To give myself a break from artwork I dedicated an evening to smoke and flame tests in After Effects. I was assisted by the Jeff Foster effects book previously mentioned (including stock footage from the accompanying disk) and some exercises online. I was able to produce a cloud fly through using three Photoshop layers without too much effort but the problem remains on how to generate a plume or column of smoke issuing from a source such as a cigarette or burning balloon. What I have produced will be useful for general cloud cover during the early sequences with the balloon and possibly for the steam train as well but I need something darker and much more controllable for other parts of the animation. A number of online sources recommend using particle playground for these kind of effects. The textbook by Jeff Foster has a plume tutorial but having completed this, the effect is not to my liking and looks too static. I will either modify this exercise or have a bash at Particle Playground in AE, prior to pass one of the animation. I have found some stock footage of an open flame which will be suitable but will need to have a go at implementing this with the smoke columns once I produce something I like.