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I want to make steam rising off a mug of coffee.
I attempted to create wisps of steam or visible heat vapors (not sure what the phenomenon is called) rising from the coffee by using Quick Smoke. That was way too much - tried changing parameters but my efforts did not reduce the blast of smoke to a "snaky looking" wisp.

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I did it by using an Emission shader for the volume. I mixed with the given quick smoke setup that uses Volume Scatter and Volume Absorption, but the mix is so low for them I suspect that I could leave them out. I also animated the density from 1 to 0. (Stuff is grayed out in the domain's settings because I baked it.) I changed things like the Vorticity and Dissolve time, and Noise Method and Strength. My problem was getting the steam to be white instead of gray. Maybe if I got rid of the Volume Absorption I wouldn't need the Emission? It doesn't look quite right since the steam is lighting up the inside of the cup.

animation (it's still rendering and needs about 30 more frames for the full 70 frames.)

nodes

domain

flow

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  • $\begingroup$ Here's the node setup without the Volume Absorption and a single frame, so I think the node setup could definitely be tweaked and improved. i.imgur.com/g0Pr3g1.jpg i.imgur.com/nKItXiA.png The Multiply for the Volume Scatter Density was dialed down as was the Mix shader for the Emission. $\endgroup$ – lumpynose Jul 2 '17 at 19:26
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You should either fake it with a plane with roughness, or use closer to real life settings in a smoke simulation. You can then play with the material to fine tune it. You'll probably want some turbulence (a force field) to make the smoke trail more natural.

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    $\begingroup$ Could you please extend your answer? Add some examples, images, etc.? $\endgroup$ – cgslav May 24 '17 at 0:31

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