FREE Rocket Launch FX Course

Want to learn how to create big FX from scratch? Let me take you step-by-step.

   Watch Trailer

  • Learn how to setup 10 unique FX inspired by big Hollywood films and the current space race
  • Get step-by-step, start-to-finish guidance from zero all the way to finished FX
  • Learn fast with to-the-point, information-packed, bite-sized lessons
  • Gain confidence in building your own unique FX shots
  • This entire course is project-based, meaning you will have completed several FX setups that you can instantly use to advance your career

NO MORE LONG & BORING TUTORIALS (that no one finishes)

  • Who says that longer tutorials are better? I try to make them as short as I possibly can
  • I edit the recordings and cut out pauses & all the fluff so you can get the information as fast as possible
  • The lessons in this course are cut up into bite-sized chunks of 10-20 minutes in length, allowing you to make progress every day in your spare time and get momentum from making continuous progress & completing lectures faster


  • Finished FX shots & FX elements you can immediately use in your own projects & reel
  • A solid basic knowledge of the main features of Phoenix FD, including fire, smoke, and water - so you’ll have the confidence to create your own FX
  • Project files are included so you can just open my file and look at my settings if you're struggling to make something work


LESSON 01: Compressed Air

New to Phoenix FD? I got you. We go over the basics in this first warm-up lesson. We create a simple particle flow to drive our compressed air simulation. I go over the basic Phoenix Fire & Smoke Source settings and the main simulation grid settings, such as dissipation, vorticity, buoyancy, & volumetric rendering settings.

LESSON 02: Engine Burn

Learn how to setup this fire effect, which can be easily modified for all sorts of interesting uses, such as a jet afterburn, a torch, or any high-velocity fire. We go over the technique of using temperature to render as fire, and parameters like 'cooling' to make the fire dissipate almost immediately.

LESSON 03: Supersonic Boom

Use a gradient ramp map as an emission map for our smoke simulation around a cylindrical smoke shape without any sharp edges.

LESSON 04: Freezing Liquid Oxygen

Use multiple noise maps to drive a randomized smoke simulation, with various areas of the rocket's body emitting more smoke than others, at various intensities. Set up a heavy smoke simulation which dissipates quickly & add a wind force for a final effect.

LESSON 05: Main Rocket Launch Smoke

Here I'm using particles generated by Particle Flow to drive a large scale smoke sim. We go over the massive vorticity settings to achieve a large-scale look with details in the plumes. Learn how to use adaptive grid to have the grid expand as the smoke grows larger. Learn proper workflow of splitting the entire rocket launch into separate FX elements for a more manageable workflow. Adjust smoke settings such as opacity and color in the volumetric settings.

LESSON 06: Secondary Launch Smoke

In this lesson we add an omni-directional smoke wave which occurs when the rocket starts rising up and the engine burn hits the launch pad to create a large smoke plume going in all directions.

LESSON 07: Water Deluge Simulation

Use the liquid source and liquid simulation grid to setup a large-scale water simulation of the Deluge system, which protects the launch pad from the immense heat generated by the rocket engine. Learn how to properly setup splash & mist for a waterfall-style simulation of droplets which are dragged by air effects and behave realistically. We also go over the particle shader and optimizing our resolution & simulation settings to create a scene that looks good but doesn't take forever to render out.

LESSON 08: Booster Landing Ground Fire

Learn how to tell our Particle Flow particles to interact with the ground using a Collision helper & a secondary flow to create fire that spreads out along the ground surface as the rocket makes its approach.

LESSON 09: Landing Firewave

In this lesson we set up this fire wave from scratch & go over the fire volumetric rendering settings.

LESSON 10: Landing Smokewave

In the last lesson, we setup the main smoke wave which occurs when the booster lands & have it blow away from the frame to reveal the rocket. Here we go over Phoenix settings such as motion velocity to tell our smoke to take on the speed of the particles, which is essential for a nice shockwave-style effect.

"Jesse is our Phoenix FD hero. We highly encourage you to check out his tutorials"

- Chaos Group, Creators of Phoenix FD & Vray

New BONUS lessons & modules will be added to this course in the next few weeks. Be sure to get in while it's still completely free!


"Jesse teaches how to create liquid and smoke simulations in ways I didn’t think was possible. And for a beginner like me they were so easy to follow. I could start implementing what I learned in my work immediately and was able to wow my friends and take client work to that next level like I wanted to. "

- Genesis Williams, 3D Artist

Check out the Launch Trailer

Everything in this video is explained in the course.

"Jesse is doing an absolutely outstanding job teaching all aspects of Phoenix FD"

- Svetlin Nikolov, Lead Phoenix FD Developer, Chaos Group

Your Instructor

Jesse Pitela
Jesse Pitela
Jesse Pitela is a Los Angeles-based CGI studio owner & award-winning VFX artist with over a decade of CG experience. His work has been showcased by every major computer-graphics website in the world, including CGSociety, Autodesk and Chaos Group. He has extensive experience working with established VFX studios such as Resistance VFX, ChariotDrive & RiotMaker & his studio has created visuals for global clients such as Cristiano Ronaldo's ROC, Shutterstock, Snapchat and many others.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this actually free?
Yes. Teachable just lets me organize everything & present the course in a neat way.
What software do I need?
3Ds Max & Phoenix FD.
I'm a Maya user, can I still follow?
Absolutely. The general workflow & techniques are the same in Maya or any 3D package.
What PC do I need?
Any average PC will do. Recommend quad core & 16GB RAM
Why is this free?
I'm working on some bigger VFX courses and want you to get a taste of what my courses will be like.
Will you be adding new lessons to this course in the future?
Absolutely, I'm already working on additional modules & bonus lessons. This course will keep expanding.

"Jesse's straight to the point/relevant explanations are easy to follow. The client was amazed by the simulations and has led to more projects and better portfolio material. Thanks Jesse!"

- Jimm Wagner, 3D Artist

I'll see you inside the course! - Jesse