How to Create Explosions in DaVinci Resolve 18

DaVinci Resolve Video Effects 28/09/2022 5 min read

Sometimes there’s nothing for it but to go into your video project with a bang. There are many reasons why you might want to add a DaVinci Resolve explosion effect to your project. Regardless, it’s a fun exercise and can be done in various styles. This guide will show you the basics you need to implement an explosion effect in your DaVinci Resolve 18 project.

We will also break down some of the top explosion visual effects you can access in the Motion Array library. This will make it easy for you to add them to your project no matter what style you’re aiming for. Keep reading to learn more.

Part 1: How to Create an Explosion Effect in DaVinci Resolve 18

Creating a DaVinci Resolve explosion effect doesn’t need to be rocket science. When it comes to creating your explosion effect, DaVinci Resolve has lots of tools to make it simple or even allow you to take it to the next level, depending on your skill set.

While this tutorial will guide you through the visuals of your explosion effect, remember that there’s a whole world of sound design to consider, too. So, depending on your project’s style, take a moment to consider the explosion SFX when you are planning your scene.

Choose Your Visuals

Start by bringing the shot to which you will be adding the explosion effect into your DaVinci timeline. This should sit on video track 1. Of course, you can get creative and might even use this effect as a transition or to make an object change or disappear. However, in our example, we will keep it simple to show you the fundamentals of bringing this effect to life.

Basic Adjustments on Your Explosion VFX

Click and drag the explosion visual from your media pool onto the second video track of your timeline.

Note that this tutorial will work with clips with a transparent alpha channel. If you’re using footage that doesn’t have that, you may need to add some extra steps to your workflow before continuing.

Now is the time to adjust the size and position of the effect using the inspector panel. You can scrub through the timeline to check that the edges of the effect continue to fall in the right spot in each frame. Of course, these are details you can also consider when planning the shots for your project. 

If you’re new to sound effects, you may choose to simply add some light adjustments to your clip or even opt for using explosion templates or DaVinci Resolve plugins. However, keep reading to find other ways to align your effect with your creative vision. As you practice, the time it takes you to create these effects will reduce as you hone your creative eye and even learn some DaVinci Resolve keyboard shortcuts.

Part 2: Top 6 Explosion Visual Assets from Motion Array

Of course, choosing your explosion visual is the most important step. Motion Array has various explosion effects to suit projects of all types, whether you need a DaVinci Resolve explosion effect or any other editing software! Here are our top picks so that you can quickly choose the best-suited effect for your project with less fuss.

1.  Epic Fuel Explosions on Alpha Pack

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This is the effect that has been used in the examples of this guide. The style is somewhat realistic, so it could be used on a wide range of projects. Like the other options on this list, this is a motion graphic asset with a transparent alpha channel. That means it is as simple as clicking and dragging to add it to my project timeline. 

2. Dramatic Speed Ramp Fire Reveal 

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This explosion effect has a realistic fiery style. The difference between this effect and the first one on our list is that it includes a speed ramp. That adds a stylized aspect ideal for high-energy projects where you want to add some drama to the big moment. 

3. Fiery Transition

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This effect is perfect if your explosion effect’s objective is to transition from one visual to another. Once again, this overlay will be easy to use as it already comes with a transparent alpha channel.

4. Magic Golden Particles Explosion Pack

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If you are taking a more liberal approach to the explosion effect, why not check out this pack? Not only does it give you multiple effect choices, but the explosion particles have an iridescent effect. This would be ideal for a supernatural or fantasy-themed project.

5. Small Burst of Flames

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If you’re looking for something more lowkey that doesn’t compromise on quality, this visual will add a small flame. This would fit perfectly into a scene that needs some drama that can be easily contained in a small space.

6. VFX Elements Pack

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Another stylized take on the explosion would be this VFX pack. Over 30 options of visuals are included in this download. They could be perfect for adding sparks, explosions, and puffs of smoke to your scene.

Part 3: Bring Your DaVinci Resolve Explosion Effect to Life

Now that you have the ideal explosion visuals and know how to add them to your scene, it’s time to make them more convincing. Again, there are several ways to do this, and it will largely depend on the style and budget of your project.

In DaVinci Resolve, effects can be added in several ways using different workspaces. When it comes to the adjustments you can make to your explosion effect, DaVinci Resolve has lots of options. We will focus on camera movement and color and/or brightness adjustments. However, feel free to go off-script and play around with the possibilities.

Add Some Camera Movement

Before you get started, remember to make sure you are happy with your effect’s size and position in each of the frames of your clip. Next, we will add an adjustment clip by going to the effects panel and clicking and dragging on the adjustment clip option. 

  1. Drop this on your timeline above your footage and the explosion visual, since you want the layer to affect everything underneath it.
  2. Now go to the Filter section of the Effects panel and find Camera Shake. Use the search bar to help you if you are having trouble locating it.
  3. Click and drag the effect onto your layer.
  4. You can adjust the style of this effect in the Inspector panel.
  5. Crop the adjustment clip so that its duration is only as long as you want the camera shake effect to be.
  6. Adjust the transition by clicking and dragging the small markers inwards in the top corners on both edges of the clip. For a more natural transition, make the left-hand transition shorter to mimic the sudden start of the explosion, and the right-hand transition last longer.

Adjust Your Color and Brightness

Explosions tend to be pretty bright. So, it only makes sense to adjust some of the color and brightness of your clip, too.

  1. Add another adjustment clip onto the top layer of your timeline.
  2. Now, head over to the Color workspace. Press Control + S to add another node to your color workspace. You could add a lot of detail to your color grade here. However, for a quick effect that mimics the increase in light during an explosion, you can simply increase the Offset wheel to increase the overall exposure. Adjusting the red and blue levels is also a great way to add a fiery tinge to your footage.

There’s tons of space to use your imagination when making your own DaVinci Resolve explosion effect. As you can see, the basics won’t take long to understand. After that, the world is your oyster. You can really push your creativity to the limit when making an explosion effect look stylized or even use it as a fun transition that contributes to your project’s story. Now all that’s left to do is to put it into action!