Sunday, January 23, 2011

How to Create Fireworks in Blender 2.5 - Part 1

Hello, everyone!  Sorry it took so long for me to release this tutorial, as I was experiencing technical difficulties.  What technical difficulties you ask?  Well, notice how there's no video tutorial accompanying this text tutorial.  My video recording software isn't working, and until it does, or I can find a better one, you won't be seeing any new video tutorials on my site.  I'm sorry to disappoint some of you, and I'm sure that some time soon I'll get it up and running again.

With all of that aside for now, I've decided to release the text tutorial anyway so you could have something to follow on my site, even though it's not video.

Let's get started now so I don't bore you with some long introduction :P  This part will cover making the trail that the firework leaves behind as it's being shot into the air.

First, delete the default cube (X), and add an Icosphere (Shift A - Mesh - Icosphere).  Press Tab to go into Edit Mode, and press A to deselect everything.  Now press B and drag a box around all of the vertices except the bottom 5, as shown below.

Now delete those as well, and select everything else by pressing A again.  Now type S - Z - 0 to scale these vertices along the Z axis 0 degrees.  This will make our shape completely flat.  Now press Shift - Ctrl - Alt - C, and select 'Geometry to Origin'.  This will move our mesh to it's origin point.  If you tab back out into Object Mode, you should have a 2-D Pentagon.

You may be wondering why I'm using this for the trail emitter instead of a plane, and I'm not really sure why, but it gives better results.  Plus, it's only 4 additional faces ;)  Now press S and scale the object down so that it's really, really tiny.  I don't have a precise measurement for this, and it doesn't particularly matter.  If the finished trail looks good to you, then you did it right.

Now, make sure you're on frame 1 (check the bottom of the screen), and press I, then choose Location on the menu.  This will insert a keyframe on frame 1.

Move ahead to frame 20, move your object up (to about one third of the way to where you want it to stop moving and explode) and insert another keyframe.  Do the same for frames 40, and 60.  Now if you go back to frame 1 and press Alt A, your object should move upward within the time period of those 60 frames.

Now let's move on to the actual trail.  For this, we'll give it a particle system.  Drag the panel on the right out a little bit so you can see the particles button, then add a new particle system and name it 'Trail'.  

Now set the Amount to 10,000, the End to 60, the Lifetime to 30, the Random Lifetime to 1, and the Random (under the Velocity panel) to 0.2.  This will make it so that our object emits 10,000 particles total, stops emitting particles at frame 60, the particles will die out in the general area of 30 frames after they have been emitted, and they will be slightly randomized so it doesn't look so perfect and unnatural.

Now under the Render panel, uncheck the box next to 'Emitter'.  This will make it so that when you render, it won't display the object that is emitting the particles.

If you were to render now on, say, frame 40, you'd get something like this (I set my background color to black):

Obviously, this isn't going to work.  It looks really terrible, and doesn't resemble a firework trail in the least.  Let's change that.  The particle system is currently using material 1, so let's add a material for it to use.  Click on the Materials button, and add a new material.  Name this one Trail as well.  Change the type to Halo, raise the Add to maximum, and set the Size to 0.025.

Now if we render, we should get this:

It is lacking a little punch, but we'll fix that by adding glow in the next part of this tutorial.  That's all for this part, though!  I'll try to get the next part out as soon as possible, but it may be a while since I'm very busy at the time.  If you have any questions, comments, or problems, post them below or send me an email at  Thanks for reading!


  1. Hey, Ben! Whatever happened to your tutorial about making 3D images? Or am I thinking of someone else?

  2. It's still there! Look under 'Tutorials for Other Programs'