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Campfire in the Night
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Campfire in the Night

Alicia Rzewucki
by aliciarzewucki on 26 May 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

A cozy night time environment with a pyro simulation as the main focus. I created this VFX project during my studies as a way to demonstrate my FX and lighting skills. All models are already existing. Houdini and Nuke where my programs of choice, and Mantra was my choice of render.

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Campfire - Shot and Breakdown

A VFX project I came up with to help break into the VFX industry as an FX or lighting artist.  I decided on a campfire as I also wanted to demonstrate my lighting capabilities into the project as well as FX.  The environment is meant to appear cozy and at night, with the major focus on the bright flame and sparks contrasting the night. This was a project I created during my studies at Rising Sun Pictures Education.

The project went through many stages and ideas were changed. I used a shot from the HDRI for the plate, which was originally meant to be my own footage. However I had no access to a camera and shooting at the right time proved to be difficult. Therefore if I did a similar project again, I would make sure to check first if I had access to certain equipment and/or know how to use them before going ahead. However I am happy to still have achieved what I was going for and create an VFX scene I am personally proud of.

Additional feedback involved separating the smoke from the fire as it's own simulation as well as adding coal under the logs within the campfire. Therefore I happily worked on this feedback and improved on my existing VFX project.


For my VFX work, I was responsible for the FX, Lighting, Compositing, layout and Texturing/Surfacing. All models in the scene were all already made models, in which I created a simulation on to correctly fall onto the ground plane. Furthermore, all the rocks and logs were textured using online diffuse images, which was then also converted into a bump and roughness map (Photoshop was used for this process). All FX and lighting were done in Houdini, and all compositing was done in Nuke.

The lighting in my FX project was created by using multiple spot lights in Houdini, which were then animated in place. The spotlights were then animated again to flicker in Nuke. During the compositing stages the lighting on the ground, logs, coal and rocks were also colour corrected and graded to be more accurate to real life.


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