Fire Explosive Special Effects

Just a quick animation using the smoke simulator. I had to add some special particle motions to bring the effect to life, especially since smoke and fire effects are becoming common knowledge. The simulation and rendering took just over 2 hours.

That’s pretty sweet simulation, dude.

Very high quality simulation, stormswirl! Do you have any plans to create a tutorial(s) describing how you achieved such a layered, energetic looking effect? This is much better than what I normally see!

Thanks much.

Thanks much. In the past 15 months, I uploaded some 500 Blender tutorials for new/intermediate users, but it hasn’t really paid off, ad revenue-wise. So, I’m considering starting a membership program on my SciFiAnimator web site where I would upload my next generation of intermediate tutorials like this, as well as more advanced programming/math tutorials.

I’ll make a decision by the end of the year based as to whether I’ll continue making Blender tutorials as most artists aren’t really interested in more technical tutorials. I might make just start making small animation productions instead; I’d likely get a lot more views and wouldn’t have to eat Top Ramen all winter!

I’ve been watching, you’ve been very busy! With over 4,000 subscribers, you’ve certainly done well to gain an audience (I’m actually one of them). I know how much work is required to grow on YouTube, and your consistency is very good. At the rate you’ve been going, I would have burned out by now!

I have some ideas that may help; they are only suggestions, obviously you should do what you think is appropriate to grow your channel, and of course make enough money to support yourself.

I’ll admit, you post so many new videos onto your channel, that I only watch a few each month. It’s not that they’re not good tutorials (in fact, they’re generally very concise, to the point, and easy to follow); it’s just the fact that there are so many of them, it’s difficult to keep up. I would suggest reducing the number of uploads, perhaps even to just one or two per week.

In shifting your channel from high-quantity to high-quality, you may find videos receive more views ( I believe videos have to reach at least 5,000 - 6,000 views before you can receive money from Adsense, but don’t quote me on that). My suggestions for how to achieve higher quality are: create custom thumbnails for your videos. If you have a tutorial that stretches out over 5 or 6 videos, they can all use the same thumbnail background, and just vary the text (this can be as simple as Part 1, Part 2, etc). Thumbnails help a lot with getting views.

Here is a relatively new channel that I’m subscribed to: http://www.youtube.com/user/IndependentVFX/videos
The author only has two subjects he has done tutorials on so far, but he’s spread out his information over 13 different types of videos. He’s also using very simple but effective thumbnails, often featuring the finished result. This brings me to my next suggestion, which you touched on in your last post:

I agree that having some kind of finished animation to go along with the tutorial is a good idea. In fact, I would argue that it is extremely important, at least as important as the tutorial itself, with regard to gaining views and a larger audience. It should be its own video (not just something you play in the tutorial video before you explain how to do it). It serves as entertainment for the people who will watch it, but have no idea how to recreate it, nor any interest in learning. If you watch Phymec’s videos, you will see in the comments that many of his viewers are just average people who have probably never even used Blender. Yet his videos consistently receive tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of views. He has one video on his channel with over 5 million views!

He seems to have died down a bit lately, but even when he was uploading more frequently, it was only maybe one new video a month. Yet many Blender users know the name Phymec. His account currently has 8,851 subscribers, despite this “low” rate. Ask yourself, do you want to upload 1 or 2 videos every day, or maybe 1 to 2 videos a week (or even less!) for the same or perhaps even more subscribers? Think of other Blender tutors who are well known. Andrew Price doesn’t upload new tutorials nearly as often as you do, yet he has a very strong following. His tutorials are very well designed and constructed, and the end product is displayed as well (be it a single image, or an animation).

So that is my suggestion for you. You have so much energy, and a clear dedication to creating quality content for people. I think shifting your energies into the highest quality tutorials you can create, and creating accompanying animations/still renders for them, will boost your channel immensely. You can of course always create an additional source of income through a membership program as well, but I feel that would be better suited for you once you have a stronger following. Well established sites as Blender Cookie, and Andrew Price’s Academy courses are incredibly well known among the Blender community, and even they probably see a huge different in the number of people who want free content versus those willing to pay even $10 for something.

Create the highest quality animations you can. Go for a cinematic look; go for a video game look; whatever inspires you, whatever you think is cool. Always push to make your animations better. People will always gain respect for you if you put everything you can into your work. If your tutorial is more suited to a still image than a whole animation, then post the final image in the Finished Projects sub-forum, and the tutorial itself in another sub-forum. Link to the tutorial in the Finished Projects thread.

There, I think that is more than enough to type for now. I hope these ideas may be helpful to you, and I hope I didn’t repeat myself too much. I know how much work YouTube requires (if you are not a young girl with a low-cut blouse and an exhibitionist attitude!), and I still have much to learn myself about what works and what doesn’t.

Thanks kindly for all the great feedback, James.

I’ve spent so much time making basic tutorials that I’ve neglected making cinematic quality work in long time, so I’ll some spend time doing that. After all, I didn’t get into computer graphics for the purpose of making tutorials! I was just creating a series of tutorials that I wish that I had when I first started using Blender.

I have had some success with my tornado simulator as the artistic look within there seems to be appealing, and there are no texture maps in there as well. I’ll definitely put some extra time into that this year.

I launched the WordPress version of my SciFiAnimator web site this past weekend and posted an expensive tutorial for a 3D Time Machine Warrior, but i’ve subsequently suspended it and will put many of the introductory review lessons within that tutorial on YouTube starting this evening.

I’ll start focusing on intermediate (non-math/programming) and advanced (math/engineering/programming) tutorials as there are a lot of good Blender users out there already. This missing key was how to market them and you’ll soon them starting to show up on my web site in very low priced categories, as downloadable videos for now, without a membership requirement. I’ll make sure to send you a link to the fire explosive effects tutorial when I post it.

I’ll still post animation clips on YouTube and I agree that I need better thumbnails!

I like your approach for making small productions. I think with time you’ll end up making a viral video of some sort, because you and your network of friends all seem to like it! I think of a lot of it just has to do with lots of practice as you improve your writing and production skills with each video. Plus you seem to have technical skills on your side as well. That always helps.

I really do appreciate the feedback. Thanks again.

Mark