Have you ever seen the distortion that occurs in the atmosphere when enough heat is present? How can the smoke sim be used to distort similarly?
Well, yes, in post, in comp. It could be used as a 2D displacement map. Not sure it can be done using Blenders compositor though, I haven’t played around enough with the filters, dunno if there is a displacement node, but in AE or Nuke it’s easily done. (even though I’d personally use an all-in-comp solution for that kinda thing myself)
So there’s no solution within blender? :no:
As far as I know, Blender’s volumetric materials do not use an IOR value, you’d probably need to use round mesh-based particles with a refractive material that follow the smoke.
I believe you would need to use the material nodes if you were to fade the objects from refractive to simple transparency so as not to get hard edges.
I had planned on doing this in post processing, as the I was aware of the limitations of the volumetric shader. As it turns out, blender does have a displacement node. And I finally just found it’s purpose. I hadn’t been able to figure out how it worked before, but now it’s doing just fine. Thanks all!