What started out as a crowed sourced research project in finding out how to create a NURBS curve based on on a steady string of particles, later became the SmokeStrings Generator, which will allow you to recreate a smoke trail effect as an animated mesh ribbon.

a ribbon of smoke which can be used to create the popular “Light Trail” effect, a convincing cigarette smoke, or many other weird types of effects

Its author, Brent Forrest had been trying to come up with an effective generator for cigarette smoke, not sold 100% on particle sprite based emissions or fluid simulations as they didn’t really achieve the ribbon like effect that you get with cigarette smoke.

SmokeStrings will provide a SmokeStrings locator in the scene, which handles the emission and dynamic properties of the smoke, a control particle that can deal with collisions or extra field properties, and drag, which is a volume exclusion field that is attached to the SmokeStrings object.

The SmokeStrings in the scene actually emits two discrete streams of particles that are connected with a lattice of springs, one that controls the neiboring particle distance and the other that controls the width between the two streams. Then a soft body can be generated between the two streams of particles, resulting in a ribbon which can take on the dynamic properties of wispy smoke.

One slight caveat is that SmokeStrings 4 is set to a frame rate of 24 fps by default – this however can be changed by manually setting the “Control Emitter” Rate to whatever your current frame rate is.

Check out the SmokeStrings Dynamic Smoke Generator for Maya here.

SmokeStrings 4 features:

  • Generate a dynamic “ribbon” like realisitc cigarette smoke
  • Create funky and weird dynamic simulations, go wild and I’m sure you’ll discover more possibilities than I did
  • Create a 3d “Light trail”
  • Offer consolidated dynamics controls through the main locator
  • Outputs poly mesh
  • Attach to any object as a smoke generator
  • Have as many emitters in a scene as you need
  • Interact with any collision objects or fields you wish to include
  • Generate ribbon at any size and thickness.
  • Runs REALTIME (No scripts – all nodes!)
  • Accept any mesh operators
  • User Friendly! Just hit play and you’ve got Smoke Strings!
  • Documentaion included