In Depth: Fireworks Extravaganza with Fun New Content

In depth Fireworks


Happy Independence Day! Each year we update this article, originally published in July 2015, and add a few new items and tutorials. If your neighborhood is anything like my neighborhood, you’re probably already experiencing fireworks fatigue. But, as fireworks displays are being canceled due to Coronavirus, you can still make your own digitally.

Fireworks can be created by using a particle generator and taking some time to get the physics right. There are some plug-ins available that are specifically for creating fireworks too. 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.

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.

Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve Studio Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve Studio

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Resolve Studio is also the only solution designed for multi-user collaboration so editors, assistants, colorists, VFX artists, and sound designers can all work live on the same project at the same time! Whether you’re an individual artist or part of a large collaborative team, it’s easy to see why DaVinci Resolve is the standard for high-end post-production and finishing on more Hollywood feature films, television shows and commercials than any other software.

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In Depth Davinci Resolve Free vs. StudioIn Depth: DaVinci Resolve Free vs. Studio

Is Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve Studio version worth the investment over the free version? Yes, it is! Learn why you should upgrade to Resolve Studio.

Read more

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.

Boris Continuum Particle Illusion Boris Continuum Particle Illusion

Real-time GPU-Based Particles Generation

Renowned Particle Illusion (formerly particleIllusion) gets a total overhaul in Continuum 2019. Redesigned from the ground up as a 64-bit application, Particle Illusion gives editors and artists access to an easy-to-use, powerful, high-end particle and motion graphics generator. Instantly create preset-driven photorealistic particle effects for titles, lower thirds, and background graphics. Now with fully editable emitter properties!

Additionally, Particle Illusion is included in the full Boris Continuum package.

Learn More Try Continuum for free!

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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.

Want Trapcode Particular?

Trapcode ParticularCreate organic 3D particle effects, complex motion graphics elements and more.

Trapcode Particular is the definitive plug-in for creating organic particle effects in Adobe After Effects, complete with depth and realistic shading, and full 3D rotation. Whether you are creating motion graphics, or realistic visual effects like fire and smoke, Particular’s complex physics engine allows users to custom define air resistance, bounce, and turbulence to customize each particle. With GPU-acceleration and the 300+ presets, Trapcode Particular will have you turning out stunning, dynamic particle effects in minutes.

Trapcode Suite includes Particular, Form, Mir, Tao, 3D Stroke, Shine, Lux, Starglow, Echospace, Soundkeys, and Horizon.

Trapcode Particular is available in the Trapcode Suite, but no longer as an individual product.

Trapcode Suite

Try Trapcode Suite for free!

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 a fireworks burst effect.

He offers the C4D file of the fireworks rig, free for your use.

Click here to see Noah’s original post.

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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Cinema 4D S22 is Maxon’s first subscription-only release giving customers early access to performance and workflow advances including UV unwrapping and editing tools, improved selection and modeling tools, organizational licensing for volume customers, and updated viewport technology with support for Metal on macOS.

Maxon has also boosted Cinema 4D’s pipeline compatibility with GLTF export, GoZ integration for Z-Brush, and support for node-based materials in FBX and Cineware.

Cinema 4D S22 is immediately available for subscription customers. Perpetual license holders of Cinema 4D will enjoy a release that will incorporate the features of S22 and much more later in the year.

Cinema 4D Cinema 4D MSA Holders Offer

Try Cinema 4D for free!

Greyscalegorilla Transform Fireworks Preset

This was animated using no keyframes in Transform. See more examples here.

Learn more Greyscalegorilla Transform for CINEMA 4D

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.”

INSYDIUM X-Particles INSYDIUM X-Particles

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

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.

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.

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Maya Fireworks

How to model Fireworks in Maya 2017

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

Autodesk Maya Autodesk Maya

Make it with Maya Computer Animation Software

Maya® 3D animation, modeling, simulation, and rendering software. It provides an integrated, powerful toolset. Use it for animation, environments, motion graphics, virtual reality, and character creation.

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Featured image credit: Alvaro Reyes Instagram

Posted by Michele Yamazaki