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Give Turbulent Displace a try.
If you want more control over the displacment, you can use Displacement Map, and build a grayscale map that defines the displacement inside a nested comp using Fractal Noise, masks/mattes, etc. This gets tricker, but can give you some really nice results if you do it right.
didgi, bookmarked that one. Thanks for the link! This is lucid explanation of a practical method to simulate this particular variety of the Schlieren effect.
The most common error made with heat haze effects is the application of blur. Heat haze is a refraction phenomenon, the hot air acts as a lens. It is not a loss of apparent clarity or resolution due to blurring.