Cloud Nucleus (more volumetric cloud goodness)
My third attempt at making realistic clouds, this time their less raggedy and more bumpy.

The clouds interacting with the buildings turned out surprisingly well, the only (easily fixable) problem was very minor and involved clouds reflected in the windows (how Blender treats reflected rays going through z-transparent meshes), not the clouds themselves (which I found was probably me having the reydepth too low). There were also some problems with sky showing through at the building edges but that was greatly reduced in the Blender compositor…

You’ll need to see the full size image to see all the detail. But I think this turned out really well, and this time it only took 11 hours and 30 minutes to render.:wink:

Wow, looking great! I’ve been dreaming about creating clouds for many years - this is looking really promising. So realistic!

I’m not sure though what you mean by clouds reflected in windows (I can’t see any such reflections). If I can wish anything for your next render, it would be more transparent clouds and, of course, an animation.

Keep up the good work
/ Mats

It would be really cool if you were to upload the blend file :wink:

I think this will be my last cloud test, so uploading the .blend file is now a possibility.

Okay, .blend file for the whole scene here, complete with compositing setup used to fix some problem with the building edges and the clouds (note the compositing setup can be used to fix small .jpg artifacts too.)

NOTE: Larger raydepths makes reflected and refracted clouds work a lot better, I forgot I only had the raydepth at 1 in the raymirror settings for the windows.

hey cyborg, long time no talk. Anywho, those clouds look very nice and fluffy, but I feel that you could put some more color into them… After all they ARE water droplets with sun reflected on them for their nice color. To me they look a little bland, all being the same couple of colors and little variation. Since I know NOTHING about particles I wanted to ask if you could add a small bit of reflection and transparency to simulate some type of water, then you could have more realistic looking clouds IMO. But I assume you have already thought of this? It would be interesting if you could do that with particles.

They are a little transparent to an extent, and these are basically planes parented to a particle system.

Reflections??? I have never seen a cloud in real life that has noticable reflections, plus it would jack up the rendertimes significantly. Trust me, I have seen them up close in an airplane. A little reflection will probably not help the realism or is worth making rendertimes twice as long.

Same here, but clouds ARE made with water droplets, and water reflects a small bit to an extent, thats how you can get rainbows and such. I wasn’t talking about an amazingly high amount of reflection but there is SOME. The fluffiness and shape look nice but the color is just bland.

That could probably be done with a build with Broken’s blurry reflections and setting the blur way up, but you have to know one thing, would it really improve the realism enough for it to be of practical use. I could use blurry reflections very subtly, but if it bounced between the individual planes all over it could really jack up rendertimes.

About rainbows, rainbows are formed when sunlight is split into its many colors as it goes into raindrops, you usually only see them in nature when it’s raining, it’s more of the rain that forms the rainbows, not the clouds, plus you need to make the rainbow yourself because Blender doesn’t disperse light into all the different colors.

About the bland color, the color here is what you often see in clouds during the middle of the day, that was the time of day I was after because it would very well show the shading. I could do evening or atmospheric lighting, which would be more interesting, but that’ll probably be when I use this technique for full scenes.

These look great CD! Thanks for the .blend file. I still think the FS clouds technique will get better and far faster rendering results, though. 11 hours and 30 minutes is still quite heavy for this single frame. Great job, though. I think that by the time Blender gets volumetrics, people will have found more practical ways to create things like clouds. Or at least have a workable alternative. Thanks for setting what seems to be a new standard. I will definitely be checking out the .blend file.

If that is the case I do hope the Blender renderer is at least optimized for rendering large amounts of transparent planes, though I do have to say I would welcome volumetrics when someone codes it.

I looked at the video on the FS cloud technique, there was one think I really noticed, there were no shadows from the clouds. And some of the things mentioned in the video sounds like it would require python knowledge I know 11 hours and 30 minutes is heavy, but all you really need is enough planes to give the clouds a natural looking shape. And you don’t need any python knowledge either.

Now that is a great cloud effect.


Free_Ality, see the first post, it took 11 hours and 30 minutes to render (less then half the time of the last one)

These are the best volumetric clouds I can ever remember seeing in Blender. Contratulations.
11+ hours on the internal render though? Ouch. Hopefully some experts can optimize it, either the file or Blender itself.

What is the FS cloud technique?

Those are the best I have ever seen! I would forget about adding reflections, the spherical shape of the water drops, not to mention their size, would make such a reflection turn into a wide angle specularity aka high diffuse value. Just use reference pics.

Now, try to work on the self-shadowing of the foreground clouds… I think it’s the only thing you are missing :stuck_out_tongue:


dgebel, KevinW: Thanks, I’m glad you think these were the best clouds ever made in Blender.

But really thank Brecht for making this possible, if he never coded in SSS, I wouldn’t have been able to make this like I did. It’s because of the SSS that this was possible.

About the self shadowing, I’m not sure if it would be the light position that would prevent the appearence of self shadowing in this case, but if the cloud position and lamps are right they should cast and recieve shadow because it’s mesh based and not made of halos.

Yeah I know it’s meshed based. I think it’s just the light position as you said.

Great job anyways, just wish we had a way to optimize the render times more, but I could say that about almost anything in CG. Haha, the never ending push against time :slight_smile:


wow looks cool i like it would look great with lots of skyscrapers

cool Cyborg! thanks!

2 Cyborg Dragon: Awesome clouds. Can you share .blend file please?

Have you looked up the page, I already posted it. Or go to my gallery, it’s there.