View all the Finalists for Rookie Awards 2024
Car animation with drift and explosion

Car animation with drift and explosion

by tobiasipsen on 31 May 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

Car drifting down on a highway. On the highway it hits a barrier and flips around and at the end explodes.

1 1876 0
Round of applause for our sponsors


This project started out as me trying out phoenix fd and madcar. I started out wanting to try out making a drift scene and an explosion scene. My first idea was to have the car do a burnout before it started driving fast, but it didn't work out as I had planned.

The car is a downloaded model from Thomas.F.

I shaded the car myself and gave it texture. I did everything else except the car model.

The Drift


It was very static, so I had the car drift down to a highway. It was a bit of a challenge to get the drift right, but after a few tries it worked out. Having the drift perfect, I started to do the smoke simulation. Having never done smoke simulation and only used phoenix fd for a short amount of time, this was going to be a challenge. I watched a lot of tutorials and read the docs from phoenix fd multiple times to understand the different sliders and what they did. I also just messed around and saw what the different sliders did to my simulation.

Iterations of the drift animation

In the end, I felt like I got a good result. But my next issue was that there was no reason for the car to explode. So I had to come up with an idea where the car would flip around and then explode.

The explosion

I placed a barrier and got the car to collide with the barrier, so it would flip around. After I got the flips down it was time for the simulation. I tried a lot and had around 80 iterations over a span of 3 months. In the beginning, it looked very wrong because the whole car exploded at once. I had to get it to mostly only explode on the car floor.

Car explosion renders

It worked perfectly after just selecting the floor but it looked weird that it was the hole car floor that started burning at the same time. So I made a mask, with noise and animated it so it started mostly in the front where the engine is and slowly the whole car would burn. After I got that done, I thought it looked weird that 1. there was a barrier in nowhere, without a reason, and 2. it didn't get destroyed when the car (which was driving like 150kmh) hit it.

I knew that I could use tyflow for the animation but had never used that either, so I had to learn that too and get the simulation to look decent. After some youtube videos and trial and error, I got the simulation down for the barrier simulation. Next up was, "why is there a barrier in nowhere". And for that I thought I could use tyflow again and make the wall destroyed so it fell on the road. It worked great and made more sense now. In the end I also added some coned and simulated them to fly away when the car hit them. I'm not quite happy with how the destruction on the barrier and wall looks, but my pc couldn't handle it when I tried to make it look better.

Render straight from 3ds max

Post Processing

Final Video

The End. Conclusion and what I learned.

It was a very fun project to work on and I learned a lot. I learned how to animate a car with madcar, I learned how to make a car explosion and drift smoke with phoenix fd and I learned a little tyflow. Next time I would definitely try to make the destroyed bricks look better. I felt like they were very bricky and too similar.

Next time I'm going to make a project like this, I have to notice it faster, that it will be a bigger project, and start having some reference and mood board for the project. I learned that a goal and plan on how it should look will help a lot. It's not like I didn't have anything, but I feel like I could have gathered more references and said "this is what I'm going for", to have a path. On the flip side, it was a  very fun experience to do something without having a real path/plan. Just knowing the goal and working on it.

Comments (0)

This project doesn't have any comments yet.