materials iconHow to Make Clouds with Cycles

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Tags - Nature, volumetrics
Software:
  • Blender 2.72 + Photoshop or Gimp
Discover How To:
  • Create a cloudscape scene from start to finish
  • Using displacements to quickly create realistic clouds
  • Use the right settings for volumetrics

Chapter Marks (Full Length )

modelling icon33.58icon-texturing14.53materials icon19.10simulations25.57modelling icon338.51modelling icon363.36compositing69.03
Software:
  • Blender 2.72 + Photoshop or Gimp
Discover How To:
  • Create a cloudscape scene from start to finish
  • Using displacements to quickly create realistic clouds
  • Use the right settings for volumetrics

Chapter Marks (Full Length )

modelling icon33.58icon-texturing14.53materials icon19.10simulations25.57modelling icon338.51modelling icon363.36compositing69.03

4 years ago I sat in an airport lounge and recorded my first attempt at creating clouds. We’ve come a long way since those days. And we now we have Cycles with volumetric rendering capabilities! :D We can now make this…

Final Result

Clouds - Blender Cycles - Blender Guru

Downloads

Create something cool with this tutorial? Post in the comments below!

Summary

1. Position the camera and set the scene parameters, as seen below.

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2. Add a Plane and modify it as seen below.

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3. Select the faces outside of the camera view and delete them.

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4. Add a Displace Modifier to the plane and click ‘New’ to add a texture.

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5. Choose Wood as the Displace Texture type.

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6. Add an Empty and rename it to ‘Waves’.

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7. Use the ‘Waves’ object as the Plane’s Texture Coordinate for the Displace Modifier.

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8. Add a Subsurf Modifier to the Plane object.

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9. Scale and Rotate the ‘Waves’ empty, as seen below.

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10. Modify the Displace Texture.

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11. Select the Camera and enable the Thirds Composition Guide.

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12. Add a new Displace Modifier with a new texture.

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13. Choose Voronoi as the Texture type for the Displacement.

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14. Turn off the previous Displace Modifier and increase the strength of the Voronoi, as seen below.

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15. Enable ‘Ramp’ on the Voronoi texture and flip the colors, as seen below.

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16. Adjust the Voronoi Texture settings.

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17. Scale the Empty by twice its current size and turn back on the Waves Displace Modifier.

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18. Add a Sun Lamp and position it as seen below.

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19. Change the Sun’s color and increase the Strength.

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20. Adjust the World settings.

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21. Add a new material to the cloud.

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22. Enable Transparency on the Render Settings.

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23. Add a Solidify Modifier to fix some rendering issues.

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24. Add a Cube and modify it to create the shape that you see below.

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25. Add a Subsurf Modifier to the Cube.

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26. Add a Displace Modifier with the texture as seen below.

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27. Add another Displace Modifier with the Cloud texture type.

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28. Add an Empty to control the Displacement.

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29. Assign the iCloud Empty as the Object Texture coordinate of the Displace Modifiers.

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30. Create a couple of cloud variations.

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31. Select all the clouds and create group called ‘iCloud’.

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32. Adjust the level of Subsurfs.

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33. Select the Plane in Layer 1 and add a new Particle system.

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34. Select the Clouds on Layer 2 and add a new material.

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35. Increase the Max amount of the Transparency bounces under Light Paths tab.

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36. Create a modified Cube on a new layer and copy the modifiers of the previous clouds.

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37. Duplicate and position the clouds closer to the camera.

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38. Create a new material for the clouds with the initial nodes, as seen below.

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39. Duplicate the Noise Texture node and mix it with the previous step, as seen below.

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40. Attach a Math node with the settings as seen on the image below.

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41. Create a new larger cloud.

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42. Position the cloud further from the camera view.

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43. Create a new Empty and use it as the Texture Coordinate of the large cloud.

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44. Duplicate and modify the smaller clouds and spread them across the scene.

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45. Create a new material of the far clouds based from previous clouds material, as seen below.

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46. Do the same for the other clouds, varying the settings accordingly.

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47. Create more duplicates of the upclose clouds and distribute them across the scene.

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48. Duplicate the floor cloud and move it to the top to create the roof.

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49. Move the roof to another layer and create a new Render Layer with the settings as seen below.

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50. Adjust the original Render Layer to exclude the roof layer.

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51. Duplicate the Sun Lamp, move it to roof layer, and tilt it upwards, as seen below.

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52. Render out the main scene and the roof layer and save them out, like seen below.

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53. Open the rendered images as layers in your image editing application.

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54. Import the sky texture and position it at the bottom of the layer stack.

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55. Adjust the color and brightness of the sky texture.

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56. Add a layer mask on the cloud layers and slightly brush away the center.

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57. Finally, add a lens flare to add more believability to the render.

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