Smoke is one of the easiest things to create in After Effects. Here are five ways to do it!

If you’re trying to jump into digital compositing, creating smoke in After Effects is a great place to start. The cool thing is there are multiple ways to create smoke in After Effects. In the following article, we’ll take a look at a few different ways to create smoke in After Effects.

1. Creating and Tracking Smoke in Adobe After Effects CS6

Created By: Vox Lab

In this video tutorial from Vox Lab, we see how to create a simple smoke source using the particle playground effect. The thing that makes this tutorial unique is the creative usage of the wiggle expression. You probably already know that you can add wiggle expressions to transform properties, but when you add the wiggle expression to effect parameters, you can get some really cool results like those found in this tutorial.

2. How to Make Smoke/Fog

Created By: ccMultimedia

In this tutorial by ccMultimedia, we take a look at how to create a more wisp-like smoke effect using the particle playground effect and a simple fast blur. I personally like using a slight vector blur when creating smoke like this.

3. How to create Smoke/Clouds In After Effects CS5

Created By: ZerosAlwaysOne

In this tutorial we learn how to create smoke in After Effects using a smoke reference image. The tutorial outlines a very interesting technique in which you use the colorama effect to simultaneously color and key your smoke.

4. Fog Tutorial in After Effects

Created By: CB ANIMATION STUDIOS

In this tutorial, CB Animation Studios shows us how to use the fractal noise effect to create convincing smoke effects in After Effects. This technique is great if you’re doing more subtle smoke effects like fog. But if you are doing more dynamic smoke movements, you might want to use a particle-based effect.

5. Creating Clouds Using Trapcode Particular

Created By: James Uy

There’s no better particle generator for After Effects than Trapcode Particular. With many more customizable settings, Trapcode is a fantastic resource for motion graphic designers to use. Unfortunately it’s not free, but Trapcode does offer a free trial on their website. In this tutorial, we learn how to create clouds in After Effects using Trapcode particular.

Have any other tips for creating smoke in After Effects? Share in the comments below.