AfterBurn (plugin)

AfterBurn is a popular 3D Studio Max plugin, created by Sitni Sati. The latest version is 4.0.


AfterBurn is a volumetric effects plugin for Autodesk's 3D Studio Max software, which has been used in several feature films. 3ds max doesn't ship with any volumetric effects (apart from "volumetric light", which creates a visible beam of light), a third-party plugin must be relied on for volumetric effects. AfterBurn is one of very few plugins to create and render true volumetrics within 3ds max. AfterBurn can be used to create a wide variety of realistic effects, for example:

  • Thick, billowing smoke
  • Large, gaseous explosions
  • Thick or thin clouds
  • Dust (thick storms or dust clouds)
  • Flowing water, via "HyperSolids"

Integration with 3ds max

AfterBurn builds upon any of 3ds max's standard particle systems. Each particle emitted is rendered as a "puff" of a defined size (represented in 3ds max as a simple sphere of approximate size). When hundreds or thousands of particles are rendered together, each of these "puffs" contributes to the overall desired effect (for example, smoke or an explosion).

Although AfterBurn excels at gaseous explosions and thick smoke, it's not as suited to creating tendril-like flames. AfterBurn can be tweaked into giving a flame look, but there are several other 3ds max plugins that can create or even simulate flames in a more realistic way, such as FumeFX, another Sitni Sati plugin.


Nearly every aspect of AfterBurn's volumetric effects can be tweaked by the user. Moreover, nearly every changeable parameter can be animated over time with "flow curves" or gradient ramps. Particles can change colors and size over time, animate in a variety of different ways, or grow denser or thinner over time, to name a few things. For an explosion, for example, you'd want the particles to start small, grow in size quickly and slowly stop expanding; the material would morph from bright yellow/white to orange, red, and finally into a dark gray or black, animating quickly at first, and then slowing down to a clouding smoke.

Use in feature film

AfterBurn has been used in a number of feature films, some of which include:

See also

  • DreamScape, a plugin from the creators of AfterBurn that is used to render skies, seas and terrain, among other things.

External links

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