3d skies


Hey All,

Have a question that i’ve always been curious about, but i’ve never managed to find a proper answer.
What methods are there to create a ‘realistic’ 3d sky in Cinema?

I have an animation to do and I’ve been looking at the physical sky but the clouds don’t look great.
I don’t need to do a sweeping 3d move, just a small pan but i’d like the clouds to look good with some depth / parallax to them.
I’d really prefer not to use a hdri / sky image as this would appear a little ‘flat’.

Just wondered what the pro’s use? Some kind of world building software? Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,



Hey Tony,
for a comprehensive approach try e-on softwares “Ozone Cloudfactory” plugin, but keep in mind that it is discontiued after 2018.
Ozone is used best (and also pretty fast) when used from ground-level. If you plan to use it for a kind of flythrough like here https://vimeo.com/135148162 you should checkout my corresponding breakdown at Siggraph2015: https://www.cineversity.com/vidplaylist/cineversity_rewinds/siggraph_2015_rewind_mark_potocnik_c4d_r17_in_documentary_vfx_production




Marc’s Siggraph 2015 presentation is amazing.

You should also checkout the Think Particle website (link). There are two products, Cloud Generator and Cloud Field Simulator that may help you out. There is also a really fast technique where I’ve used PNGs of clouds (link) mapped to planes and oriented to cameras to get some pretty fast results, you could also use camera DOF and a sky HDRI for far depth and realism. I hope this helps, keep me posted in the thread for any progress you make on this subject as I am very interested in the best techniques for this as well.

P. S. - There is also a technique using Houdini and VDBs that port to Cinema 4D and looks incredible. You may want to google that.

Jay B.
Fort Worth, TX


Thanks for the advice guys.

As I said, right now I don’t need to do any flythroughs or anything substantial, so I might just end up using a hdri out of focus for now.
I have seem some really cool stuff done before but I can’t find the references right now but if I do i’ll post them up.

Thanks again.



Thanks Jay :slight_smile:
Ozone creates volumetric clouds with adjustable paramters such as altitude, density, etc.
If you dont want to use HDRIs or volumetric stuff such as ThinkParticle or C4depots Pyrocluster clouds then Ozone is your solution.
Here is a work with a more traditional use of the plugin: https://vimeo.com/123404015


Ozone is buggy and really slow ender. Worst plugin I ever bought. Not worth the money, especially now it’s being end-of-lifed by E-on.


If you need distant clouds but with some parallax, use texture-mapped clouds on planes - there’s some decent ones with the alpha already in place here:


I’d use AE to position the clouds rather than C4D. Then move your 3D camera and the clouds will drift apart properly, and the illusion should hold up fine for simple camera moves.

If you’re looking for something closer up, there’s some nice options now for VDB rendering in 3rd party renderers - Redshift/Arnold can do this for sure, probably Octane? You can make your own clouds fairly easily in Houdini Indie, if you have it, or there’s a bunch of cheap stock VDBs around, like this:


Just one or two vdbs can make a pretty convincing cloud structure with rotation/scale variations.

Cheers - Chris


Too bad ozone is being discontinued, as it was the only real solution. Few people want to buy the full version of E-on’s full landscape product. I’ve heard tons of regret on this forum.

I think there is an opportunity for some plugin developer to produce a sky tool.

When I see the TrueSky plugin for Unreal and Unity, it makes me wish there was a C4d version. This is real time clouds:



Maybe someone needs to port that renderer to C4D.


you can create your own 3d volumetric clouds to fly through using the physical sky’s cloud tool;