Hello and thank you for your time,
So for laval flow, I will take care of that in 3D.
For exploding lava and sparks rising and falling, that can be done on AE with particles.
But for billowing smoke rising up, what would be the best way to produce this?
In terms of style, it does not have to be super realistic like in 3D animation but more textbook-like in graphics. (please see above).
I know there is a great tutorial by Video Copilot that can help but that seems to only animate the smoke only after it has been released into the sky. Unless I animate the smoke by scaling up, and up with liquify...?
Are there some great tuts or tips or recommendations you can suggest?
I would use a combination of Particular from Trapcode and 3-D. Particular can do the particles and the smoke, your 3-D app will do the flow.
Some of the best tutorials for Particular live on the Red Giant website.
Just keep experimenting. It's easy enough to produce al lthese things with Particular, you're just gonna need a few layers with individualyl different settings.