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Old 12-21-2011, 10:04 PM   #1
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Michael Davydov
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Volumetric planet clouds

Hi all!

I'm not sure if the thread is in the right place.. But is looks like a near material problem

I'm working on a earth-like planet right now, and wondering, if there is a way to create really sweet looking volumetric clouds for it? Using a ref texture, or something else. Thats needed for some panorama issues

Tried using FumeFX, but the quality is too low, even on the highest settings possible. Though i didn't try using multiple fluid containers... but i think there must some some less time\pc resource consuming method

Can anyone help?

3ds max

And i don't care if this method will include using full 3d, or some mattepainting techniques

Thanks!
 
Old 01-02-2012, 08:25 PM   #2
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I'm not familiar enough with Max to give you a direct solution for that app, but generally volumetric clouds are pretty similar throughout all the packages. In Maya you can use fluids, and in Vue you can make some really sweet volumetric texturing, but another downside of such techniques is render time and shading accuracy.

You can do it using textured spheres alone, but perhaps you can show us an example of the look you're trying to achieve? A photo reference or something will help us help you better.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:08 AM   #3
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THank you for reply!

Yeah, I did not mean to tell me exact steps, just a technique

Actually, talking about Maya Fluids, I mentioned

Quote:
Tried using FumeFX, but the quality is too low, even on the highest settings possible. Though i didn't try using multiple fluid containers... but i think there must some some less time\pc resource consuming method


FumeFX is 3ds max fluid plugin. And this method is way too PCres consuming...



In this halo reach cg teaser clouds looks volumetric too

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgrPThDwAz0

I even thought about some Falloff shader with displacement map, but I'm not sure how that will work
 
Old 01-14-2012, 11:00 PM   #4
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Those very likely are fully volumetric clouds in that video, and they look great!

Big studios don't have to worry about rendertime generally (as they can afford ridiculous hardware us littlefolk cannot), but they will of course use the most efficient methods possible. For game trailers and cutscenes generally they'll go "all the way".

I'm not familiar with FumeFX myself, but you would easily be able to recreate those types of clouds with Maya Fluids for example. The two are totally different. But alas, after creating them in Fluids you'd still have a hell of a time rendering and dynamically interacting with fluids of that density/clarity. Still, it's not impossible to do. There are many examples of fluids being used for clouds, and I'm sure FumeFX can do many of the things Maya's Fluids can, in the right hands.

Volumetric lighting (accurate, with light rays, etc.) through fluids is a real rendertime nightmare and always has been. A lot of math going on there; ray-marching is intensive for rendering. Generally, this effect is simulated in other ways or done in the compositing package instead.
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:16 PM   #5
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If viewed from orbit like in theses example, you can fake the volumetric clouds with a matte painting (camera mapped if the animation need it), or multiple spheres with transparent maps... the final result will be flat pixels, so if you don't need to travel through the clouds, there is no need for a true volumetric effect.. and you will have more time to create very convincing earth from paint and/or photos...
 
Old 05-15-2012, 01:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nixellion
FumeFX is 3ds max fluid plugin. And this method is way too PCres consuming...





Hi Michael, is this an image you have made?.. Do you have any info on it, especially how the displacement was made or the shadows of the clouds?... All fumefx?
 
Old 05-15-2012, 07:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickToxik
Hi Michael, is this an image you have made?.. Do you have any info on it, especially how the displacement was made or the shadows of the clouds?... All fumefx?


I think you should ask God about it. Thats photo from ISS
 
Old 05-15-2012, 12:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nixellion
I think you should ask God about it. Thats photo from ISS


Aaaaaaahhhh!! Heheheh

God is the best painter indeed

It's sad you don't use maya fluids, I could share a tip or two, I am rendering a volumetric cloud simulation right now:
http://img827.imageshack.us/img827/...yscreenshot.jpg

Can you control the opacity of the emission in fluidfx (with a picture, or procedurally)? In this example, I use a hurricane picture to control the fluid emission (on top of the image). The result is that I have the same texture as the hurricane (alpha) map, but I can make a dynamic simultation of it.

The small details in my clouds are made from the "texture noise" rollout in my fluid tab. I apply a perlin noise on the texture and the opacity of the fluid, so I don't need a crazy resolution for small details. Maybe you have something similar in fumefx?

If fumefx behaves like fluids in maya, you can lower your AA settings A LOT when you render fluids. The screenshot of my clouds is 3500*2000 pixels and it only took 8-9 minutes to render!
 
Old 05-15-2012, 12:42 PM   #9
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Oh I forgot. Lots of good awnsers to many questions in Max and other packages here: http://www.xenomorphic.co.uk/education.htm
 
Old 05-15-2012, 01:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickToxik
Aaaaaaahhhh!! Heheheh

God is the best painter indeed

It's sad you don't use maya fluids, I could share a tip or two, I am rendering a volumetric cloud simulation right now:
http://img827.imageshack.us/img827/...yscreenshot.jpg

Can you control the opacity of the emission in fluidfx (with a picture, or procedurally)? In this example, I use a hurricane picture to control the fluid emission (on top of the image). The result is that I have the same texture as the hurricane (alpha) map, but I can make a dynamic simultation of it.

The small details in my clouds are made from the "texture noise" rollout in my fluid tab. I apply a perlin noise on the texture and the opacity of the fluid, so I don't need a crazy resolution for small details. Maybe you have something similar in fumefx?

If fumefx behaves like fluids in maya, you can lower your AA settings A LOT when you render fluids. The screenshot of my clouds is 3500*2000 pixels and it only took 8-9 minutes to render!


FumeFX is very similiar to maya fluid, and with a new 3.0 version out, I think it became even more powerefull.
Yeah, galaxies is another task for me too) made some by just playing around with animated primitives, but texture emission is a good idea too

How did you make glowing parts of it? Particles, or what? Could you explain it in a little more detail? Ill convert that workflow to fumefx, worked with both of them. Thx!
 
Old 05-15-2012, 01:26 PM   #11
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The glow is half from the maya fluids shader (glow parameter) and a little post in After effects.

In my image there are three fluid containers and one particle system:

- a 2D fluid that emits density/voxels from a hurricane hires picture (as Duncan shows us here http://area.autodesk.com/blogs/duncan/volume_displacement_method_for_clouds_using_fluids ) I have enabled the glow function on this one so the middle looks like a sun or something.

- a 3D fluid that acts as a vertical column in the middle of the image (resolution of the container 50 50 50). It appears to glow, but it's just that the opacity is tweaked so that only the mid-density of the fluid is opaque. Low density and high density of the emission is transparent, so it looks like glowing but it's not.

- a 3D fluid that is a huge 3D cloud at the bottom of the image. The fluid container is resolution 40 40 40, not that much PC$$$... But there is a perlin noise applied on the texture opacity and color at a frequency of 3, so it adds a lot of details. No glow on this one neither.

- and there is a particle system emitting thousands of little points to act as stars.

I added some sharpening and chromatic aberration and glow effects in After effects post.

The key to good fluid resolution in my case and render speed is the perlin noise texture applied on the color and opacity of the container, which adds a lot of details (small puffies) at little cost. If you can, play with the opacity of your fluid to add detail. I also try to map 3D procedural textures on opacities to add detail without changing the resolution of the fluid.
 
Old 05-28-2012, 11:51 PM   #12
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sometimes it is easiest to just paint them with photoshop. If it is a telescopic image of the earth's clouds/atmosphere you can find plenty of reference from which to cut and paste into a texture. The bump/displacement mapping can be achieved in mudbox. If you want something more volumetric and closeup, there was a clever technique shown on Thearea.com (GDC 2010 I think). What the animator did was:
-Create random amorphous shapes like clouds.
-texture them with a flat color and a high subsurface scattering setting.
-He also used a blue fill light to mimic the reflection of the sky on the clouds.
-He baked the color with lighting and shadowing onto a color texture.
-He then populated the surface of the shape with sprites containing random wispy textures like a cloud.
-He then transferred the color of the baked texture onto the sprites.
-and WAMMO! volumetric clouds with lighting baked in that render 10 times faster than fluids.
-and the beauty of it all is that you can make clouds the shape of fluffy bunnies if needed
 
Old 06-20-2012, 10:47 AM   #13
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Of course you can try and fake something, but you could try Terragen2 and make it real. The test version is free and the commercial version is way cheaper than other packages.
I made this image in TG. The clouds are real volumetric ones. Stars and lens flares are postwork.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg TG Earth view small.jpg (45.7 KB, 62 views)
 
Old 06-20-2012, 11:31 AM   #14
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wow, really really nice render. How long did it take to render this? I have bought Vue several years ago, but I got so discouraged with it that I stopped using other 3D softwares than maya. I had great results in Vue, but the render time for the volumetric clouds was insane, there was no way for me to include vue animations in any project.
 
Old 06-20-2012, 01:08 PM   #15
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First of all, this is NOT made with Vue. As I said it's Terragen 2
http://www.planetside.co.uk/
As far as I remember the image took about one and a half hours to render in 1920 X 817 px resolution.
I think this is not bad since my computer is a bit outdated.

By the way, here is a small animation:
https://vimeo.com/40416286

Last edited by HannesJ : 06-20-2012 at 01:11 PM.
 
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