Learn How to Setup Realistic Fire & Smoke Simulations in 3Ds Max

Phoenix FD Fire & Smoke 3D Simulation Course by RedefineFX

Whether it’s revealing a product with smoke, burning rubber on a Mustang, or setting an airplane engine on fire, it’s all covered inside this course. Just a few lessons in, you’ll feel comfortable in setting up a variety of fire effects, and your mind will be full of ideas for cool shots you can now create with these new skills.

Short, precise, and most importantly inspiring. Jesse’s tutorials helped me understand how to setup simulations in an organized way but also how to bring my work to the next level.

– Andreas Mass, VFX Artist

 By Taking This Course You Will:

  • Gain complete understanding of every Phoenix FD fire & smoke simulation parameter
  • Learn from a Phoenix FD Certified Trainer
  • Master the software used on shows such as Game of Thrones
  • Understand the difference between temperature-based and fuel-based burning
  • Emit smoke from your tyFlow Destruction Setups
  • Control the look, movement, and scale through massive vorticity and other settings
  • Setup variety of effects from small scale to mid-scale to massive
  • Use particles to drive smoke and fire emission
  • Combine liquid and fire simulations together for unique visuals (pouring gasoline on fire)
  • Create a realistic fire shader using the Volumetric Rendering Settings
  • Use the Voxel Tuner to only emit smoke based on certain conditions
  • Use helpers such as Wind, Plain force, Turbulence, Body Force, Vortex force and others to influence the simulation
  • Use textures for gradual burning effects
  • Use the  Vray Distance Texture to emit smoke based on proximity to other objects
  • Use Vertex Paint for selective burning effects
  • Learn through 40 exciting project-based lessons

Learn a Variety of Techniques & Effects

20+ Project Files Included

COURSE CURRICULUM (Equivalent to 40 High-Quality Tutorials)

Phoenix FD Fire FX Course by RedefineFX

Hello & Introduction to The Fire Course

Introduction to Phoenix FD for Absolute Beginners

How to Use the (Actually Really Good) Presets

Fire Source Settings / Outgoing Velocity / Smoke / Temperature / Motion Velocity

Dynamics Settings / Time Scale / Cooling / Buoyancy / Dissipation / Vorticity / Conservation / SPF

Dry Ice / Statue Heavy Smoke / Plain Force / Walking Character Emitting Smoke

Multicolor Smoke Path Follow / RGB Mixing

Morphing Objects Out of Smoke / Body Force and Turbulence Helpers

Large Smoke Shockwave / Particle Flow Emission / Motion Velocity

Powder Color Explosion

Nuclear Shockwave


Starship Smoke Wave

Cigarette Smoke

Drift Burnout

Tank Firing + Ground Dust Shockwave

Realistic Small Scale Fire – Skull on Fire Ghost Rider Style

Selective Burning


Rendering Optimization for Explosions and Smoke

Compositing Fire and Smoke

Wavelet Turbulence

Advanced RGB Dirt Explosion using Particles

Fire Tornado

Fire Shockwave

Missile Trail

Large Scale Volcano Smoke


Car Burning

Liquid on Fire

Osprey Engine Fire

tyFlow Destruction Building Collapse + Phoenix Smoke

Color by Speed

Frozen Smoke

Smoke Color based on Image

Render Smoke as Mesh (Underwater Oxygen FX)

Voxel Tuner / e.g. Increase Temperature if a Condition is Met

Retiming / Slow Down Your Sims for Bullet-time Effects

Distance Texture / Burn Objects Based on Proximity to Other Objects

Wetmap / Burn Objects Based on Where Liquid Touches Them

Animated Procedural Burning Path

Thank You & What’s Next?

CV-22 Osprey High-Poly 3D Model Included

I modeled this myself a few years ago as a passion project and to get better at modeling at the time. It’s a very nice model that I’ve used in tons of projects. I’m giving it away with this course. These sell on Turbosquid for $80+

Your Instructor

Jesse Pitela is a Certified Phoenix FD Instructor, a Los Angeles-based CGI studio owner & award-winning VFX artist. His work has been showcased by every major computer-graphics website in the world, including CGSociety and Autodesk. He has extensive experience working with established VFX studios such as Resistance VFX, Chariotdrive & Riotmaker & his studio has created visuals for global clientele including Cristiano Ronaldo’s ROC, Western Digital, Shutterstock, and many others.

Jesse is our Phoenix FD hero.

Chaos GroupCreators of V-Ray & Phoenix FD

Bonus Lessons

1: Wetmap Burning

With this technique, you can spray burning gasoline onto your objects and set them on fire based on where the liquid hits.

2: Smoke Emission Based on Distance

Emit smoke based on how far an object is from another object (for example helicopter above ground etc.)

3: Gradual Path Burning

A much requested tutorial, this quick tip will teach you how to make a fire spread down a pre-defined path.

4: Displace Frozen Smoke

Popularized on Instagram, start your simulation with smoke already present & ready for an object to go through it

5: Mesh Smoke as Geometry

This is perfect for underwater bubbles and lots of very cool abstract effects. It turns voxel sims into actual geometry.

6: Smoke Color based on Image

Emit smoke from a textured object and have it inherit the colors. Infinite possibilities.

What Students Say

RedefineFX's tutorials are amazingly useful, from both technical and artistic point of view

Hammer ChenV-Ray & Phoenix FD Technical Expert, Chaos Group

There are people out there making thousands of dollars doing this stuff, what if you were one of them?

The visual effects industry is expanding at an exponential rate. The old days of a few big studios offering all the jobs are long gone. Hundreds of new opportunities come up every day of smaller studios, agencies, filmmakers, production houses and streaming giants like Netflix looking for armies of VFX artist to do an unthinkable amount of shots for all of their shows, commercials, promos, trailers and on and on. It’s hard to see just how much opportunity there is for people with skills until you become one of them and you’re too booked to take on every opportunity that comes your way. I know this because I’ve been there, and I want the same results for you.


40 in-depth visual effects lessons

20+ Project files included

Learn from a Phoenix FD Certified Trainer

Lifetime Access


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Got questions?

When does the course start and finish?

This is a completely self-paced online course. I’ve made the lessons bite-sized so you can make progress every day without feeling overwhelmed.

How long do I have access to the course?

How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like – across any and all devices you own.

I haven't upgraded to Phoenix FD 4 yet, can I still follow?

Great question. The answer is YES, this entire course is backwards compatible all the way to Phoenix FD 3.0 – just be aware that older versions might produce slightly different looking results.

Do I need a high-end PC to make these effects?

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a high-end PC to run FX simulations. A standard quad core machine with at least 16GB ram will be sufficient.

Are the project files included?

Yes. All of the project files are included so you can just open the file and look at my settings if at any point you’re stuck. Or you can just straight up use them for commercial work. All good with me.

Are the 3D models included?

The Osprey model is included (because I modeled it myself), but I’m not allowed to resell the other 3D models, so the project files will contain a dummy object that you need to replace with your own model.

I use Maya, can I still follow?

Phoenix FD is available for both Maya and 3Ds Max. While this course is entirely 3Ds Max based, the general techniques and settings remain the same for both versions, and you can still follow in Maya.

What software do I need?

3Ds Max (free trial available), Phoenix FD (free trial available) and Vray (free trial available)

I'm completely new to all this, can I still follow?

YES! This course is made with absolute beginners in mind. The introductory lessons will get you up to speed fast so you can follow along with the project-based lessons further in.

Do I get a Certificate?

Yes! Upon completion of all lessons, you will automatically receive a unique Certificate of Completion.

Can I watch this on my phone?

Yes. Just download the Teachable app.