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The Slap

Comp Guide

A mighty Fish Tank

Motion Graphics Fusion

Watch on Vimeo!

Creating a mighty fine looking fishtank in BMD Fusion 9 & Fusion 16

Ahoy the me hearties! You have come here because yer want to learn Fusion and create yourself a fine looking mighty fish tank or simply speaking, a cube. Well then, let's see what the Pirates of ConFusion plundered this time....yaaaarr!

This is a guide to the Slap-Comp released on my PatreonSlap-Comps are usually maximum Full-HD. In this case, because the subject is rather small, it is difficult to avoid anti-aliasing artifacts. Especially with SSAO and Volume Fogs. Those artifacts would be diminished when working in double resolution and only resizing for final output.

Before we dive, it is a good idea to get you familiar with some PoC terminology:


Pirates of ConFusion. A horde of creative pirates looking for less confusion and perhaps a little more enlightenment. 

Rum Flow

This is the area in Fusion where you connect nodes. The normal people call it "flow".

Blow your Flow

When using too many nodes for something that could be done with less nodes.


A comp that happened by accident. Usually done quickly without going into time costly details. Sort of like a proof of concept.



A villainous person, or useless pixels/nodes and whatnot.

Shiver me  Timbers

Expression of surprise.



Treasure or something incredibly useful.


Pure awesomeness or cool.


The seven seas

Refering to the vast ocean of knowledge and information that needs to explored, plundered and brought to the people.



Well, simply sexy


Something beyond comprehension. 

Let's dive in!

Be warned, this is not a Fusion beginner tutorial, nor (like they promise you) a "Master Fusion"or a "from zero to hero" bait humbug. However even beginner will pick up great saucy tips, for sure. There is quite a lot going on in here and it might look daunting to the new Fusion artist, but you will eventually get it. If you want to follow along and haven't installed Fusion, steer your ship to

and do so.  The free version will do just fine (  Well with the new release the free version of Fusion will only be available in DavinciResolve Free).

AVAST! A first test showed crazy speed increase in Fusion 16. Just saying. 



As a Pirate, it is always a good idea to peak through the spyglass and see where you are heading to. Below you see the Rum-Flow.

If you watched my vast Fusion 9 course LeBucksRing, you will already be familiar with my workflow. See the individual sections. Always check out the navigator in the screenshots to know where I am. We will be moving from left to right. Additionally, I have provided you a comp to download for each part, so that the apprentice can slowly groove in :

BMD Fusion Workflow

The cube



Wireless Camera



Render me Timbers!

Our first render element! Doesn't look too impressive, does it?


A cube has 6 sides, one would think...

The advantage of Fusion's Cube3D:

  •  Individual Materials for each side of the cube.

  • This is saucy because it allows you to even blend out sides you don't need.

  • Color each side differently to use it as an RGB mask and perhaps even more.

  • Assign different Material IDs to each side to use with Material-ID 's AUX channels

Fusin Cube3D, Fusion 3D

Shiver me Timbers: Unfortunately it seems that the Cube's Material ID's AUX doesn't work due to a bug

Moving on, I created the water tank. I decided on two basic elements. The front walls and the top for the water surface. However, while writing this guide I could organize my thoughts, optimize here and there and eventually took a slightly different approach.

Fusion Water shader

I've created an extended water surface element, merged it using the Atop operation (more on this later), and an additional mask to cut away the remaining bits. This way we ensure that the water surface always fits. The wave effect around the walls we will do later using a 2D displacement. That way we can add additional swag, sticking nicely to the waves. 


The materials for each element are ridiculously simple and grouped above the Cubes.


Rope-less or...wireless

After each Renderer you will spot some fancy colored nodes. These are wireless nodes. I like to name them:

OUT_where is my Rum  ( The one that goes into the Wireless node)

IN_Here it is Captain ( The one that goes out into the wide world )

I used them a lot to avoid drunken Spider-Man action. Note that the wireless node needs to be copy/pasted as an instance. Also it is not clear whether it is better to always copy the main wireless node. I feel plagued with scurvy copying an instanced instance of an instanced instance. So to be safe I always copy the original wireless node.

Fusion Wireless node

Water foam-ish

Render me Timbers!

The Foam Element


To replace or not to replace..that's the question.

Now let's talk about the first special technique here. Again, check out the navigator to see where I am fooling around.

You see that I replace the material of our water surface with some foam like texture. The problem is that if I would simply replace it, it would put the texture on all sides reveling our previously hidden sides. To avoid that you can set the Alpha Mode to Keep in the Replace node. Now at first you might think that this looks strange, but it is important to have a closer look at the Alpha. Press A inside the viewer and see that it only shows the top surface.

That's good , because if we later add an AlphaMultiply/Divide node, it will through the scallywags off the ship, so to speak. Now because I changed my approach, this becomes obsolete as I am now using a mask anyway. I think this Replace/KeepAlpha method is very useful though, so I share it with you.

BMD Fusion Alpha, Replace Material

RGB Mask

Render me Timbers!

The RGB Mask Element


See Part02 comp

What is Red, Green, and Blue?

Well, blue is someone who had the right amount of rum. The next render element is a RGB mask for our Cube.

I was expecting to use this much more but ended up using the water surface element itself as a mask as it was near by.

Nonetheless I used this RGB mask for the sides. RGB masks are very useful in a sense that you can use the bitmaps native channel selection for R, G, B without any anti-aliasing artifacts.

BMD Fusion 16 RGB Mask

Without and with AlphaDivide


Choosing the red side


Render me Timbers!

The Bubbles Element! 


Oh well, those fine looking mighty bubbles must be coming from the rum.

Bubbles are screaming to be done using Fusion's Particle System. In fact, if you use the pEmitter's style in Brush-Mode, it will have a rum bubble preset waiting for you. Although I barely use brushes, they are perfect for this kind of distance to the camera. Other than that, nothing really special going on here.


Water splashes

Render me Timbers!

The Wave-Splashes Element


You ought to add some production value!

This is going to be a little of an adventure. The waves splashing against the glass walls are so saucy, it gives that whole thing there some "Production Value" one might say. It is actually quite simple to do, and you will find that sometimes you don't need to fire up the "Houdini" cannons. On the right you can see how the stream for the water splashes looks like.

Let's take a look at each Particle node:

BMD Fusion 16 Particle system
BMD Fusion ParticleEmitter

A horizontal wish wash..

BMD Fusion ParticleEmitter

..falling into the abyss

BMD Fusion Particle Bounce

Harrr..not anymore you... scurvy...

First, a pEmitter with a simple pTurbulence. The key here is to make the pEmitter's Number animated as seen on the left top (Spline Editor)


Adding a directional force


Adding a pFriction and a pBounce

BMD Fusion Particle turbulence

Perhaps a little more bit  more jumpy?


Give 'em Rum, and they'll jump...

BMD Fusion ParticleSpawn

..and bubble!


Adding extra turbo!


Add some Vortex!


And finally some pSpawn!


Key here is to delay birth by cranking StartAge up. Also I reduced the Probability because even with minimal Number, there were too many Particles. You cannot set pSpawn number below 1.0.

Now if you would render it, it would look like this. For our little cube it would probably be enough to render this with some motion blur.


However, I want to show you what you can do with some Rum and some extra love.


So how did I do this. First I used a CopyAux node* to extract the Velocity channel into the RGB channel. Doing so allows me to FrameAverage it because it was too tensed and wobbly. I told it to relax, but it just didn't.

The FrameAverage is very useful to get rid of flicker such as seen in GI passes.

Next I applied a VectorDistortion. You could probably also use a VectorMotionBlur. After that I did something which I want to put into the "voodoo"category, as most people probably never gonna use it. I used a PseudoColor node to cycle through the colors in a way that would cause some very bright areas to pop out. Those bright sparks will make it look like reflections. Well,  don't ask me how I came up with this. 


*only available in Fusion Studio. If you are on the free version use a Boolean Tool instead.

When working with Particles, it is a good idea to cache the particles to disk. This also help increase performance when scrubbing through the timeline. You can do that by right clicking on the node, then Cache to Disk.


Render me Timbers!

The empty rum barrel!