Can anyone recommend a good Cycles smoke/cloud tutorial?

For the last few days I’ve been banging my head against the wall looking at all sorts of smoke/cloud tutorials. Almost none are for Cycles. Many are for 2.5 or other Blender Internal-only version where the interface has so many discrepancies from the current 2.71 that when things go wrong I don’t know how to track down the cause.

The main issue seems to revolve around the domain material. (It seems the emitter has no material / takes it from the domain)
Density:1 gives me a solid cube, while Density:0 gives me no cube and no smoke either. I think the clouds or voxel texture is supposed to factor between this all/nothing state but how to connect this is where I get lost.
Also my smoke always shows up black in the viewport while everyone else’s is gray.

The best two tutorials I’ve found so far:
Blender Guru - Introduction to Smoke Simulation
Well explained but it’s for 2.5, outdated

Blender, Cycles - Volumetric Clouds with Smoke Sim.
Author gets awesome results, and ultimately this is what I want to do (clouds). Unfortunately the author goes way too fast and seems to assume viewers already know how to make smoke. I think I’m not getting some critical steps.

If anyone knows some good Cycles smoke/cloud tutorials please let me know. Or if you can offer pointers on the materials problem - please!

Try this. Dunno if you’ve found this yet, but it’s pretty comprehensive.

Thanks, that did seem pretty straightforward. I followed the whole thing, made the shader just for the hell of it, but still no smoke is rendering for me. It’s bizarre. Here is my .blend, hoping someone can take a look and see if I did something wrong or if my Blender config is messed up. I would be very grateful.

I followed that same tutorial some time back, I looked at your nodes and fiddled a bit and to be honest I can’t remember what I did, they are virtually the same as mine, but here are your nodes working, I think it’s a the difference between using the color vs. value output of an attribute node:

I turned volume sampling way down, step size to .5, max steps to 32.

smoke-and-fire-in-cycles-not-working-a05mod.blend (588 KB)
3mins, 160 samples, i5

Thank you Photox. I appreciate you taking a look at that.
Unfortunately when I open your .blend and render here’s what I get:

So now I know there’s something wrong with my Blender installation or settings files.
I think I am going to have to back up my key shortcuts, trash the app, empty out Library and start over.
With your help at least I could determine it’s a problem with my system.

If anyone else has experienced this please tell me.
I am on OS X 10.8.5 running Blender 2.71 (confirmed the problem on both the stable release and an unofficial build)
ATI Radeon HD 4850 512 MB

Never mind my last post! I got to thinking “maybe the bake data is missing and that’s why - let me just try…” yep! It’s working now!
I guess if you don’t bake nothing shows up in Cycles whereas it does in BI?
I am very new to smoke and clearly have no idea what I’m doing, haha.

I’m putting together a checklist of things I need to make sure are set up right in order for Cycles smoke to be possible. Added baking to that list.:rolleyes:
Thanks again for your help in sorting this out.

Edit: Another thing I was doing wrong was checking “homogeneous volume” which is good for world fog but NOT for smoke.

You need to run the sim again, select the domain and hit alt-a, pause it, render

edit, I guess you figured it out.