I see tutorials like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6D1b7zZHHA that have good smoke sheets. Is there any program I should be using to create my own sheets like this or is it this just done in after effects.
most smoke sprite sheets are made with either stock footage and just making it loop in after effects, or from simulations in maya or houdini or similar. alternatively for slow moving smoke you can often just get away with two static images panning against one another.
After Effects related: Check out Red Giant’s Trapcode Suite!
You can “fake” and recreate some fluid sims with a clever usage of those plugins.
Here are the ways i used to make smoke textures:
Basically - a physically correct voxel-based smoke simulation in some 3D package (see Houdini, PyroFX, integrated fluidSims in Blender3D, 3DMax, Maya e.t.c.). These are usually rendered in a texture atlas frame by frame, and then animated on every particle.
Here is the first tutorial i found on the topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yfS3BuNbQU
(BTW: have a look at Embergen. Looks very promising to me: EmberGen: A Real-Time Fluid Simulation Tool for Real-Time VFX Artists (Coming Soon!))
You either google up some smoke photos, or just use the defaul clouds noise in photoshop and work (paint) your way up from there. It usually takes quite a bit of back-and-forward routine between your engine and photoshop to come up with a texture that would look good on a stream of particles. You may also add some uvDistortion/Flowmaps to make it a bit less static-looking.
Couldn’t find a tutorial, but what you end up with looks something like this:
You can clerly see the clouds noise pattern here.
Pretty self explanatory: if what you need is a stylized look - that would be your best option. I’ve seen a lot of advice on that from LoL VFX team.
Here is the thread: Shannon Berke - LoL FX + Knowledge Share
If you have the knowlege/resources, it may yield some pretty decent results, with a big plus of all your textures being somewhat random and have some movement in them.
Have a look at what VFX guys from Diablo have come up with as an example: https://youtu.be/YPy2hytwDLM?t=1487 (it’s at 24:30)
Thank you so much for the help I will look at these when I get the chance