Tutorial: How to build realistic tails in FWsim

Have you ever thought that the tails of the fireworks in FWsim are not that realistic? Or that it might be difficult to find a tail that fits a simulated fireworks from reality?
If you want to learn something about creating realistic tails, this article is the right place for you!

Standard Tails in FWsim & Reality
In FWsim you have the option of choosing a pure color for the tails in your fireworks, by default using the presets silver or gold. You adjust the standing time, the period in which the tails are to be ejected and possibly the size of the individual sparks or the width of the sparks when ejected.
This gives you an individually adapted tail that is monochrome, but unfortunately doesn’t have much to do with reality! But why?

Let’s look at a photo of a crown in silver from reality.

The tails themselves burn and glow, so they are not only dynamic in their movement, but also in their coloring and burning.
A silver tail is a very simple but good example:

  1. The tip of the tail burns the brightest and thus lights up almost white.

  2. The individual sparks are ejected and burn for different lengths of time. These sparks burn up and are therefore no longer as bright as the tip of the tail.

  3. After the sparks have burned down, there is usually a thin gold tail left over, black powder from the effect set, which still glows a little in the sky.

Relation of reality to FWsim - creating a realistic tail!

To make the tail effects in FWsim son as realistic as possible, we have to put several tails on top of each other. For silver effects, 4-5 tails are usually sufficient, for more complex ones, such as Titanium Gold can quickly get 12-15 tails that burn down at the same time!

What should be considered for our silver palm now?

Point 1 - the tips of the tail
As already described above, the tips of the tail are the lightest and should of course also appear silver. So in FWsim we take a silver tail.
We fully exhaust the flight time (2-100%) - this refers to all tails added to the effect, choose a relatively low density (75) and a small width (0.7).
We also set the spark burn time to be very short at 0.5 seconds, and the variance in the burn time should be barely noticeable at 14%. So at the tip of our tails the sparks burn for almost the same time. Then we choose the spark size. To get realistic effects, you should never go over 100% of the spark size for the tails. In this example we choose 70%.

Point 2 - The main silver tail
For the main tail we choose a slightly higher density (100) but a smaller width (0.3), as it should look like the tip pulls the main tail behind it.
We choose a longer burn time of the sparks (1.8) and a low variance (14%), since this is the main effect of our bomb, which is continuously improved in the further steps.
To make the effect appear fine and elegant, we choose a small spark size of 50%.

Point 3 - improvement of the main tail
As described above, a tail is always dynamic and glowing. We obtain this dynamic by adding further tails, which are serially similar from the basic data. So we add another tail that has exactly the same data as our main tail, with the difference that this flashes very slowly with a frequency of 2.7. This is how we create the “glowing” effect. We can optionally choose gold or silver, depending on which effect from reality we are orientating ourselves.

Point 4 - The afterglow of the effect
To make the effect even more realistic, we let a few sparks glow for a disproportionately long time after our main tail has burned out. We copy our tail from point 3, reduce the density to 25 and set the spark size up a little to 70. To achieve the desired effect, we now have to set the variance to approx. 115%, so that the individual sparks glow differently Long.

Point 5 - The glowing of the effect
To let the silver tail burn out, let’s add an orange tail as the last step. This is very thin (density 7, width 0.3), but burns longer than all other tails (2.5) and is therefore only really visible after the other tails have burned out. We choose a variance of 40 and a fine spark size of 50%. So the effect remains silver and is not influenced by color.

Example; different Tails for one Star

Realistic FWsim Silver Tail

Finished! Our silver tail effect should now look a lot more realistic than before!
How do you create your tails in FWsim? Do you want a simple selection window with which you can realistically display the tails directly and add them to your effects? Hit Reply and let me know!


Hello, possible to have a .fwe file of a product to have an example on which to work next?

Hello Srandro,

once you’ve downloaded your extra effects, you can already access some of my effects that contain these tails. You can find them at the author Marcus Athmer in the effect selection window!
I would recommend that you look at the crown effects!

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