The visual effects capabilities of Blender are constantly growing by leaps and bounds. A major milestone for this relentless progress will be the integration of true volumetrics in Blender. It's on the horizon...
The developer, farsthary, writes:
I've being coding some real volumetrics for Blender, a Raycaster volumetrics, for any object interior media, still the raycaster are in early stages so dont expect it to soon.
In fact I have progress slowly, because in a day I have to do many more things and I could not be a full time coder, and also I am very new to this matter. But after all, I am very happy because I could mix my two passions: 3D and coding, I guess this is my little Cuban dream.
...[The volumetrics] are not only for procedurals volumetrics, but also for scientific visualization (volumetrics from files and datasets).
Volumetrics could have any interior textures, from the material stack and from the shader tree.
Here are some render testings. NOTE: everything is a simple cube [or sphere], no other geometry!!
The following media is ordered from the earliest to the latest development stage (as of this writing). Image details are provided in the tooltip of each image.
You can follow these exciting developments on farsthary's blog.
And, for further discussion you can visit the discussion thread where you can also find high-res renders of some of these spectacular images.
A special Thank You to farsthary for tackling such a formidable task!