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How to simulate smoke with pre-roll in Blender

Category : Animation, Tips and Tricks · (11) Comments · by Jun 30th, 2015

The simulation preroll

In this small tutorial we will create a smoke simulation with pre-roll, that is a cache on the negative frames in order to run the simulation for a specified number of frames prior to the beginning of the actual animation. Because of that the smoke/fire will be already initiated when the animation starts.

  no_preroll with_preroll

I’ve found those questions online and decided to write a tutorial about it, so if you are interested about the original istructions you can find them here:

Simulation issues

Blender is a great tool but sometimes it will disappoint us, not because it lacks some functionality, but because for some features there is a functionIsThereButWorksOnlyAfterBlackMagicActivation feeling…

I’ve worked with simulations in the cloth, fluid and rigid body field and the ongoing revision of the physic system is a really great and challenging task for the Blender foundation (did you said tornado in project gooseberry?)
Well, my new kryptonite was is the smoke simulation and its parameters.

How to create a smoke simulation with pre-roll

In order to do a bake of the smoke domain with a pre-roll of 100 frames(that is sufficient for my purpose, change it for your own task) you have to follow those few simple steps:

  • Set the cache of smoke domain to “External” and starting from frame -100 (desired pre-roll) to frame x (your total simulation)
  • If the smoke is particle generated set the beginning of particles also to -100 or you won’t have anything to simulate
  • Start the bake all dynamics. At the end of this process be careful because you can’t touch the timeline or scroll through time. This because if you move the time blender will rewrite (and lose) that part of the cache.
  • Now from your file system navigate into the cache folder that should be beside your blend file and delete all your negative frames (from -99 to -1)
  • Into blender refresh the cache by choosing the cache folder from “File Path” in the cache settings. This process will update the frame range excluding negative frames (starting from 1)
  • Save and reopen the file to confirm the reload and finally enjoy your pre rolled simulation!


Let me know if you encounter any issue!

This guide is tested with Blender 2.71-2.74

[Not Blender] When the real goes beyond the virtual: a journey into DMCA

Category : Not Blender · (1) Comment · by Feb 20th, 2015

Everything started back in june 2014, the summer is ending (here in Italy), everyone is going back to work and a bunch of lab monkeys from the copyright infringement division of the FOX network decided to scan the whole web looking for illegal acts of redistribution and diffusion of their productions.

What happened?

Long story short, the FOX, through a direct request to Google asked the de-indexing of thousand of web pages, including my last article: Add all selected bones to a new Keying Set from the Google Search archives.

Check this link for the list of every removed content

DMCA BlenderProps

Look mom! My Blog! into a Copyright infringement! Yay!


My head boomed WTF when I’ve discovered it a few months later looking at a comment (thankyou!!!) into the incriminated article!

From a great power…

For those of you who have lived on a rock in the sea, inserted in turn in a closet, and closed with the key in the stomach of a sperm whale, the DMCA (digital millennium copyright act) is an U.S law that assure the right to remove everything from the Google search (and other web engines) by asking to Google itself via a formal copyright infringement request.

But why?

[This is obviously the best part]
My article is about “Add all selected bones to a new Keying Set”: a python script that allows to create automatically a keying set of the selected bones by pressing one button.
So the FOX network looked for removing everything illegal that involved their show “Bones” (!!!). This happened bypassing the authors of any page and without questioning themselves if the world should or not talk into blogs or website about an anatomic part that everyone has: The skeleton

And now?

After a few investigation I’ve discovered that is much more easier to remove a content (here it is a step by step form and a guided webpage) that to reintroduce it..

The steps to follow in order to restore a content are into the Google web search:
[If you know which webpages are involved you can skip to step number 5, in order to discover if there is any removed content that involves your website just continue with step 1]

  1. Subscribe to the Google webmaster tools
  2. Add and verify your website/blog
  3. Check if there is any message from Google (after half a year there was one waiting for me!) about your site


    In english is a “Notify of DMCA remotion from Google Web Search”

  4. Follow the instructions
  5. Or just go into the DMCA counter-notification form if your website was removed and you think it’s a mistake, or go into the Restore URLs changed after legal complaint if you have fixed/removed the illegal content
  6. Follow the instruction and submit a legal request, so be careful of every information provided

Wait Google for the rest

The lesson

Never talk about anything on the internet! even your body could generate a copyright infringement! just don’t do it!


[Python] Add all selected bones to a new Keying Set

Category : addons, Animation, Feature, python · (3) Comments · by May 25th, 2014

Hi everybody! This time I’d like to share with you all a script that I’ve made to help and boost the animation process in Blender 2.5 – 2.6 – 2.7


In order to animate a character or any armature, is easy and fast to use animation shortcuts combined with the character’s keying sets. A Keying Set in Blender is a bunch of properties aggregated with a common name that allows the user to create new keyframest of all that properties just by pressing the key I with the proper keying set selected.

[Video] Demo reel “Cineca cultural projects 2013″

Category : Cycles, Render Engine · No Comments · by Dec 20th, 2013

Hi guys,

I’ve made this demo reel to show 2013 cultural heritage projects of Cineca, the Italian interuniversity consortium where I work.

The modeling, rendering, compositing and montage was made with Blender 2.69 and cycles

Happy Holidays!


[BGE] Animated characters with the CookieFlexRig in Blender Game Engine

Category : BGE · No Comments · by Sep 15th, 2013

Selezione_034In this video tutorial I show how the Cg Cookie Flex Rig can be adapted to work flawlessy into the Blender Game Engine.

The Cg Cookie Rig can be found here and is released for free under Creative Commons Licences

[Review] Blender 2.6 Cycles:Materials and Textures Cookbook

Hi there!

I’ve got one of the first copy as a preview of this new book, the Blender 2.6 Cycles: Materials and Textures Cookbook, by Enrico Valenza ( It is brillian 3D Artist, illustrator and Art Director, and also known for being the Lead Artist in the Big Buck Bunny production and in other projects in which I was also involved.

Blender 2.6 Cycles:Materials and Textures Cookbook

Now It’s very hot here in Italy and we are preparing for summer holidays… so I’ll do only a short review to explain why this is a valid and valuable book and why every cycles beginner and also expert user should have it.