This cool effect makes the text appear to have been super-frozen in dry ice, and oozing eery vapours.
Step by step
This tutorial uses a web UI rather than Youtube videos. Use the tabs below to navigate the steps of the tutorial.
- Step 1: Do the setup steps
- Step 2: Copy the text
- Step 3: Prepare it for smoke!
- Step 4: A space for smoke
- Step 5: It's a smoke domain
- Step 6: Make the platform
- Up next...
Set your text!
Before you get to the details of the falling vapour effect you need to spend a few minutes completing these common set-up steps.
You need two versions of the text!
But to create the effect the text has to be invisible!
Clearly this will cause us problems when we want to see smoke oozing down the side of the words.
The answer is to create a duplicate text object. One, we’ll give color. The other, we’ll make smokey. Combined together, we’ll get the desired effect.
So, with the text object selected, press shift-d, or choose Duplicate Objects from the Object menu, as shown in the first image. Press Esc to accept the current position of the new object. Blender will place it in the exact same location as the original object.
It would be sensible to rename this new object with a name that hints at its purpose. In the Outliner pane, rename the new object “Text – smoking”.
When text is not text…
You’ve now converted an object made up of text characters to another type of object called a mesh – it looks the same but you can’t edit it as you would normal text any more. This object is ideal for emitting smoke – almost!
Add a modifier
Look at the properties panel on the right. Select the spanner (wrench tool) tab, which is where we choose our modifiers.
The modifier we want is called Remesh.
Choose it now and then set the values as shown in the final image. These values will tell Blender that the text-mesh should be made up of an evenly distributed mesh.
Adding a smoke domain
In a Blender scene, there’s a lot of empty space and if smoke was created in that “world”, Blender would need to compute the physical properties of the smoke in relation to all the volume in its world.
This would take such a lot of computing power!
To manage this better we must add some boundaries, to help Blender limits its smoke-calculating workload just to a limited area.
These boundaries are called a Smoke Domain. Let’s begin!
With your cursor in the scene’s centre (Setting up – common steps, Step 3), add a cube (shift-a, mesh, cube).
Now, because we don’t really want to see this cube in our final animation (it’s job is to define the smoke domain), we need to set its maximum draw type to wireframe.
The second image shows where you set that.
You should now be able to see the text and the plane again.
Next set the size and the position of the cube object, so that it is bigger than the plan and the text. The smoke will fall from the top towards the bottom so you should allow most of the smoke domain to be positioned below the plane, with only a small area above the text.
Use the numeric keypad if you have one, to change the way you view the scene.
Press numpad 1,3 or 7 to switch between Front, Side and Top views of the scene
Press numpad 5 to remove the scene’s perspective (and again to restore it)
Use the red, green and blue arrowheads to adjust the position of the smoke domain cube.
These keypad tricks can help you get the positioning of objects just as you want them.
The cube is just a cube, until…
When you set up a cube to be a smoke domain, Blender doesn’t know what you have in mind. The cube is only a cube, and so you need to tell Blender that the cube is there to act as the boundary to the smoke effect.
Find the Physics tab (see first image) and once it’s selected, click the Smoke button, and then click the Domain button.
That’s almost it! You just told Blender that this is a smoke domain!
Something to ooze around
Let’s add one. Remember to ensure the cursor is centred on the scene (Setting up – common steps, Step 3).
Press shift-a and select Plane. Grab the red directional arrow and drag the plane so it’s centred under the text.
With the plane selected, press tab to enter Edit Mode, and then press the e key. This is the shortcut for extrude, which basicall stretches objects out.
Try moving your mouse downwards slightly- do you see the plane getting thicker?
When it’s thick enough, click once with your mouse to set the extrusion size.
Now, press tab again to return to Object Mode.
It’s a bit strange when you first hear it, but objects don’t have colour. In the real world, it seems that they do but in Blender, it’s materials that have colour. In order for an object to have a colour it must be assigned a material, and that material must be assigned a colour.
First, let’s make a small but important change.
With the plane still selected, you can give it a colour now. Go to the plane’s Materials tab.
Click New to create the new material. Then click Use Nodes – this will give you still further options.
You won’t be able to see any smoke effect yet – there’s still more to do.
Next up, you’ll create the smoke, and play around with forces like gravity, temperature and more!