurn Combustion effect. The phase spinner should be animated over time to create a good effect.


Phase value can have several meanings, depending on the state of the Explosion check box.


If you clear the Explosion checkbox, Phase simply controls the churning of the fire. The faster the value changes, the more furiously the fire burns. If the Phase function curve is a line, you get a steadily burning AfterBurn Combustion effect.


If you turn on the Explosion checkbox, Phase controls the churning of the fire and the explosion timing, using values between 0.0 to 300.0. The Phase function curve for a typical explosion starts steep and flattens out.


Phase values control explosion timing in the following way:

0-100 Explosion begins and builds to peak density at 100.

100-200 Explosion burns. Effect turns to smoke if Smoke is turned on.

200-300 Explosion clears and is completely gone at 300.

> 300 No effect.


Drift - Sets how flames are rendered along the Z-axis of the fire apparatus. The value is the amount of rise in units. Low values give a slow-burning cool fire. High values give a fast-burning hot fire. For the best AfterBurn Combustion effects, drift should be a multiple of the height of the fire apparatus. You can also animate the location and size of the fire apparatus and most of the fire parameters. For example, an AfterBurn Combustion effect can animate color, size, and density.




Use the parameters in the Explosion group to automatically animate explosions.


Explosion - This checkbox, when enabled animates the size, density, and color automatically based on the animation of the Phase value.


Smoke - This checkbox controls whether or not the explosion creates smoke.


When on, fire colors change to smoke between Phase values 100 to 200. Smoke clears between Phase values 200 to 300. When off, fire colors remain at full density between Phase values 100 to 200. Fire fades away between Phase values 200 to 300.


Fury - This spinner varies the churning effect of the Phase parameter. Values greater than 1.0 cause faster churning. Values less than 1.0 cause slower churning.


Set Up Explosion - Clicking on this button displays the Set Up Explosion Phase Curve dialog. You enter a Start time and End time, and then click OK. The Phase value animates automatically for a typical explosion effect between the values you set.