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Rendering Clouds with SSS


cloud.jpgFitchmicah has posted a nice setup for rendering clouds with SSS on BlenderArtists. There's another example in the Test section by Cyborg Dragon (without .blend or explanation), but I think fitchmicah's looks better.

About the Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. Ankit Pruthi on

    along with sss, more techniques have to be good...and yes..clouds made from particles look much better

  2. I honestly think the usage of SSS for clouds should be experimented with a little longer before putting up this article as the definitive announcement, cause honestly... it's kind... not... cloudy looking.

  3. An excellent start at clouds. SSS could work well with this. I do think some more transparency and perhaps blurring on the edges of the cloud could help the realism.

  4. To Freen: There's no point in being snide about it.

    I didn't say it looked terrible, I just honestly don't think it's a very good demonstration of the technique.

  5. Hey,
    I want to say that part of the reason this image looks a little funny on the right edge is due to lens distortion. The original image was rendered with a 16 mm lens and the cloud was only in the upper right corner. Instead of rerendering it in the center, I just cropped it. Take a look at the other images on the blenderartists post, and if you have better ideas, give them up, or if you've seen better clouds in blender, post them!

    I didn't make the clouds to be ultra realistic, I made them to look cool. I mean, here are some clouds that look fake even though they're real:

    Anyway, some constructive criticism would be helpful to me and the developers as well I'm sure.


  6. Hi,

    haha, those are some really weird clouds for sure, Micah! Really astonishing, sometimes nature just makes things weirder than we could do on our computers :)

    Anyway, try making the mesh simpler, and take it to the compositor to blur it. In the blend I posted in your topic, I used the inverted ZBuffer to make the clouds fluffier when they're close and less fluffy when they are far.
    Then I noised that with the displace node.

    I'll try another technique tonight but right now I don't have the time.

  7. sorry, didn't mean to be mean about it.. but i guess it kinda came across that way.
    i'm not saying i could do any better, i just didn't know you weren't going for ultra-realistic.

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