Non-particle Candle Flame Resource (animated Blend included)

In my latest animation, the two main characters are candles. Naturally I needed a very nice flame to go along with them. I tried particles, which looked okay when the candle was stationary, but as soon as the candle moved around too much, the particles trailed behind. In addition, the particles were slowing down Blender, slowing down the render, and sometimes Blender would crash when I rendered an image with the particles. So I scrapped them and went a different way. I made a candle flame out of a mesh. It looks better than the particles did, it is much easier to control than the particles, and it renders much faster than particles.

http://www.maj.com/gallery/LGM/threedimensions/meshcandleflame.jpg
An animation of the flame
The animated Blend file for the candle

The candle is controlled by a very simple two-bone armature. It’s all procedural textures. Feel free to use the candle as it is or changed to suit your needs. But please credit me if you use it unchanged. Thanks.

Enjoy,

LGM

Excellent. nothing more to say.

Alltaken

Superb work.

Could this technique be extended to make bigger flames like in a fireplace? I think that might make a nice screensaver.

You are using a Virtual Modifier ?
Could you detail a bit ?

On the Aurea.

– Rui –

That looks a lot better than the particle candle I’m using for Alchemy. I may have to switch :x.

Great work as always! I can’t wait to see the final short.

It looks like your flame is casting a shadow. If you could fix that and add another blueish ourter flame you would have a nice setup. Not bad though, just fix that shadow. Another nice touch would be to add a glowy orange ember to the top of the wick.

Good points, Marty_D. I hadn’t noticed the flame was casting a shadow. Thanks. As for the blue glow, there is a blue glow, but it’s mostly transparent. That can be tweaked to personal taste, and right now I like it the way it is. The blue glow isn’t always there in a candle. I’ve updated the picture and the link to the blend file. No more shadow, and the glow on the wick (there was one before) is more pronounced.

I don’t know. This whole idea was inspired by those fake fires in stores that are made up of orange tissue paper and have fan underneath blowing them. Originally the flame was a softbody and controlled by a wind modifier, which works, but an armature has much more control over it. I tried a fireplace type fire a while back as a softbody with a wind effect, but it didn’t work out that well. That’s not to say it can’t be done this way, but I haven’t needed it for anything, so I didn’t work very long at it. I’m sure someone could work it out.

I’m sorry. I supposed that posting the blend would replace an explanation. There is one mesh that gives the flame it’s shape and color and one mesh that gives the aura. The flame has two simple blend textures, one for the color, and one for the alpha. The aura is simply a cube that’s shaped the same as the flame with a halo material on it. Both are parented to an armature. Very very simple.

I was wondering as I posted this if you had a candle in Alchemy, and if you might “need” this. :stuck_out_tongue: (It’s so much easier to control than particles. You’ve no idea until you try it.)

I’ve been staring at real candles a long time, we have them at every dinner in our house. Candle flames actually start to look like thin domes of the finest tissue after a while and I’ve wondered if they could be modelled that way rather than generated with particles for some time. Now I’ve finally found a need for them. I was surprised at how easy it was to make, and how nice the result is.

Thanks for all your encouraging words!

LGM

It looks like your flame is casting a shadow.
just uncheck every button that starts with Sha… in material panel of flame - Shadbuf, Shadow and even Traceable if you need that.

look: no shadow on render.

Attachments


For color you are using ramps. There’s a way to add faked sss to the wax with a blend mapped to emit. Bottom of the candle is no emit top is all glowy and stuff. I can’t get that to work right now. Well, more or less. It works if the blend is mapped to color too. ?! I don’t know. Problem with your ramp is that the back of the candle is dark and the front is good. With a blend mapped to UV you can use Z coordinate for input. Probably if you use a bitmap blend you’d have better results than with a blend procedural. Trust me though, it really looks good and is very fast. You’ll probably have to turn the ramps off too to get everything to play.

I agree the blue isn’t so important and I can see your gradiated colors, very nice, but the orange ember would still seem to be a little understated. Yah though, very clever idea. And the gentle breeze is so calming. Nice.

Very impressive!

There is a slight animation quirk that doesn’t look right to my eye. At the VERY start, and then again more noticeably just past the midpoint of the animation, the flame does a little hula–it curves with the middle of the flame swinging side to side. Or in other words, the flame bends. I don’t think a real flame would do this–it would require a very curved airflow, which wouldn’t happen unless an object were very close to the flame. Slight drafts would shift the whole flame, but I don’t think bend it.

On the other hand the flame leaning over and length changes were excellent. I bet you could make a very realistic candle flicker by bouncing the length up and down through a few cycles.

That’s because the back of the candle isn’t lit. If you move the spotlight to the back of the candle then it will not be dark. Or if increased the power of the hemi that’s behind the candle, it won’t be dark. I actually did not spend any time at all on the wax, it was just there to support the flame. Interesting idea for faking SSS, I’m trying it out and it seems to be working for me, but you have to fiddle with a few of the settings. This is what I’ve got so far after five minutes:

http://www.maj.com/gallery/LGM/threedimensions/meshcandleflamesss.jpg

The only thing I don’t like about it is that with emit on, I can’t get any part of the candle completely in shadow (and not visible like the first picture).

I did that on purpose. So you can see the how much control over the flame I have. I’m just kidding. You’re right it is rather unnatural. A flame can bend though. If the wick is large and tall, the part of the flame right on the wick is more likely to stand up straight in small air currents than the top half of the flame. But, as you said, mine doesn’t do that. Mine does the hula.

That’s probably true. You can also fiddle with the halo values of the aura and the energy values of the lamp that represents the candle’s light. So much control! :smiley:

Thanks for your thoughts, I really appreciate them.

LGM

you can get nice faked sss if you use cloud texture and lower noise depth to 0. an proceed as already described.

Not bad. I’d guess those changes do great things for the animation. Visible light sources are tricky. You’ve done some good work there.

Hello LGM! First of all, I want to thank you for sharing this technique, it’s very useful. Easy to do and looking very good. Thank you very much.

I created a similar candle for a lantern model I’m working on now. But, there’s some glass in that lantern. And it appears that if a flame is put behind a glass then its halo disappears. If ray tracing is used.

I found out current Blender version does not support halos behind transparent objects with ray tracing. That’s pity, but I want to stick with Blender internal renderer, and your candle technique too. So, I’m probably not the only one who wants to put a candle behind a glass. Maybe you know some walk around to solve this? Maybe something else used for halo?

You can find the simple files I created specifically to ask the question about halo at the following thread: http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=112793 There’s couple of small screenshots there and a simple .blend file. I’ll appreciate any help. Thank you in advance.

I found out current Blender version does not support halos behind transparent objects with ray tracing. That’s pity, but I want to stick with Blender internal renderer, and your candle technique too. So, I’m probably not the only one who wants to put a candle behind a glass. Maybe you know some walk around to solve this? Maybe something else used for halo?

you could probaly do it using render layers and compo nodes.

i like your way of making a flame, simple is always batter:D

very nice…good idea

Thank you! Well, I have to figure out now how to do it. If you know a good tutorial or piece of documentation on that subject I’ll appreciate sharing a link.

Thank you! Well, I have to figure out now how to do it. If you know a good tutorial or piece of documentation on that subject I’ll appreciate sharing a link.

there are some tutorials here
http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Manual/Compositing_Node_Editor

also stuing the elephants dreem node’s is verry interesting.

i would divide the image up like this:

bacground(contains the bacground of your scene)

glass (contains only the glass)

flame (contains only the flame)

start with the background image, alpha over the flame onto the bacground, then alpha over the glass onto the result of the previous step. this will only work if there is nothing in front of the glass. if there is the glass and flame will always be in front of it. only way around that would be using more render layers and adding them ontop

Thank you very much for the link and explanations.