This thread appears to come up fairly often after completing a fairly lengthy search of the forums but pretty much all of the results were never finally discussed so I'm hoping to get some solutions.
I'm about to start working on a project that requires thruster exhaust effects from a missile (that being both the ejection exhaust and smoke plume). Some users have suggested I look at RealFlow but not sure if this is really necessary. Dynamics are certainly not a strong point of mine so I envisage a lot of initial work to get the desired affect but really need a good solid grounding in the right direction to start with. I'm looking for any training material that could assist us in developing this shot. The camera is intended to be rather close at ignition so we are looking for a detailed solution.
My client is wanting something as close to photoreal as possible. It will eventually be composited onto a live plate. We do have a budget for some training material if required so if anyone has any suggestions it would be greatly appreciated. In addition to any comments on if RF4 could be of advantage.
The fast-moving flame is certainly possible using Maya's basic particles. As dynamic simulations go, this one's not at all tough: a few emitters, a particle object or two, and you're off to the races.
The detailed and photoreal exhaust plume (the billowing smoke) may or may not be possible with Maya Fluids--I don't have enough experience to gauge. Particles won't produce a photoreal effect if the camera is close to them--they'd be fine for a long shot.