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Smoke Tutorials Quick Tip: 3D Reflections in ConnectFX

Smoke Tutorials Quick Tip: 3D Reflections in ConnectFX

Autodesk Smoke has some great capabilities, however, doing 3D in Smoke can take some workarounds to get the look you’re after.

While Smoke can do shadows and different output passes, one of the 3D things Smoke doesn’t natively do is reflections. However, in this tutorial I will show you a trick to get reflections on a ground plane for just about anything in your scene.

To get the most out of this Quick Tip, you will want to be familiar with Action and ConnectFX as well as how to use the cameras in Action and multiple output passes. I cover these things briefly in this lesson.

Essentially, the workflow for creating a reflection in your scene involves:

  1. Creating a 3D scene with a ground plane, lights, and a 3D object (or objects) to cast the reflection
  2. Duplicating the Main Camera and linking its properties to the Main Camera
  3. Creating a null axis parented to the Reflection Camera and setting its Scale values to -100 and its Y Rotation value to -180
  4. Setting multiple output passes for Front, Matte, Reflection, and Reflection Matte
  5. Integrating the reflection in ConnectFX using the passes from Action

It’s a little bit of groundwork at first, but once it’s done, you can save it as a template for future use. This method is great for creating that “cover flow” look in product demos or motion graphics work. With a little bit of tweaking, it could also be used for integrating a live action scene depending on the complexity and the surface being reflected.


What did you think about this tutorial? Do you have any ideas on how to improve it, or ideas for more quick tip videos? Let us know below. Thanks for watching!


  1. That’s great Mike. I learned recently about utilising outputs in Action – has been a revelation. Cheers!

  2. Yeah, they completely change the way you can work, pre-comping things in earlier actions and modifying the different layers in later actions. Thanks for the comments!

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