How to get render times for smoke simulation under control?

I’m working on a little night time Arctic lake scene anim at the moment. For added realism, I added a smoke simulation with a bit of wind which creates thin white smoke over the water to simulate the typical winter mist over Arctic water.
Problem is, my test frame renders at 50% with 1024 samples in 01m29s without the mist (totally acceptable) but in 10m28s with the mist. I didn’t dare try rendering full res with mist yet but it’s clear that the render time for the whole anim at full res would be way over the top with mist.

I already tried the noise reduction but that just makes everything super ugly. It totally ruins the mist effect…

What could I do to get the render times down without losing the mist effect? And without spending $10k+ on a badass rendering machine ;).

Actually there is no default method to this - at least to my knowledge :stuck_out_tongue:

But you may try some of the following things:

  • Use the smallest smoke domain possible to prevent unnecessary calculations, enable “adaptive domain”
  • use as few light sources as possible
  • cut every bit of smoke that is not visible by the camera (remodel your domain if needed)
  • Don’t create “real” mist - use some smoke images (alpha channel!) and deform them dynamically to get a floating, animated mist effect
  • or maybe add the smoke effect somehow in postproduction?

Since volumetric rendering is quite complex your renders will be significally slower when using a real smoke volume, no matter what you do :frowning: