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pitrie17
08-16-2007, 08:24 PM
Hi all. I have some questions about creating some realistic clouds. I know this isn't a new topic at all, but just curious what others do, would do, and suggest.

This is the kind of cloud that I'm trying to create...

http://www.freehillproductions.com/C4D/reference%20image.jpeg

Let me explain a little of some of the ways that I've tried. I've tried using an emitter and moving it around to try and form that shape, then having pyrocluster as my particle. The latest that I've tried was using loft nurbs to create a rough outline of the cloud

http://www.freehillproductions.com/C4D/shape.jpeg

Then used mograph matrix and cloner object to put thinking particles on it then used pyrocluster as my particle again. With this approach I got a little closer. But for the most part, I can't seem to make the clouds the same texture, density, etc... as the reference image. Here are some of my tries.

http://www.freehillproductions.com/C4D/pyrocluster.jpeg

http://www.freehillproductions.com/C4D/stretched.jpeg

http://www.freehillproductions.com/C4D/density.jpeg


So as you can see...basically just a puff of smoke is all I've been able to generate. I was watching Harry Potter 2 & 3 the other night and the opening sequence (HP2), and the Quidditch match (HP3) where Harry encounters the Dementors (I know...I'm a nerd) are full of some awesome clouds. How do vfx houses and the like create those? Is it better for me to go out and take some pictures or video of clouds and use cards or camera projection instead of trying to create them with C4D? So basically, I'm asking the best approach to create realistic clouds. Also, as you can see in my test renders, every single time I try to have shadows in the pyrocluster it crashes my system. Don't know why, but hence, the lack of shadows. Sorry for the long post but this problem of realistic clouds has been bothering me for some time now. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

AdamT
08-16-2007, 09:41 PM
I would use photos unless you need a lot of interaction. You could try the sky module if you have it, but I haven't had much success making realistic clouds with it. Ozone3/Vue6 can do a nice job, though.

spirozero
08-16-2007, 11:07 PM
I would use photos unless you need a lot of interaction. You could try the sky module if you have it, but I haven't had much success making realistic clouds with it. Ozone3/Vue6 can do a nice job, though.

You have xStream 6.5, don't you Adam? Do Cinema and xStream play well together?

pitrie17
08-16-2007, 11:09 PM
I would use photos unless you need a lot of interaction. You could try the sky module if you have it, but I haven't had much success making realistic clouds with it. Ozone3/Vue6 can do a nice job, though.

There needs to be some interaction, like a slight fly through, but no displacement of the clouds or anything.

bandini
08-17-2007, 12:22 AM
I posted some good tips in a thread here:

http://mograph.net/board/index.php?showtopic=9269&st=0

If I have time, I have another method in mind for making nice clouds with pyrocluster I may try out tonight.

LucentDreams
08-17-2007, 12:23 AM
you looking for something like this from PC? You will definitely have to figure out why shadows aren't working as clouds can't be done without shadows.

you have to make pyro use more steps (also speeds pyro up) and have more volume. Lighting and shadow settings make a big different too. Also fewer but larger particles are typically more effective than many smaller particles. too many small particles making a volume tends to mean a lot of spherical shapes or forms showing up in your cloud.

http://kaithestuffguy.com/images/cloud.jpg
http://kaithestuffguy.com/images/cloud2.jpg

soccerrprp
08-17-2007, 12:38 AM
All of you smart and creative people are killin' me!:scream:

Another fun and creative thing I feel I need to dive into...Thanks!

Richard

pitrie17
08-17-2007, 03:30 PM
you looking for something like this from PC? You will definitely have to figure out why shadows aren't working as clouds can't be done without shadows.

you have to make pyro use more steps (also speeds pyro up) and have more volume. Lighting and shadow settings make a big different too. Also fewer but larger particles are typically more effective than many smaller particles. too many small particles making a volume tends to mean a lot of spherical shapes or forms showing up in your cloud.

http://kaithestuffguy.com/images/cloud.jpg
http://kaithestuffguy.com/images/cloud2.jpg


Holy Crap! That was done with pyrocluster? That's exactly what I'm trying to create. Can you elaborate a little more on your process? For example, about how many particles do you have in each of those cloud setups? How are you generating them? What are your light settings, general PC settings (step, volume, density)? And how did you create the overall shape of the cloud? That looks really really good. I know you probably don't want to divulge too much how you created them, but any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

EricNS
08-17-2007, 03:54 PM
Holy Crap! That was done with pyrocluster? That's exactly what I'm trying to create. Can you elaborate a little more on your process? For example, about how many particles do you have in each of those cloud setups? How are you generating them? What are your light settings, general PC settings (step, volume, density)? And how did you create the overall shape of the cloud? That looks really really good. I know you probably don't want to divulge too much how you created them, but any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

If I can speak for Kai...

This set up is really easy. You need:

-10-15 particles generated with the standard emitter.
-A Pyrocluster Tracer with a world step size of 10-20.
-One strong back light with shadows.

Now for the Pyrocluster volumes settings, starting with the default values:

-Globals: Density 40 to 60, light gray to white color gradient.
-Shape: Use a large radius.
-Illumination: Active, Diffuse mode.
-Shadow: Self shadows. Transparency 20-40%, Dark blue Ambient color.
-Noise: set the Detail to 5.

This should create clouds similar to the ones on Kay's image.

Cheers!

pitrie17
08-17-2007, 03:58 PM
I posted some good tips in a thread here:

http://mograph.net/board/index.php?showtopic=9269&st=0

If I have time, I have another method in mind for making nice clouds with pyrocluster I may try out tonight.

Bandini, thanks for that link. I think I stumbled across that earlier during my searching but a lot of it at the time was over my head. Your last post is actually very helpful. Very helpful indeed. I do have 2 questions though. You mentioned that step size on both your PC and shadows are very important. Can you give a number reference as to how high or low to set such values? Like, if my PC size is 50, what size should my step sizes be, or if it is 300, etc...? And second, with the cloud mapping method, do you just create the profile of the cloud or is that a top down view? If that makes sense. The shape of the clouds I'd like to create is kind of important and your first example (post 10) is close to how I'd like to create them. Thanks for your help! I really appreciate it.

pitrie17
08-17-2007, 04:01 PM
If I can speak for Kai...

This set up is really easy. You need:

-10-15 particles generated with the standard emitter.
-A Pyrocluster Tracer with a world step size of 10-20.
-One strong back light with shadows.

Now for the Pyrocluster volumes settings, starting with the default values:

-Globals: Density 40 to 60, light gray to white color gradient.
-Shape: Use a large radius.
-Illumination: Active, Diffuse mode.
-Shadow: Self shadows. Transparency 20-40%, Dark blue Ambient color.
-Noise: set the Detail to 5.

This should create clouds similar to the ones on Kay's image.

Cheers!

Great! I will try that now. How exactly do you create the shape of the cloud with a standard emitter? Because it definitely has a shape that doesn't appear to be "emitted" if you know what I mean? Do you move the emitter around real quick or is there another method to "mold and shape" your clouds?

bandini
08-17-2007, 04:28 PM
Bandini, thanks for that link. I think I stumbled across that earlier during my searching but a lot of it at the time was over my head. Your last post is actually very helpful. Very helpful indeed. I do have 2 questions though. You mentioned that step size on both your PC and shadows are very important. Can you give a number reference as to how high or low to set such values? Like, if my PC size is 50, what size should my step sizes be, or if it is 300, etc...? And second, with the cloud mapping method, do you just create the profile of the cloud or is that a top down view? If that makes sense. The shape of the clouds I'd like to create is kind of important and your first example (post 10) is close to how I'd like to create them. Thanks for your help! I really appreciate it.

I usually start with a really low step size, like 10 (generally, PC and shadow step size should be the same) and then I bump it up until I reach a good balance between detail and render speed. Depending on the size of your puffs, your step size really can range from 1 to 100. There really is no "right" setting.

The cloud mapping method... Those are top down maps. Basically, I stack them on top of each other, and use matter waves to generate the particles, allowing the b&w values to control particle distribution and size. There's another, simpler, method I was thinking of for doing this - for having much more control over particle distribution in a volume, but I didn't have a chance to test it out last night.

bandini
08-17-2007, 04:33 PM
One other thing to mention...

To create some really nice, believable clouds, you're probably going to need a combination of methods. Possibly create the main volume by building a mesh and filling it with particles, and then create some of the smaller, less dense parts by cloud mapping.

Don't expect to to just fill one volume with one PC setting and get perfect results.

pitrie17
08-17-2007, 04:51 PM
More helpful hints. I'm testing those out. I do realize that it's not just click and you're done. It does require some tweaking, but this defnitely puts me on the right path. I look forward to seeing your other way of creating clouds.

abdelouahabb
08-17-2007, 05:53 PM
hi
and what about SKY? you can use any vertex object to cloudes!
it's simple, just make your object bigger and make a cloud (paint it) then bring your object in the (cube) of clouds, then in object manager make the object as child of the cloud, you'll get a good cloud :thumbsup:

AdamT
08-17-2007, 06:33 PM
You have xStream 6.5, don't you Adam? Do Cinema and xStream play well together?
Still using the PLE which seems pretty reliable. E-on was supposed to contact me after Siggraph re: the show special ... still waiting. :hmm:

LucentDreams
08-17-2007, 07:20 PM
If I can speak for Kai...

This set up is really easy. You need:

-10-15 particles generated with the standard emitter.
-A Pyrocluster Tracer with a world step size of 10-20.
-One strong back light with shadows.

Now for the Pyrocluster volumes settings, starting with the default values:

-Globals: Density 40 to 60, light gray to white color gradient.
-Shape: Use a large radius.
-Illumination: Active, Diffuse mode.
-Shadow: Self shadows. Transparency 20-40%, Dark blue Ambient color.
-Noise: set the Detail to 5.

This should create clouds similar to the ones on Kay's image.

Cheers!

Man you are good.

A few minor corrections/additions,
-theres also a very dim light for the front side, maybe 20%
-The difference between the two renders is the Transparency setting in the Diffuse shading, first one 100% second one 10%
-the step size started at 15 with 10 for shadows, and then slowly I lowered the step setting until I got minimal or no banding. For further away shots 10-15 should be more than suitable though, only close shots is something lik5 needed.
-The emitter birth is 10 but I changed the angle to 25 to get a wider spread

pitrie17
08-17-2007, 07:31 PM
Did you just let the emitter develop or what exactly? How did you create the shape?

LucentDreams
08-17-2007, 08:52 PM
just played for 90 frames

LucentDreams
08-17-2007, 09:08 PM
should add typically I would also use the approach of attaching particles to a mass of points, I wouldn't bother using polygons just a point cloud


A new approach if you have the mograph module is to use the matrix object to generate particles, it's much easier than an xpresso setup

govinda
08-17-2007, 09:17 PM
Has anyone gotten results using Videopost? It promises so much but seems to need completely different settings--if it's to be relied upon at all. I'm getting nothing useable to comp with after a few tries.

bandini
08-17-2007, 09:38 PM
Unfortunately, I have not found the videopost setting useful at all.

pitrie17
08-17-2007, 09:43 PM
Thanks for all of your help. This definitely put me on the right path and now I can sleep at night knowing that photorealistic clouds can be created with the right settings in C4D. There's a lot more tweaking that I need to do, but now I understand what I'm doing. Here are two samples of what I made so far. Hope to post more results soon.

http://www.freehillproductions.com/C4D/HP_Clouds_1_0000.jpg

http://www.freehillproductions.com/C4D/HP_Clouds2_0140.jpg


As you can see, similar settings on both, but just different arrangement. But all in all, very promising techniques discussed here. Thanks!

govinda
08-17-2007, 09:59 PM
Looks good.

Okay then, next challenge: Put the clouds in a scene with other objects and other lights. I can't get other lights to exclude Pyrocluster using the usual include/exclude. The consequences are that (1) everything gets blown out, and (2) the other lights wreak havoc with shadow settings and thus render times. I'm guessing it's because of the Environment object that forms the basis for PC.

bandini
08-17-2007, 11:53 PM
I've never had a problem with that...

Are you going into the light object attribute manager, under "Scene" and disabling PyroCluster Illumination and PyroCluster Shadow Casting on the bottom of the AM?

I don't think normal Include/Exclude works for PyroCluster.

govinda
08-17-2007, 11:56 PM
Holy crap, I must be blind.

Edit: danger of being on a 30" monitor. Those options are nearly a foot south!

ThePriest
08-18-2007, 01:02 AM
Vue's MetaClouds through XStream - Very slow, but also very effortless.

http://www.priest3d.com/cgtalk/vueclouds.jpg

Simon Wicker
08-18-2007, 07:57 AM
all of the backgrounds in the quidditch matches in harry potter 2 and 3 are digital matte paintings using camera mapping for all of the camera moves. i would say that if you need photo-realistic clouds then no 3d route will be totally convincing - you will always be better off using real images of clouds projected onto cards.

you can also see examples of how this works in the ship crash sequence over coruscant in revenge of the sith, the chase through the clouds at the end of hulk and the dragon chase in harry potter 4.

the link between all of these is of course that these film sequences were all done by the digimatte department at ilm as this is a well used technique there - i think most other big vfx houses would try using fluid effects or another heavyweight technique to do this. camera mapping is much simpler and more interactive.

cheers, simon w.

ilay
08-18-2007, 08:51 AM
I and my friend(video-editor) played with wondertouch particleIllusion(PI) last year.(used C4D position exporter for particleIllusion Written by Arndt von Koenigsmarck). You can compose your objects and smoke+cloud PI's emmiters in AE and ect.

P.S. i attach exporter(for c4d r9)

tcastudios
08-19-2007, 11:25 AM
Hi Ilay. Looks interesting.
My companion runs PI. I got a textfile out of Cinema(R10).
What shall I tell him to do with the file? (To get it into PI).

By the look of the file content it is a 2D "interpreter"?

Cheers
Lennart

tcastudios
08-19-2007, 12:13 PM
RightClick an Emitter and Import it was. Cool.

Cheers
Lennart

ilay
08-19-2007, 02:20 PM
From PI_Exporter\readme.txt
Just unzip the folder and put it into CINEMA 4D plugins folder.
After C4D starts, you'll find the Exporter in the plugins menue under "Particle
Illusion Export". Just enter the name of the object(cloud or smoke in cinema4d) and the name of the camera into the dialog. Fill in the range of frames and the name of the file you want to create. The suffix ".txt" will be created automatically. Press the "Export"
button and you're done. You will find the file in the same folder as the plugin.
I remember it's option(position) of single object, if you have multiple heaps of clouds(smoke) - needs to resave(several txts) for each. And we can compose rendered animation from cinema4d into PI with input of emmiter's position(you right - right click at added emmiter: import>>position data).

pitrie17
08-21-2007, 09:40 PM
Vue's MetaClouds through XStream - Very slow, but also very effortless.

http://www.priest3d.com/cgtalk/vueclouds.jpg

Does that integrate with C4D at all?

ThePriest
08-21-2007, 11:23 PM
Does that integrate with C4D at all?

Fully, but it's not without it's very annoying limitations.

rsquires
08-22-2007, 12:08 AM
I got this working with an emitter no problem at all. It's very nice indeed and surprisingly fast considering Pyroclusters inherant slowness. However I can't seem to get it to work with the Matrix object when it is set to Thinking Particles. Any thoughts?

regards

Rich

JoelOtron
08-22-2007, 12:30 AM
I got this working with an emitter no problem at all. It's very nice indeed and surprisingly fast considering Pyroclusters inherant slowness. However I can't seem to get it to work with the Matrix object when it is set to Thinking Particles. Any thoughts?

regards

Rich

Just add a particle geo object and assign the material to it.

rsquires
08-22-2007, 02:03 AM
cheers Joel

works great although it ups the time when you have shadows

regards

rich

ChrisCousins
08-22-2007, 11:34 AM
Fully, but it's not without it's very annoying limitations.

Do tell...

pitrie17
08-27-2007, 04:34 PM
should add typically I would also use the approach of attaching particles to a mass of points, I wouldn't bother using polygons just a point cloud


A new approach if you have the mograph module is to use the matrix object to generate particles, it's much easier than an xpresso setup

Hey Kai, I was doing some more tests today and starting to create some custom shaped clouds and I was re-reading this thread. You mention you would just use a point cloud. I'm not sure I'm familiar with this term or approach. Could you elaborate? Thanks.

soccerrprp
08-27-2007, 05:16 PM
Isn't a point cloud just the POINTS of the your polygon? So, you custom create your cloud and select all polygons and delete them. The only thing you should have remaining are the points. This way, the polygons, which are unnecessary as a reference, are discarded. Am I correct?

Richard

LucentDreams
08-27-2007, 08:51 PM
right no the money. one of the biggest problems with using polygons instead of just points is the flexibility visally if you pull a certain point way out you start getting elongated and criscrossing polygons etc that end up just looking like a big mess instead of the skeleton of a cloud.

pitrie17
08-29-2007, 12:57 AM
Vue's MetaClouds through XStream - Very slow, but also very effortless.

http://www.priest3d.com/cgtalk/vueclouds.jpg

I'm curious. How slow is slow? And how effortless is effortless? Was this example done in C4D?

LucentDreams
08-29-2007, 03:02 AM
I'm curious. How slow is slow? And how effortless is effortless? Was this example done in C4D?
Its using View xstream which is a connection between view and cinema so you can render using view inside cinema.

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