Creating clouds for exterior visualization projects in Blender 3d 2.50
In Blender 3D 2.50 we will find a lot of new tools and options to enhance our architectural visualization projects, and add atmospheric effects to animations, with an incredible speed and short workflow. For instance, if have to create an external animation showing a fly through around the site of a project, the environment could have clouds to better represent the atmosphere. Until today we had to use a combination of particles and halo materials or other tricks to create clouds. But, with Blender 3d 2.50 we will be able to use the incredible volumetric options to create outstanding effects in rendering.
I just found a great tutorial posted at the blenderartists forums, where an artist called NRK shows how to use the volume options, in a Blender 3d 2.50 test build. The video quality is not the best, but it's quite easy to follow the tutorial. If you want to try it yourself, visit graphicall.org and download an experimental build of Blender 2.50 for your system.
The technique is quite simple and involves the creation of two particle systems, associated with 3d mesh. This 3d mesh must have a volume material. At the end of the tutorial, we can check some great examples of atmospheric effects created with volumetrics. Of course, for architectural visualization artists the examples involving clouds are the most useful.
I have showed this same example for a group of 3ds Max users working mostly with plugins like FumeFX and they got really impressed with the results. The fact that all tools and options will already be available by default in Blender 3d, make all of them impressed.
For artists used to work only with external renderer, such as Yafaray and LuxRender those options won't be compatible with the renderers. But, each one of them has specific options to work with volumetrics. In my option, for architectural animation projects we should stick to the Blender internal renderer, because of the render speed. With ambient occlusion and a few composition tricks, we can add realistic lighting and finish the animation before the deadline.