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Steam + Vapor Tutorial v1.1

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By fox-orian   |   Watch
Published: March 20, 2009
© 2009 - 2019 fox-orian
A quickie explaining my method of making steam and vapor effects for speed paints and illustrations. It should take you roughly about a minute to paint a good looking plume of steam, fog, or smoke this way. The purpose of this tutorial is not to achieve photo realism, but instead to get an acceptable result when you're planning to finish an artwork in just an hour or two. Also great for thumbnailing and composition planning speed paints.

Edit - One other tip for consideration: I don't consider this important enough to put into the tutorial, [because you should be able to tell through observation,] but just in case... Remember that steam never goes in a straight line. There's always some winding twist or turn in a plume of steam from the airflow or wind passing through it. Steam is just water vapor, so it's lightweight and lofty. Smoke, on the other hand, is much denser in mass, and will usually billow and spread as it gets higher. Smoke gets blown pretty uniformly at an angle from wind. See this as an example: [link] .

View my other tutorials here: [link]

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Image size
800x6956px 3.6 MB
anonymous's avatar
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smartwhitefang's avatar
smartwhitefangHobbyist Writer
Thanks very much for the help!
DarknessOnly13's avatar
DarknessOnly13Student Digital Artist
This is super useful, thank you!
S0LW0LF's avatar
S0LW0LFStudent Filmographer
Cool I just got a free Steam Wallet code at
sw1nx's avatar
sw1nxHobbyist Interface Designer
Very helpful tutorial, thank you very much!
rebelane's avatar
rebelaneHobbyist Interface Designer
These are great, quick tutorials and easy to remember stuff too :) Thank you for posting all this!
Cryolysis's avatar
CryolysisStudent Digital Artist
Absolutely phenomenal.
Yuki-Namida's avatar
Yuki-NamidaHobbyist Digital Artist
Awesome tutorial, thanks! Used it here: [link]
KRTgirl's avatar
Thanks! I used it here:[link]
IVbenjamin's avatar
IVbenjaminHobbyist Digital Artist
An awesome tutorial as usual! Thank you! :D
UsayFudo's avatar
UsayFudoStudent General Artist
Awesome :D
LUCIDEntertainmentFX's avatar
Indigo-Lune's avatar
Indigo-LuneHobbyist General Artist
So informative *3*
WhysTheRumAlwaysGone's avatar
WhysTheRumAlwaysGoneStudent Digital Artist
Wonderful job this really helped me to do quick and easy yet realistic smoke. Thanks a bunch!
two2moooon's avatar
two2moooonHobbyist Digital Artist
thank U for the Tutorial :heart:
Vlydra's avatar
Thanks for this great tutorial!
Lorna-RoseFoX's avatar
Epic been looking ages for some thing like this :star:
JendiGirl's avatar
JendiGirlHobbyist General Artist
This was very helpful! Thank you!
rj3987's avatar
Very helpful. It's always nice to see deviants helping out others.

Kirsui's avatar
KirsuiProfessional Digital Artist
Awesome tutorial here, thanks for sharing! :D
silverSahar's avatar
the brush doesn't change.
ratcabob's avatar
ratcabobProfessional General Artist
Very interesting tutorial! Thank you for taking the time to make this.
Blackdye13's avatar
Sweet tut:)I love your speed painting style, it's really ruff but so utterly believable..Thanks for the great tut's
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