28 Top-Notch Smoke Overlays Filmmakers Must Have (Plus Tutorial)

Video Effects 17/07/2020 6 min read

It can be hard to find the right smoke overlay for your project. Whether you need it to create an effect for a foggy scene or an explosion, or you want to use it as an element to create a composite effect with other footage or titles, then it’s important you have one with the right shape and movement. 

Luckily for you, this article will break down 28 smoke overlays that are available to download. Not only are you bound to find one that’s right for you, but you will see how you can start using the many smoke effects on the list that are available as transparent smoke overlays. That means that whether you’re using Premiere Pro, After Effects, Final Cut Pro X, or DaVinci Resolve, they’re ready to use straight away. 

Part 1: Our Top 28 Smoke Overlays

1. ​Smoke Blows Through And Clears

If you’re looking for an effect with wisps of smoke blowing in from left to right, this might be the stock motion graphic for you. The file is a transparent smoke overlay as it comes with a transparent alpha channel, so it’s ready to place over your footage as soon as it’s downloaded.

Download Smoke Blows Through And Clears Now

2. ​Smoke Stream Background Loop

This effect includes a flowing stream of smoke from the edge of the frame. This would be ideal for creating the illusion of the smoke coming off of a specific object just out of frame.

Download Smoke Stream Background Loop Now

3. Filling Smoke​

This overall rising smoke effect that builds to cover the screen will be ideal for any projects with a fire or explosion scene.

Download Filling Smoke​ Now

4. ​Slow Smoke

Intricate streams of smoke waft upwards to fill the screen in this overlay, which has an alpha background.

Download ​Slow Smoke Now

5. ​Looming Smoke

This overlay shows a soft stream of smoke covering the frame from one side to another. This would be ideal to create an eerie atmosphere in any video project!

Download Looming Smoke Now

6. ​Smoke Transition Package

This pack includes three variations of smoke that will work great as an overlay or even transition effect in your next video.

Download Smoke Transition Package Now

7. ​Smoke Impact Pack

These seven stock motion graphics are a great way to increase the production value on your next project. Each sequence shows a plume of smoke creating a new and different interesting shape.

Download Smoke Impact Pack Now

8. Smoke On Floor

If you need an effect where wisps of smoke swirl around one edge of your frame, then this effect might be for you. 

Download Smoke On Floor Now

9. ​Smoke From The Heat

When you need to show smoke or steam coming from a specific area like a coffee cup or cooking pan, it can be hard to find a smoke overlay that will be convincing. This effect is already in the right shape, ready to be resized for your sequence.

Download Smoke From The Heat Now

10. Colorful Smoke Frame​

This smoke motion graphic would be ideal for a title or intro sequence. The clip is ready to be placed over your footage!

Download Colorful Smoke Frame Now

11. ​Colored Smoke Collection

These six sequences show large plumes of smoke rising in colorful variations. These would be great for a fantasy project with explosions or don’t forget that they could be a powerful element in building a composite effect.

Download Colored Smoke Collection Now

12. Cloud Of Smoke Effect

For a big cloud of smoke rushing towards the camera, look no further! This smoke overlay would be a great way to introduce urgency to a scene or could be used as a creative transition.

Download Cloud Of Smoke Effect Now

13. Crawling Smoke Effect

This clip is ideal if you need a layer of smoke that slowly takes over the whole screen. The movement of the wisps of smoke as they fill the frame would also make it a great texture if you want to create another composite effect.

Download Crawling Smoke Effect Now

14. ​Galaxy Ink Smoke Background Pack

These five unusual clips show colorful smoke strands creating mystical swirls across the frame.

Download Galaxy Ink Smoke Background Pack Now

15. ​Big Smoke Wave

This ring of smoke would be ideal for an explosion scene, or a project that includes fantastical or supernatural events.

Download ​Big Smoke Wave Now

16. Whirling Colorful Smoke Collection

Building up to a dense, smokey background, this overlay shows a central cavity pushing out different colors of smoke. This collection includes the effect in four colors.

Download Whirling Colorful Smoke Collection Now

17. ​Haze

If your project needs a thinner sheet of smoke that pulses and moves with the wind or air, then check this one out.

Download Haze Now

18. ​Puffs Of Smoke On Alpha

Little puffs of smoke look like they appear from nowhere and then expand across the screen in this clip, all on an alpha channel background.

Download Puffs Of Smoke On Alpha Now

19. ​Horizontal Smoke

A soft, clean waft of smoke flows from one side of the frame to the other, before floating offscreen again. This is another clip that is ideal if you have a very specific style of smoke overlay in mind, or if you want to use the clip to create a composite effect.

Download ​Horizontal Smoke Now

20. Fog Smoke​

This effect shows an eerie fog rolling in across the screen. Don’t forget to adjust the blend mode on your editing software to make the clip’s background transparent for any stock motion graphics that come on a black screen, like this one.

Download Fog Smoke​ Now

21. Realistic Smoke 3D

In this clip fast-moving wafts of smoke dance around the center of the screen. This effect would be ideal if you want to resize and position your overlay to a specific area of your frame.

Download Realistic Smoke 3D Now

22. Pastel Smoke

If you were hoping for bold, pastel tones on your wafts of smoke, then look no further. This effect comes on an alpha channel background, and will save you a lot of time if you were planning on color correcting a monotone smoke overlay! 

Download Pastel Smoke Now

23. Realistic Smoke​

This collection includes six varieties of realistic smoke overlays that will work perfectly for any scenes in your project where a fire is involved.

Download Realistic Smoke​ Now

24. ​Wispy Smoke Loop

These eerie wafts of smoke fill the screen and would be ideal for creating a spooky, fog-filled sequence.

Download Wispy Smoke Loop Now

25. Smoke On Transparent Background

Intricate plumes of smoke billow across the screen in this overlay. This effect is ideal for anyone looking to bring out the interesting shapes that the individual strands of smoke make as they fill up the frame. 

Download Smoke On Transparent Background Now

26. ​Smoke Rings

This stock motion graphic shows rings of smoke swirling across the screen. This clip is an interesting way to include the texture of smoke if you’re looking for a creative overlay or composite element.

Download Smoke Rings Now

27. ​Circular Smoke Explosion

Here a billow of smoke erupts from the center of the frame, before dissipating. This element would be a great choice if you are building SFX for a magic spell, or a supernatural encounter.

Download ​Circular Smoke Explosion Now

28. ​Smoke Skull Terror

Swirling smoke joins to form a laughing skull before it rushes towards the camera. If you wanted a ready-made effect for your next spooky project, then you would struggle to find anything more on-theme!

Download Smoke Skull Terror Now

Part 2: How to Use Smoke Overlays in Videos

The great thing about transparent smoke overlays – those are the clips that come with a transparent alpha channel – is that you can start using effect on a range of editing software without much adjustment. In this short tutorial, you will see how to use a smoke overlay with an alpha channel in After Effects using the Crawling Smoke Effect. 

Step 1: Add Smoke Effect to Composition and Adjust 

1. Create a composition with the footage or title you want to overlay the smoke on top of.

2. Drag the smoke overlay to sit on the layer above where you have already added your footage.

3. Resize your smoke overlay to fit the composition dimensions, and cut it down to fit the duration of your footage if necessary.

Step 2: Make color and transparency adjustments

You may find the best way to make your smoke sit more realistically in your sequence is to aim and get the exposure and color balance to match your scene. Here are some tips on doing that in After Effects.

1. Adjust the transparency of your smoke layer. If you want the effect to be very subtle, do this step after your color adjustments.

2. Search for the Curves effect in your Effects Search Bar. There are many techniques for this step, but Curves will allow you to target exposure and color balance in one tool.

3. Drag the Curves effect your footage. 

4. Adjust the RGB curve to change the exposure of your smoke overlay.

5. Isolate each color channel of the curve via the drop-down menu to adjust the color balance of your smoke overlay.

As you have seen, there are plenty of smoke overlay effects out there, and one of them is sure to be right for your next project. Plus, you’ve learned about some of the ways that they can add visual interest to a project, even if you don’t plan on using a smoke overlay in the traditional way. Whatever the genre of your project, hopefully, you feel confident that you’ve picked up some tips and resources that will make your visuals even stronger in your next video.

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