Hydrothermal vent particle

So i have been trying to make a ‘realistic’ particle system similar to a hydrothermal vent like the image and video below. I know it is basically smoke, but the ‘smoke’ in hydrothermal vents act a little different than smoke in air. I guess its less like smoke and more like a thick liquid flowing up through water.

Does anyone have pointers on what to try? Been messing around with it for a few hours and cant seem to come up with anything better than thick smoke and doesnt look very good =-/


Share your texture, What you’ve done so far as well.

IMO that looks pretty good!

A few things you can look at:

  • Flow Map for the material. The best tutorial for this is probably over on Basically this would give a really fluid-like look to the texture and with the right flow map you could make it appear like the texture is dispersing and filing out.
  • Distort the smoke texture with the UV input. Run a tiling cloud/noise texture into the UV input of the smoke sprite to make it appear like air-bubbles are causing it to distort. It’ll take some tweaking but might add a bit too it.
  • Fade into a blurrier version of the texture early into the particles lifespan. If your texture is large-scale you could just pack a Gaussian-blurred version of it into another channel to save a texture look-up.
  • A more advanced idea would be to create smoke similar to that of the Elemental Demo, where they use vertex shader noise and a panning smoke texture to give the illusion of big volumetric smoke, but you have a lot of control over the appearance.
  • Add some drag to the particles to simulate the resistance that the water has on them.
  • Add some refraction into the mix, make it look like the water is also moving with it and distorting the scene around it. This might be best achieved with a cone-like mesh.

Good point. Didnt think showing what i had would really help as I dont think anything ive done is close, but now that i look at it again it doesnt seem too terrible, just needs some tweaking i guess.

The material i made is a combo of a few different bits of other materials and the texture was the thick smoke one used for the volcano in the Elemental example.

2014-10-30 18_29_12-ThermalGasDark.png

Below is where im at with the particle system, and while i think the texture doesn’t look too bad, the smoke movement doesn’t seem as naturally ‘billowy’ as most of the hydro thermal vents do in the videos i see and the thickness of it doesnt seem right. I’m really trying to figure out how to get it looking like its just going nuts churning smoke out, almost shoving the slower smoke away. I think i could live with the smoke texture if i could just get it shaping more like its forcing its way up through the water and it seems like the smoke in the RL videos is moving faster inside the cloud than out. Sorry, I’m terrible at explaining this stuff =-/

I have a feeling most of what i want to accomplish with it has to do with adjusting the material more, and tweaking the size over live, speed, etc. but I am more of a programmer type, so being able to translate what i see in my head to actual items in the particle system is the hard part and i’ll probably make it more complex than it needs to be.

Hah thanks! But there’s no way i could get that kind of realism :wink:

I did look into your suggestions and I think they are totally helpful. Now i just need to spend some time learning how to properly do some of those things. I did start a new PS that is utilizing those but im not really sure the performance impact if i have quite a few of these around my level. I think the elemential demo volcano would almost be perfect for what im trying to do, but i dont know what that would look like up close. I think the distance from it allows the designers to cheat a little and give a stronger effect while in my case, the camera will be right up next to some of these.