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How to simulate smoke with pre-roll in Blender

Category : Animation, Tips and Tricks · (6) 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

[Blender Cycles] 8 Indispensable cycles node configurations

With this article i’d like to cover some interesting and indispensable node configurations made for cycles.
Here you can find topic like realistic foliage/leafs, dupliverts random materials, realistic rusty configurations, vertex color configurations, fake glass and and many others ready to use node configurations for cycles.

BAT – Blender Architectural Tips #3: IES fake lights with cycles

Category : BAT, Cycles, Render Engine, Tips and Tricks · No Comments · by Jun 18th, 2012

Some time ago, i’ve found into a “BlenderArtists” post, a wonderfull video that shows an architectural animation rendered entirely with cycles in Blender from the user turqueque. I’ve asked for explanation of the beautiful looking IES architectural lights (visible at ~ 1:22) and of how to manage this effect into cycles renderer.

Here it is the animation:

For better comprehension of what IES Lights are, follow the link to CGArena:


The user answered my question with a clear and well explained video that’s teach you how to obtain a fake IES light effect with Blender Cycles

[How-To] Lens flare in Blender compositor through IndexOB

Category : Compositing, Tips and Tricks · (1) Comment · by Jun 7th, 2012

Hi all!
With this short tutorial I’ll show you how to enlight your scene projectors, flashes, leds, lamps, lights and all those objects that are supposed to emit light thought lenses.

An example: the image below is produced with this technique.


Here there is an object for the projector and a second object for the lens, that is composited to re-create the flare and added to the final image.

In this test i’ve used the render engine cycles, but it works equally with blender internal. Let’s see how to obtain this effect in your scene!

BAT – Blender Architectural Tips #2: DXF-importer

Category : BAT, Tips and Tricks · No Comments · by May 25th, 2012

The great challenge for architectural modelers, is to import and manage cad files into Blender with ease. To achieve this result one addon come to our rescue.

BAT – Blender Architectural Tips #1: Camera

Category : BAT, Tips and Tricks · No Comments · by May 9th, 2012

Today I’ve decided to make a sequence of random “tips and tricks” posts for architectural modeling and rendering using Blender, and this is the first one!

What characteristics share the architectural images in the post collage?
A little hint: they are ARCHITECTURAL images…