is there anyway to make a realistic tornado or other cloud formation? ive tried particles and meshes but i cant get the right look.

it is all in the textures

[and it isn’t easy]

but a tornado can be made as several moving clouds with moving debris

I think you ought to be able to get reasonable lighting using meshes instead of halos, and using spot buffer shadows with some values which aren’t suited for shading solid objects

I made a pretty suitable Tornado once, that was animatable, but I lost the .blend. I know I used particle effects and Halo for the clouds. Zero 3D is correct though, it is all in the textures.

actually, i have a pretty good f5 tornado going on right now. its 4 slightly deformed cylinders w/ increasing nor and alpha values and you move out from the center, plus an cloud textured particle system, fading out over the life of the particle; this render is ao only, the blank planes are the ground and stormy sky. the red thing is a car for visual reference: