Animate Fire inside object without rendering the whole scene

I have looked online and found how you can create fire and mask on a video but is there a better way to do this in an object that is stationary like inside a torch? I have created an altar and want fire inside but don’t want to animate the whole scene or the altar. I would not say I am a newbie but am still learning. I have never worked with masking on a stationary object.
Any suggestions as to the best way to do this? Or if you know of any tutorials as I could not find anything for stationary objects.

Moved from “General Forums > Blender and CG Discussions” to “Support > Compositing and Post Processing” (I could move it to Particles and Physics Simulation instead if you feel that’s more appropriate)

im not sure what you mean? is the alter in 3d like the fire? you should just be able to put the fire in the scene without animating anything

Yes I should have explained myself better. I have created an altar and want to have the fire animated inside of it. I don’t want to animate the altar just the fire. What I can compare it to is those torches that are cup or bowl shaped with a fire inside that you see in so many games. The torch is stationary and the flame is animated. I was wondering if there is a way to do this without masking? For that matter I still need to learn about masking.

I’m assuming by ‘animate the rest’ you mean re-rendering the entire scene every single frame.

In that case, I’d say a clever compositing trick is in order. First, you need to utilize render-layers. Place the fire domain on its own layer. In the render-layers tab, create a new layer. Select every layer EXCEPT the fire layer under the ‘layers’ option, then uncheck the first render-layer.
Render the entire scene, save it in a file, re-activate the original render-layer, and delete the second one.

Next, under the render-layer tab, ONLY select the fire layer.
Make the film transparent (You can find the option under Render > Film > Transparent).

Compositing time!
Under the compositor, add the rendered background as an image input.
Use the Alpha Over node to mix the render output and the background, with the render output on the BOTTOM.

Render a test image to see if it works, then go for the whole animation!

Hope this helps!
(Sorry for the lack of images)