In Depth: Fireworks Extravaganza with Fun New Content

In depth Fireworks


Happy Independence Day! It’s time again to update our annual article, originally published in July 2015, and add a few new items and tutorials. This year, there are apparently fireworks shortages, so you may need to make your own… digitally!

Fireworks can be created by using a particle generator, taking some time to get the physics right. To make things easier, multiple plug-ins are specifically for creating fireworks. That said, they don’t always look natural. One of the toughest things about creating fireworks is getting them to look realistic. They need glow, smoke, the proper physics, depth of field, etc. And, adding some sound effects can really help your fireworks come to life!

Some Breathtaking Fireworks Examples

TRON GFX Fireworks

This one is from TRON 2013 and it really has style.

From the comments:

We used the Adobe design tools, Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, etc. and also used Cinema 4D, a 3D package aimed more towards the motion graphics industry, with its insane MoGraph plugin suite. We used it heavily, and also rendered a bunch of key graphics out of C4D V-Ray for proper DOF and motion blur, dlew was in control. Also, we also used Maya for some pipeline enhancements, and Houdini for the DNA and as a host for Nimoy’s openFrameworks applications, which were ported over to Houdini by “The King,” effects animator Andy King. It was definitely the way forward, getting our stuff deep into the visual effects pipeline.

Fireworks filmed with a drone

These are not digitally created fireworks but it’s pretty fantastic. This video may help you create natural-looking fireworks with your software too.

Creative Video and Photo Ideas Using Fireworks

This tutorial from PremiumBeat explains how to create unique effects, backgrounds, smoky atmospheres and more by recording real fireworks in a variety of ways.

28 FREE Firework Sound Effects from Premium Beat New

Charles Yeager has some free fireworks sound effects to use with any host. Check out the video below!

Download the Firework Sound Effects

Fireworks with After Effects

Since a good number of our readers are After Effects users, we’ll start here. There are lots of tutorials out there to create fireworks without the use of 3rd party plug-ins. Here are a few.

How To Animate a Firework Rocket (smoke, fire, stroke explosion) – After Effects Tutorial

Oliver Randorff explains how to make a fun animated firework rocket. I really like his cell animation style he uses in his tutorials. Check out his YouTube Channel.

Firework Particles Text Animation in After Effects – No Plugins

Avnish Parker shows you how to create many different types of fireworks directly in After Effects without the use of any third-party plug-ins.

After Effects Video Tutorial: Fireworks

This one comes from Premium Beat and is very stylized. It uses expressions and shapes.

Fireworks in DaVinci Resolve

VFX Blend shows you how to make realistic fireworks in DaVinci Resolve.

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Fireworks with Plug-ins

Boris Continuum Particle Emitter 3D

I did a webinar for Boris FX back in 2012. I didn’t write the tutorial, and it is a bit complex with a lot of manipulation of the settings, but the final fireworks looked really nice and believable. (The fireworks portion starts at 18:00)


Boris Particle Illusion for Premiere Pro: Overview by Surfaced Studio

There’s now a free version of the Particle Illusion standalone tool now available! In addition, you can still get the premium filter here: Boris Continuum Particle Illusion.

Download Particle Illusion Free Standalone

Note: You must be logged into the Toolfarm Dashboard to download.


Boris TV, Episode 173 – A Fireworks Spectacular

Here’s another tutorial from Boris FX. This time, Paul Ezzy teaches you how to quickly create a fireworks display in Adobe After Effects to add to your hometown skyline. Simply swap out the image after you download the complimentary project files – template and presets included! You’ll create 4 different displays with BCC Particle Emitter 3D − from basic to explosive − that rival the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. Plus, learn how BCC Cartooner and BCC Pencil Sketch give you the freedom of using custom shapes.

Download the Project File

Free Fireworks Presets for Boris Continuum

The Fourth of July is next week and we’re celebrating by giving you 10+ new fireworks presets to spread some digital cheer. The fireworks, based on Continuum’s popular Particle Emitter 3D, are available to all users of Continuum 11.0.3.

Download the presets

If there aren’t any fireworks displays near you, make your own! Shoot footage of your hometown, add your new fireworks presets and some sound effects, and then make your epic display dance to your favorite song using Continuum’s built-in Beat Reactor.

Paul Ezzy also has 8 fireworks presets for older versions of BCC. Just drag & drop over your favorite footage.
Download Fireworks Presets Compatible with BCC 9 (and BCC 8) in Adobe, Avid, and Vegas Pro.

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Easy-to-use Particle Generator

Particle Illusion is an easy-to-use, powerful, high-end particle generator that gives editors and artists instant access to photorealistic particle effects for motion graphics, visual effects, titles, lower thirds, and background graphics. Available as a free standalone application, a paid premium filter, and as part of the Continuum suite of plug-ins, Particle Illusion is the choice anyone looking to quickly and easily add amazing particle effects to any image, animation or video.

Learn MoreTry Boris FX Continuum Particle Illusion for free!

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Meeting tight turnarounds just got easier. The post-production industry’s most complete plugin collection delivers nearly 350 creative effects in 20 categories, 4000+ presets, built-in Academy Award-winning Mocha planar tracking, and masking, a Beat Reactor that drives VFX to music, and the FX Browser. Busy editors and artists rely on Continuum to get the job done.

Learn MoreTry Boris FX Continuum Annual Subscription for free!

Trapcode Particular

In this tutorial, Ignace Aleya of Tolerated Cinematics walks you through the procedure of designing your own firework display with Trapcode Particular.

After Effects Tutorial: Firework Animation using Trapcode Particular

This one is from 2019.

Create FIREWORKS with Trapcode Particular

Josh from SonduckFilm explains the process in Particular.

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Fireworks in MAXON CINEMA 4D

Fireworks for C4D Xpresso.

Shoot ’em off, ooh and ahh!

Noah Witchell posted this nice tutorial about the building of a control board and Xpresso rig for fireworks burst effect.

Click here to see Noah’s original post. Download the Cinema 4D project in the video description.

Noah Witchell is a motion graphics designer and photographer based out of Omaha, Nebraska.  “I know that everyone says that being a generalist is suicide in today’s workforce, but I like dabbling in everything: shooting, editing, sound, scoring, etc. The whole process is fun to me, and I just feel lucky to be able to scrape together a living doing it.”

How to make fireworks with Cinema 4D, Tracer, and Particles

There’s no narration on this tutorial but it still is pretty clear on the process.

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FireWORKS with X-Particles

“This full tutorial from Mike shows you how to create several fireworks systems, starting with the classic Fountain, followed by a Catherine Wheel and finally a Sky Rocket. The techniques shown can be used to create any number of variations and effects, the possibilities are boundless.”

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A fully-featured advanced particle and VFX system for MAXON’s Cinema 4D

INSYDIUM X-Particles is a fully-featured advanced particle and VFX system for Maxon’s Cinema 4D. Multithreaded, X-Particles utilizes all of your computer CPUs whenever possible for speed and efficiency. A unique rule system of Questions and Actions enables complete control over particle simulations.

An essential component of an artist’s toolkit, X-Particles is the solution to satisfy all your particle needs: Cloth, Smoke, Fire, Fluids, Grains, and Dynamics. Designers can switch effortlessly between motion graphics and VFX, within a unified system.

Now compatible with Cinema 4D R23! (Requires build 895)

Learn More

Maya Fireworks

How to model Fireworks in Maya 2017

Apparently, this was Mike Hermes’ last video?! But he shows you how to make a blast of light!

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With a focus on empowering artists throughout the production pipeline, Autodesk® Maya® 2020 introduces new tools that not only help animators, modelers, riggers, and technical artists work faster and more intuitively, but also make the creative process more fun.

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Posted by Michele Yamazaki