Wisp Fire Shader

by Thatimster in Materials, Shaders, Textures

Do your fire renders look like this?

These are the typical output of a cycles fire render. 
Even with heavy compositing, these fire renders still look "off" and never fit well into a scene.

A big bright gloopy mess.

Why do they always look bad?

Believe it or not Blender actually does a fantastic job at simulating fire and smoke, the main problems are introduced in the shading of the simulation.

  1. Simulated flame is treated as glowing volume
    One of the major factors that make fire renders in blender look bad is the way that default shaders deal with the flame emission. Instead of treating it like a gaseous vapour, most fire shaders will simply use the flame factor to determine which part of the volume is emitting light, treating the ‘flame’ component as having a constant density.

  2. Lack of visual fidelity
    Because of the default emissive shading, much of the depth perception and resolution of a fire simulation is lost. Not only does this result in an unrealistic shading but much of the simulation data that took so long to generate is not even visible to the camera .

  3. No accurate burn control
    A real flame NEVER maintains the same burn density throughout the reaction. The entire combustion process relies on surrounding temperature, oxygen dissipation and fuel concentration along with many other factors. This becomes a real issue for standard shaders, as they are very inflexible with extremely sensitive values.

Additionally these renders take HOURS to setup, simulate, shade, tweak and render (even with quick smoke).


WISP takes your existing fire simulation and applies corrected shading to the volume, turning what used to be a bright gloopy mess, into a magnificent rolling fireball. It provides better depth perception, visual fidelity and animatable burn control with no extra simulation cost!


  • Single attribute density control for burn rate and temperature. Incredibly easy to animate and customizable in seconds.

  • WISP was built on the foundation of flexibility. All colors, and variables can be modified before being passed to the final fire shader. Swap out colors, influence factors and do much more without getting lost in spaghetti nodes.

  • Not confident with shader terminology? All WISP attributes have easy to understand labelling describing exactly what they do. This way you know exactly what you are tweaking and what you need to change.

  • Quick setup: A fast workflow can be the difference between hours and minutes. WISP is designed to slot perfectly into an existing simulation, no additional setup is required. Simply append the material, add this to the domain and you are ready to render!

Before vs After

Update Log:

v1.2: Color Scalar, Improved default settings and New Color Ramp (Purple)!

This update introduces the color scalar to the shader allowing for more precise control over the color distribution applied to the flames within a simulation. Increasing the scalar allows for more utilization of the brighter values. Along with this update are improved default settings that let you apply the shader immediately to any fire/smoke simulation and achieve realistic results without tweaking anything.

Lastly a new color ramp has been added! I noticed lots of people using the shader applied purple as a custom color ramp so I have included a variant of this with the shader.

This update along with all future updates will remain free for the lifetime of the product :)

v1.1: New Fumes attribute added

This allows for increased control over the shape of a flame by utilizing reaction intensity, giving richer flames and better looking renders. The fumes feature can be enabled by setting the attribute to 1. Alternatively it can be disabled by setting to 0 or have any value between 0 and 1 to get the best of both distributions (in some cases it can be a good idea to animate this value).

To use the fumes attribute in a smoke simulation, you must have blender 2.78 or higher.

This update along with all future updates will remain free for the lifetime of the product :)


  • WISP Fire Shader
  • Pre-baked smoke simulation to practice with (optional)
  • Quick start guide for simulating flame
  • WISP Documentation
  • Free Lifetime updates
  • Good Karma for supporting the Blender Foundation :)


If you have any questions/requests/comments feel free to send me a message here on the blender market or email me directly (See quick start guide for email address).

Does this shader work with Blender 2.8?

Yes, Cycles in Blender 2.8 is fully supported.
Eevee however is not. This is because Eevee can't handle emissive volumetric shading very well mainly because the task of correct shading is so expensive.

My flames look flat and undetailed, what should I do?

Increase the high resolution divisions to at least 2 (under Smoke High Resolution), along with the noise strength (around 2.5 is good).

Check the included quick start pdf for more details on setting up good smoke simulations

Does this work for the Blender Internal renderer?

Currently only cycles is supported

Item Rating

This item has an average rating of 5 from 6 ratings by the community.

  • mswanston about 1 month ago

    Realistic materials for fire and smoke is exactly what Blender has been missing and this is a great solution to that issue. You are finally able to get good looking results very quickly and the creator Tim is also extremely helpful with any questions you might have.

  • Björn Eckhardt 4 months ago

    LOVE IT!! I create Films about Safe Handling of Explosives... this shader improved workflow and look a lot!!

  • Neil Guthrie 6 months ago

    Excellent - looks fantastic, really easy to set up and use (only took me a few minutes to create my first render with it). Going to be using this lots in the future :-)

  • Ethan 10 months ago

    This item is extremely good. It's literally photo-realistic and very well optimized. Easy to use. It's just so perfect for that price.

  • Andreas Leiner about 1 year ago

    Very usefull. Now it is possible for me to create a good looking fire.

  • Tommek about 1 year ago

    A very good shader with great results. Easy and fast to use.

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