Help with creating silky(?) smoke texture

Hi, I’m currently new to VFX and have found creating textures through After Effects & Photoshop to be rather fun. The process of creating new shapes and patterns is an interesting journey, and I have a question regarding the creation of this smoke texture.

I’ve searched topics online, and the closest I’ve found was a silk brush on Krita, or flames on photoshop. However, they appear to generate different results from the one I aim for.

I was wondering if anyone knew of the method used to create this, preferably in After Effects (this is not a requirement, just would be nice :slight_smile: ).

Thanks in advance.


After scattering particles in After Effects and grouping them using effects like blur, it seems possible to create such an effect.

Here’s how I do it in Photoshop (but this would work in any package with similar functionality). I usually start with a 50% grey, soft brush and paint some swirly shapes (working on a layer above a solid black layer so it shows up)

I use the smudge too to thin out some sections.

I then use Dodge and Burn to lighten and darken different parts of the smoke.

The last step is to use the Filter>Other>Maximum filter to give me that stringy look.

Once you’re done, it should look like this (black layer turned off):

And here is the final file:

Play with the shapes and smudging until you get the right amount of wisp for your specific needs.


This is an interesting method, thank you!

1 Like