Cigarette Smoke in HitFilm

I'm going to be working on a short film in a week or so, and apparently there are several actors who will need to appear as though they are smoking cigarettes. They have props, so my job will focused on the smoke.

I found this tutorial, but have had some difficulty in replicating it in hitfilm, do you have any ideas?   


  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,069 Ambassador

    Are you in Pro or Express? 

  • Palacono
    Palacono Posts: 3,423 Enthusiast

    Lots of free cigarette smoke stock footage clips around. Wouldn't it be fairly easy to track the end of the cigarette and attach the stock footage to it?

  • possibly, but the smoke won't trail around in the air, it'll look like a stick of smoke wobbling on the end of a cigarette

  • Palacono
    Palacono Posts: 3,423 Enthusiast

    True, but are you planning on tracking the cigarette end first, then working out how much the smoke should move about during the shot, then recreating that in a particle system?  Could be a lot of work. You could film your own cigarette against a black background and wave it about a bit, but having it fade out  when it's being moved quickly might be enough to fool people.

  • chriguf
    chriguf Posts: 287 Enthusiast

    you see this tutorial without particular?

  • I missed that one, I'll give it a shot, thanks

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,069 Ambassador

    I haven't watched the tutorial chriguf posted yet, but that Particular tutorial is nearly impossible to translate because turbulence is Hitfilm is different than turbulence in Particular. Particular cheats Turbulence by using a fractal deformation of the sim while Hitfilm calculates dynamic velocity. You probably won't get the same rippling stream he has. 

    Otherwise, what are some specific questions you have. Particular/Hitfilm translation is mostly about understanding differences in the interfaces. 

  • Yes, that was the main thing I struggled to reproduce, I thought of playing with distortion maps, but they don't affect the motion of the particles, just the appearance.

    I did have some success using atomic particles, but it suffers from the same problems as stock footage.

    Does the free trial of Particular have and resolution limits? I may dip into after effects for a few shots.


  • Andy001z
    Andy001z Posts: 3,150 Ambassador

    Last year on the future learn course with Hitfilm they talked about smoke and faking it in studio them masking it into place and using blend and opacity to bring it into the comp.

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,069 Ambassador

    No idea on that one. I was saving the demo period of Particular for a tutorial on translating to Hitfilm, but Adobe decided to revoke my legit CS6 license, so... 

  • inScapeDigital
    inScapeDigital Posts: 709 Just Starting Out*

    There's a template on the Preset Marketplace (currently on page 2) that uses Atomic Particles to get nice-looking cigarette smoke. I haven't used it in a real setting so I'm not sure how easy it is to manipulate, but it could be an option.

  • Aladdin4d
    Aladdin4d Posts: 2,481 Enthusiast

    Try the Atomic Smoke preset @inScapeDigital talks about or stock footage and add different warp effects and keyframe until you get something you like. (Do a better job of keyframing than I did ;) ) This is Bezier, Spherical, and Vortex Displacement warps


  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,069 Ambassador

    I think I've figured this out! 

    Here's what you're gonna try... 

    Set up the particle emitter to emit your points. Just use the default dot for this. You'll get your wind going, and have your emitter following the tip of the smoke. Once you have your track locked and your lifetime properties set up for scale and opacity, add Atomic Particles to the layer for your displacement and continue. Basically using the particle sim to draw the line that Atomic can transform. 

    You'll need to use a control map to choke displacement in Atomic. For this, set up  a plane layer and add a gradient effect. Attach the start and end points to the same point the particle emitter uses. Offset the end point vertically a bit. Start color black, end color white. Move this plane to the bottom of the layer stack (under your video)  and put a Grade Layer right above this plane. The Grade Layer is the source for the Displacement Map in Atomic. 

    This tutorial shows setting up Displacement Maps for Atomic. But we're using the Grade Layer as a source rather than putting the gradient in an embedded comp. 

  • I'll definitely try these out, thanks guys!

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,069 Ambassador

    Forgot the tutorial link referenced above.