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lite cigarette effect

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Tyler Smith
lite cigarette effect
on Dec 30, 2011 at 7:54:05 am

So I shoot a scene in which a actor is smoking a cigarette now the cigarette is fake, I want to know how to make the fake cigarette look real by having fake smoke come from this fake cigarette. How can I archive this effect.

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Michael Szalapski
Re: lite cigarette effect
on Dec 30, 2011 at 4:02:00 pm

Try this {link]

Next time you have a question about a specific effect, try using that page I linked you to; it may help you get an answer more quickly. This page [link] explains more.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.

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Dave LaRonde
Re: lite cigarette effect
on Dec 30, 2011 at 4:16:58 pm

[Tyler Smith] "...I shoot a scene in which a actor is smoking a cigarette now the cigarette is fake..."

Sorry, but you went about the task backwards. You shot, then took it as an article of faith that you'd be able to pull off the effect. In short, you expected a miracle. Michael's links will certainly help, but you need to get the process straight.

To do such things successfully, you figure out how to do them BEFORE you shoot for real. You draw pictures of the effect you want (storyboarding). You identify trouble spots. You research how to overcome them. You shoot test video. You try your solutions.

It's been a while since I've invoked one of these babies.....

Dave's Stock Answer #2:

When you're out on a shoot, and you say, "we'll fix this in post" without knowing PRECISELY HOW you're going to fix it in post, don't shoot it! You'll only end up shooting it over again.

Since post typically costs three times the cost of production, fixing something in post is not a way to save money, but rather a way to spend more of it.

And, before you say "well fix it in post," always consider who's doing the work, especially if you're the one doing the work.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA

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craig whit
Re: lite cigarette effect
on Dec 31, 2011 at 4:16:22 am

Don't try to create cg smoke. Do you have any smoke footage, either from something like Compositors Toolkit or Action Essentials? If not, shoot cigarette smoke over black and comp that in. But for future shots, please follow Dave's advice.


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Andrew Somers
Re: lite cigarette effect
on Jan 16, 2012 at 8:57:15 pm

I want to know how to make the fake cigarette look real by having fake smoke come from this fake cigarette

You will also need to make the end "glow" as it burns, and get brighter when he inhales.

It is not terribly difficult to get realistic smoke, and the glowing end - but it is time consuming and potentially labor intensive.

In addition to After Effects, you will need a 3D tracking software like PFTrack, A good 3D particle system such as Trapcode Particular, and some images of smoke wisps against black to use as a sprite.


1) Do a 3D motion track of the shot (unless the camera is locked down for the duration).

2) As part of the above 3D track, do a motion capture track of the cigarette end.

3) Export the track, selecting the tracker of the cigarette end so it comes into AE as a null, and also select tracker points that define the position of objects that the smoke may need to move around.

4) Import the 3D comp into AE, and add your 2D footage at the bottom of the comp.

5) Create a new comp sized solid, and add Particular to it.

6) Write an expression that takes the position data from the NULL for the cigarette tip, and use it to drive the emitter of Particular.

7) Add a smoke image, and use it as a sprite in Particular - for more on using Particular, watch some of the tutorials at VideoCoPilot. In short, particular will use a sprite of real smoke and emit from the cigarette tip.

8) You can use a second instance of particular, with the same expression but different emitter parameters to create the "burning tip", animating the particles per second to vary the intensity during "inhales" etc.

Those are the basics. But you will need to get the software and climb the learning curve for 3D tracking and Particular to get the job done.

To ask, in a sarcastic way, did you guys just run out of matches or something?

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