Particle system on an engine glow for animation

I modeled a starship and I am attempting to give it an engine glow: I want it to look something like a blue fire coming out of the engine, starting bright and gradually trailing away. The attached image is what I’ve been able to get so-far, but it isn’t satisfying. I would like it to look a lot more fire-like, perhaps even fading into a smoke trail of sorts after a while, and I would like it to be shaped more like flame: starting out wide and becoming thinner gradually. I also rendered the attached image at frame 40, and I would like the glow to begin fully formed at frame 1, because I intend to use this ship in a small animation, as well as a larger one later on. Anyone have any advice on how to accomplish this?


The frame issue is easy enough: on the particles buttons, change the Start frame to a negative value, and the particles emission will start calculation BEFORE 0.

You can use a particle guide to narrow down the thrust. I think that should go a long way to what you want. More firelike - you might want to change it to a red/yellow colour then

Look for some of the fire tutorials or samples and see if there’s something you’re not doing.
You might want to thin out the stars as well. They look too regular, yet not regular enough, like a bad tile or something.

Thankyou. Yes, the stars were just in there to give me an idea of what I was doing, I’ll change that later. As for the particle guide, how would I manage that? I haven’t been using blender for very long, but I’m guessing I make an object somewhat similar to the shape I’d like the particles to follow, then set it to be a particle guide… something like that?

I’m modeling the jet exhaust from a single-engine fighter. My reference is the blue flame around red-orange flame in the center. I would also like to know about the particle guide. My first attempts have been okay, but the exhaust spreads out too much a few units after it exits the engine. Need your advice.

try controlling the spread of the particles with a lattice.

or model a solid “flame” and use an animated texture for the “flicker”

I haven’t been able to get lattices to work with animations for my engine flames for my own work, though. I had an engine nozzle turning, with a lattice parented to the nozzle. Every time I hit “recalc all” it would lock the effects of that lattice to that rotation. (So it would work when the nozzle was neutral, but not at 90 degrees. Then I would merely hit “recalc all” when the nozzle was at 90 degrees, then it would work in that position but not at rest position.)

Something that you can try is to have the particle emitter mesh be a very small face that sends out a stream of particles, so essentially the particles look like a thin, straight line. Then animate the size of the particles (Material halo size, I believe) along its lifetime so that it shrinks from very large (about the size of your nozzle) to very small. Maybe play around with alpha and add settings to look nice.

If you want, play around with a second particle emitter with smaller particles and a different hue to make the center of the flame a separate colour.
(I’ve seen flames from bunsen burners develop an almost greenish hue at its core at its hottest temperature. The second I saw it I thought “Okay, how the heck do you make that in blender with particles?”)

I was talking about the lattice parenting mentioned above - sorry for my unclear suggestion. I was probably thinking of particle paths, which is not the same thing.

I don’t think this would be a problem as this model doesn’t look like the nozzle rotates. BTW Alitorious - I’m not sure, but it sounds to me like the Animate button wasn’t on, if it would work in the last position you did RecalcAll.

That sounds like what I did last time. Its simpler, no doubt, than using a lattice, and since you’ll want to be using the IPO curves for the material anyway, using the halo size (I too am assuming you are using halos already, Crusader).
The cone idea is usually only acceptable-looking for most people for distanct objects (ie small, simple flame) and/or you’re really tight on memory or render-time.