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Steam + Vapor Tutorial v1.1 by fox-orian Steam + Vapor Tutorial v1.1 by 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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DarknessOnly13 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2015  Student Digital Artist
This is super useful, thank you!
S0LW0LF Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2015  Student Filmographer
Cool I just got a free Steam Wallet code at
sw1nx Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014  Hobbyist Interface Designer
Very helpful tutorial, thank you very much!
rebelane Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2014  Hobbyist Interface Designer
These are great, quick tutorials and easy to remember stuff too :) Thank you for posting all this!
Cryolysis Featured By Owner May 4, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Absolutely phenomenal.
Yuki-Namida Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Awesome tutorial, thanks! Used it here: [link]
KRTgirl Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2012
Thanks! I used it here:[link]
IVbenjamin Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
An awesome tutorial as usual! Thank you! :D
Kamui85 Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2011
Thank you
UsayFudo Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2011  Student General Artist
Awesome :D
LUCIDEntertainmentFX Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2011
Indigo-Lune Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
So informative *3*
WhysTheRumAlwaysGone Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2011  Student Digital Artist
Wonderful job this really helped me to do quick and easy yet realistic smoke. Thanks a bunch!
two2moooon Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank U for the Tutorial :heart:
Vlydra Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2011
Thanks for this great tutorial!
Lorna-RoseFoX Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Epic been looking ages for some thing like this :star:
JendiGirl Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
This was very helpful! Thank you!
rj3987 Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2010
Very helpful. It's always nice to see deviants helping out others.

Kirsui Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Awesome tutorial here, thanks for sharing! :D
silverSahar Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2010
the brush doesn't change.
ratcabob Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2010  Professional General Artist
Very interesting tutorial! Thank you for taking the time to make this.
Blackdye13 Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2010
Sweet tut:)I love your speed painting style, it's really ruff but so utterly believable..Thanks for the great tut's
PsdDude Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2010
Great stuff!
ShotsOfSunshine Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2010
Brilliant tutorial. I'm going to check out your others. :)
YoKa2817 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2010
Fantastic tuto!!!!! =D
charcoal012 Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2010  Professional General Artist
cool tutorial
Cyber-Mech Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2010
do u need a tablet to get this effect
Robotrob44 Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2010
hey could i put this in my group gallery?:please:
Okami-Rain Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2010
Lurvely tutorial!
Comadreja Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Exillior Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
This is just brilliant! :love:
aaisha-l-arrotina Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2009
i love your tutorial.. Grazie!!!
Thank you so much from italy ;)
Uke-TeTsuyA Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2009
where did u see the settings for the brushes....ughhhhhhhh Dx
Artemecion Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
I love your tutorials. Makes me feel like an art student, especially with your perspective stuff; I'd just like to thank you for helping me, and so many other artists out there with our art.

Thank you again!
CreepMatic Featured By Owner May 15, 2009
Wow! I usually did smoke by blurring and smudging a shape but this is another level. Thank you very much for the tutorial :D
fox-orian Featured By Owner May 15, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Smudging is one of those tools that I think is usually as bad as using filters in PS.
It's kind of a cop-out method, the easy way. It's one of those tools that is sooo obvious. Like, you can look at something and just say "Smudge tool!" kine of like how you can see so many pictures and go "SUN FLARE FILTER!"

Learning how to do effects manually in a traditional sense, like painting a blur instead of having the program do it for you, is always better to make yourself a more advanced artist. I tend to refuse using special or texture brushes in Photoshop as well because I feel I'd rather learn how to ACTUALLY draw it first before taking the easy way out.
That way when people ask "What special brush did you use for this?" and I answer "I didnt, I drew it myself" they go "?!!? God damnit."
CreepMatic Featured By Owner May 15, 2009
yeah i see your point...i see other people loading hundreds of downloaded brushes in PS and doing a couple of clicks on a gradient, showing of their "masterpieces"...and about the filters...their not so bad if one can learn how to use them properly and they are quite a powerful tool in creating textures for realistic illustrations (see Bert Monroy's works). I think every tool has it's part, more or less.
HumaKaVoola Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2009
I have to agree with your point, it's just a shame so many people overuse tools improperly.
misternicely Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2009
I loved this tutorial! I learned that the smudge tool makes the steam flow more naturally...I posted what I did and I want to know what you think: [link]
CreepMatic Featured By Owner May 15, 2009
yeah I used the smudge tool (3 - 5% strength)to make the edges on the smoke a little softer and make it more fluid.
Rolomie Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2009
appreciate tat !!
PhearKiki Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2009
Thank you very much!
smileychan Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2009  Student General Artist
very helpful!
dwainio Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Awesome !!
Thank you :XD:
eisenaffe Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Tnx for this!
TitanWarrior17 Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2009  Student General Artist
thank you!! i will find this very usefull....
asukaFLCL Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2009
tanks for the tutorials
Ziggyman Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2009  Professional General Artist
Good. THanks for the share.
Tsubasa-No-Kami Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
fantastic >w<~~~!!

thanks again for sharing~!
rickkhunter Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
awesome...i luv it;)
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Submitted on
March 20, 2009
Image Size
3.6 MB


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