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Jets and Muzzle Flashes: Playing with Fire in Carrara 6

Author: WarMachineX0

Tools Needed

  • Carrara 6 Pro
  • Carrara 6
  • Carrara 3D express

Step 1 - Setting up the scene

Load your figures, and set up the scene. This is the easy part of this tutorial. I have used a figure with a big gun and a jetpack to cover both.


Now, when you set up your scene, wait for the lighting, as we’ll be going over the lighting from the muzzle flash and jets.


Step 2 - FIRE

Now, we need to make fire. Click on the fire tab at the top bar.


Select the “Fire” icon and the mouse icon will turn to a “+” when over the viewing window. Click in the view window, next to the figure we plan to add the effects to. You will get a large lined box with nothing in it. Don’t worry, your doing it right. Now, go to your properties window and you will see the options for your fire. Deselect “Cast shadows” and “Receives Shadow”, do this everytime a Fire is placed or pasted. Fire doesn’t receive or cast shadows, but don’t worry, we will be setting up simple lights to cast the shadows from the light of the flame. Now select the “universal manipulator” from the bar, and scale the fire to a workable size for you. We will be using the same Fire for all the flames.


Here is a quick test render of the Fire next to our figure.


Step 3 - Setting up a jet flame

Now, move the Fire close to where your jet is. Remember what side is up, and what side is down. This is important, or else you may set it up upside down. Now scale and rotate the Fire to the jet on the figure. Using the “universal manipulator” is the easiest way to do this.


Now in the properties window you will see options for the Fire. If your jet is round, change the “container” to “cylinder”. The jet I am using is square, so I’ll leave it be for now. Change the colors to fit your scene, for instance, blue flame for a spaceship using some new sci-fi fuel, or similar to the default flame for an oxygen and fuel based burn.


Now, after you find the settings you would like to use for your jet, drop down the “Edit” tab at the top, and “Copy” and “Paste” the fire. Move the new fire to the next jet, and repeat this process until you have all your jets are lit up. Here is a quick test render.


Step 4 - Muzzle flash

Now, we are moving on to the barrel of the gun. For the ease of writing this, I’m going to just “Paste” a copy of the last Fire used. If you have just come here for the muzzle flash, please read FIRE! For setting up the Fire for the muzzle flash. Now, make the flame a thin tube, and align it with the barrel of the gun. Once you have it lined up, thin it once more to the size of the barrel. The length of the Fire will be determined by how high powered the gun it, this become a personal setting, checked though trial and test renders.


Now, on to your settings. I will list the important settings for muzzle flash and what I have it set at for my test renders.

  • Setting………….Render
  • Container: Cylinder
  • Tip: Brown
  • Base: White
  • Quantity: 0.040
  • Pointiness: Maxxed
  • Outward Speed: Maxxed
  • The rest are at default.

Play around with them until you find what you really like and looks good. Here is the test render. Finally, adjust as needed.


Step 5 - Flash Suppressor

Now, for your machine guns and military grade rifles you have flash suppressors. The flash suppressor is the vents at the end of a gun barrel, and when a gun fires, flame juts from these vents. I will now discuss setting these flames up. First, count how many vents in the gun’s flash suppressor. In my figure I have six. Now select the muzzle flash, drop down the “Edit” tab at the top, and “Copy” and “Paste”. With the new fire, move it in position of the first vent. Reduce in size to about 25% of the muzzle flash. You may need to zoom in, as these can be small.


Once you have flames coming from all the vents, go in and adjust the properties for each one to make them slightly different from the others. It is fine to leave the colors the same as the muzzle flash. Here is a quick test render.


Step 6 - Light

Now, its time to set up simple lighting for these flames. Now go to your light button on the top bar. We are going to be using bulbs. Now, a thing to remember, muzzle flashes are extremely bright at night and dim in day light, so take this into consideration on your light settings. Now place the bulb directly in front of the muzzle flash, drop the light level to that of the muzzle flash Fire box, and then set the colors to the visual rendered color of you muzzle flash. Now slide the light intensity some where high if the ambient light is dark, and around 100 to 200 if it is in day light.


Test render, then advance the setting to a proper level, and tweak the lighting as needed. Here is a test render with lighting intensity at 350.


The same method works for the jets. And if the fire is pointed down or up, drop the light level to the middle of the Fire. Test render, adjust and tweak as needed. Set up your finished lighting, then final render. The light intedsity should be between 100 and 250 for the jets, but adjust as needed for the sceen.

Step 7 - Finale

Here is the final set up, and final render.



A couple of examples of what cane be done with this method. The first has two different types of jets. This was done by changing color and quantity.


In this one, the muzzle flash has been replaced with a laser and laser flash. Made the same way as a muzzle flash, but the color has been changed, quantity set to 0. Two of these have been over lapped, one short and wide, the other long and narrow to create the image of a laser and laser flash.


A few things to remember:

  • Before final render, check and make sure all Fires have “Cast shadows” and “Receives Shadow “ deselected.
  • Save often, you don’t want to have to start over again.

Tests render settings used:

  • Fast preset with these selected
  • Shadows
  • Transparency
  • Light though Transparency