Easy VDB Imports

Use other people's hard work for your own project

The Blend.

Become a better Blender artist in 5 minutes each week.

By Samuel Sullins

The Blend

Have you ever heard of JangaFX?

Probably not. They’re a random software company.

But the cool part is what they’re currently giving away for free: VDB files.

Let’s explain. In Blender, when you create a smoke or fire simulation, (which can be challenging) you’re working with volumes.

Volumes, in 3D, are used to represent smoke, and fire, and other simulations. A volume object stores data as a 3D grid of cubes called voxels.

If you have some smoke animated over multiple frames, you can save it (bake it) to a file. The file format you use will likely be .vdb, which stands for Volumetric Data Blocks.

Now back to JangaFX. They’ve created a selection of pre-made smoke and fire simulations (using their own software), which they’ve put on their website for free as VDB files.

And guess what? You can download these and use them in Blender quite easily.

Here’s how:

Today’s Technique

First, download a .vdb file from JangaFX.

These files are somewhat large, so make sure you have enough space before downloading (or choose a smaller file.)

Once you have the file downloaded, you need to import it into Blender.

  1. Press Shift + A.

  2. Choose VolumeImport OpenVDB.

  3. Navigate to the folder with your VDB file in it. It will appear as a long list of files, one for each frame of the animation. Select all of them and import them.

Now you have your VDB object, and you need a material. The material for this will be simple: a Principled Volume node connected to the Volume output, with a Volume Info node connected to the Density.

(For simulations that include fire, connect the Temperature to the Temperature and turn up the Blackbody Intensity to make it glow.)

These will render best in Cycles, but do note that it will take forever.

As to what you should do with these…I really don’t know. I’m currently doing tests for a building collapse.

Really Random Render

Today’s random render is by littlenotlarge:

I don’t have a ton to say about this one.

I like it because it’s different and interesting. A tiny stylized castle is out of place on a realistic rock surface but, somehow, this one looks just fine.

And the lights in the castle are really quite cool.

I think some additional buildings or details (armies, villages, moat, drawbridge) might help ground it a little more

Score: 7 / 10

Samuel’s Selections

Can't think what to blend?

Make an alien monolith, but be creative. It can’t be a cube-shaped one.


Enjoy this email? Finally. Someone enjoys it!

Somebody forward this to you? If they die next week they won’t be able to forward the next one.

Sign up and you’ll get it anyway—no matter who dies. Seriously, I’ll send it even if you die.

Join the conversation

or to participate.