Hector Bermudez walks us through the process of creating rising smoke using Maya’s nParticle systems rather than using Maya Fluids.

In this tutorial i’ll explain how to get a smoke effect without using fluids just nParticles from Maya with some images mapped to sprites with some easy steps

Hector uses sprites and expressions to create the smoke effect with a standard nParticle Volume Emitter which represents a really quick way to develop effects like this without the large overhead of using process intensive fluids; However it may be more difficult to achieve the level of realism needed for up close and detailed effects.

Using multiple animated sprite elements and varying the animation with expressions helps quite a bit, and typically I will use sprite / particle generated smoke or fire effects for augmenting other effects on the screen or for background elements in which the render times vs. result cannot be beat.