How do I make fire, fog, smoke, or explosions?
Yes, I know that I should seriously consider shooting real fire, fog, or smoke (though maybe not explosions) myself, because the real thing is often so much better and easier than simulations. And, even easier, I could use stock footage like that from Detonation FIlms.
But what if I really want to make fire, fog, smoke, or explosions within After Effects?
There are some links to a few good resources about making and compositing fire, explosions, smoke, fog, and muzzle flashes in After Effects Help.
There are many other good resources here: "Fire in After Effects"
See also "Muzzle flashes and gun fire in After Effects," compiled by Rich Young at Pro Video Coalition.