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I've been wondering for a while how one would go about creating this heat flare effect around the Starship so I would like to reach out to you guys to see what your techniques would be to go about this.

Thanks,

Spencer

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    $\begingroup$ Personally, I'd model the basic shape of the flare around the ship, then use a mixture of VFX elements that you could download online along with some gradient, noise, and colour ramp nodes driving the colour and factorial of a mix shader for the emission and transparent parts $\endgroup$ Aug 3, 2020 at 1:48
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    $\begingroup$ yeah technically you have to model that, maybe use a smoothed mesh around the object, with a shrinkwrap modifier with a vertex group to limit it in some areas, and a displace modifier to get some little warping, and then a procedural material that you may animate for the flame... $\endgroup$ Aug 3, 2020 at 4:55

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Here is a try, I've created 2 envelops that contain the rocket, they are lightly deformed by a Displace modifier, and I gave them a variation of the same kind of material, which is basically a mix between Emission and Transparent, and a Noise as factor, that is stretched on the length, and moves with an empty as Object in the Texture Coordinate. This Mix is mixed with another Mix so that the trace fades on its length. At the end I gave a bit of Glare in the Compositor to make it glow a bit.

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One way you could do something like this is with a Cloth Simulator, combined with a shader.

Start by setting your object at a desired angle, and then adding a plane above it. The plane should be subdivided - I find 100 subdivisions works just fine.

ClothPlane

Enable cloth physics for the plane under the Physics Properties tab. Also, you must enable "Collision" for the rocket object under the Physics Properties tab as well. Play the simulation and freeze it at a frame where the cloth looks like a proper "heat emission", or whatever seems close.

ClothSim

Apply the cloth modifier, and to make it more smooth, give it a Subdivision Surface modifier (one level of subdivision works fine), and shade smooth.

SmoothCloth

Then, give the cloth a material and head over to the shading tab. As you can see from the image, the idea I was shooting for was to make an alpha mask that would cause the texture to show (already slightly transparent) at the base of the craft, and slowly fall off from there. I was able to achieve this effect by using a Wave Texture, constrained to the Z-axis, and an ugly mess of inverts, MixRGB Nodes's (to alter the grey levels), and ColorRamps (to change the cuttoffs) - I could have done much better, but I'm short on time. The point is, you can do better than I did.

RocketMask

Anyway, I used this "mask" I created as both a mix factor for the colors, as well as an alpha factor. Pay attention to the blend modes highlighted on the right. I also had to use the inverse of this mask as a mix factor between the Principled BSDF and and Emission Shader (looking now, I didn't need the inverse if I had switched the positions of the inputs on the Mix Shader, but at least this way it makes for an orderly looking graph).

EmissionRocket

Because the "rocket is reflective" the effect can be "enhanced" by the placement of lights in the scene. The final result looks like this:

RocketFinal

As I said, this was a rushed effort - only meant to demonstrate the method. I'm certain you can achieve better results than this with a little tweaking.

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