Burning Question: How Do I Create a Tornado?
Question: How do I create a tornado and the severe weather that goes with it with my visual effects software?
You don’t mention the software that you’re using, so I’ll give you a variety of tutorial options, but first, lets learn a bit about what creates a tornado and what they look like in the real world..
If you’re looking to create a realistic tornado, first, learn a bit about the science.
Science360 talks about the “violent, twisting columns of air with wind speeds over 100 miles per hour.”
How Do Tornadoes Form? This is article on Kid’s Crossing rather juvenile, but it breaks down the science in very concise detail.
“Fire Tornado” in Viral Video Explained
National Geographic explains the science behind this “fire whirl” or “dust devil with fire”. It’s very interesting. The music is pretty terrible on the video and I saw another with the natural sounds, but it was not embedable. Anyway, read the article from National Geographic, “Fire Tornado” in Viral Video Explained.
World’s Top Most Deadliest Tornado (Full Documentary)
You’ve all seen the flying cow in the film Twister so I won’t go there, but instead of heading to the prairie, I’d recommend checking out some videos on YouTube, mostly taken by insane people who are way too close to the action. Most have NSFW language. I’d be swearing too if I thought I was going to be swept up in a tornado!
And the guy below gets a BIT too close!
Into the Storm, directed by Richard Armitage and released in 2014, was a film featuring multiple tornadoes. I never saw it but the report is that the effects were incredible and the storyline was not quite as good. It was shot in Michigan (represent!) and had over 600-plus effects shots.
- Into the Storm: a trio of tornadoes – FxHome breaks down how the tornadoes were made. They used Maya and Houdini.
- How ‘Into the Storm’ Built a Better Tornado on a Budget – The Hollywood reporter talks about the budget.
Here’s a tutorial from Beso using Next Limit RealFlow, Autodesk 3dsMax, Sitni Sati FumeFx, cebas finalRender, and Blackmagic Design Fusion. He has the scene files available for download here. First, an example of what his tornado looks like.
Here is the tutorial.
Mike Batchelor shows how to create a terrifying twister with X-Particles and CINEMA 4D.
CINEMA 4D VFX Volume 2: Killer Tornado – Ben Watts is a really great artist and tutorial maker and we often post his tutorials on our blog. He has a new training series that you can buy on his site.
This tutorial is from Ramiro A. Fernandez at Premium Beat. While this isn’t specifically a tornado, it covers using images as particles, creating particle environments, compositing clouds and generating rain, which are all important aspects of tornadic weather.
Rob Mize at Creative Cow has a tutorial explaining the process of making a funnel cloud in AE.
If you’re wanting to add rain to your tornado, check out In Depth: Rain Generators. The article compares and contrasts several plug-ins for creating rain in After Effects and other NLEs, with links to tutorials.
Here’s an old one from Andrew Kramer about adding water drops to a window, which could be very useful.
Posted by Michele Yamazaki