Everybody knows that embarrassing “nope” moment in the movie theater when CGI explosions just don’t look real at all. Fortunately, science has helped Hollywood improve things in recent years — and this video shows how.

This film by Theodore Kim, professor of Media Arts, Technology and Computer Science at the University of California, explains how the software developed by him and three of his colleagues helped movie makers to create way better — and more realistic — smoke effects. The tool, called Wavelet Turbulence, has been used by many filmmakers to generate realistic swirling smoke and fiery explosions that are more detailed, easier to control and faster to create. You can see their results in Avatar, Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, and The Amazing Spider-Man, and in a growing number of other major Hollywood films.