Cloud Library

Started by rcallicotte, March 25, 2008, 01:40:02 pm

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Jim, by imported mesh, do you mean something like a galaxy cloud or space setting with space stations...or what?  I understand, I guess, but clarification about what you might do sounds interesting enough to be nosy.

So this is Disney World.  Can we live here?


September 22, 2008, 04:56:58 pm #76 Last Edit: September 22, 2008, 05:00:31 pm by dandelO
Nice, Jim! I like it, are you listening PS? ;) At least fix the planet/sphere population problem, I've already figured out staggered height populations. Fractal distribution over that would do just as good a job for me for laying my meta-clouds upon...

Sh*t! I've just had another idea... Be right back, hopefully! ;)

EDIT: DOH! No I haven't, I can't populate the clouds, didn't even try! I meant to lay them on another invisible planets surface, what'm I thinking? I've just written it in this very post ^^  :D


September 22, 2008, 07:42:36 pm #77 Last Edit: May 29, 2009, 09:20:03 pm by dandelO
This is my final meta-cloud model(for the moment ;)). This one cloud is 3 small TG2 planet models.

It is very diverse and editable as this attatched image shows.
None of these images have been created using different fractal seeds, cloud coverage, densities, edge sharpness or cloud colour! None of them!

The only settings that need moved about for these meta-clouds is the 'cloud altitude' and 'cloud height' sliders!
The only thing you have to make sure of when raising/lowering 'cloud height' is that the cloud-layer MUST reach into the core of the planet. (thus the default level of -50 for cloud altitude and 100m for depth.
Making the default model so that the cloud layer is beneath the non rendered planet surface keeps the samples down, more cloud depth = lots more samples! Cut corners wherever you can! ;)).
There are only a total of three non rendered planets making up this one cumulus, duplicate them and move them around with their bounding boxes to manually build infinite cloud shapes.

Forget everything you've learned about TG's cloud height/depth settings when using these meta-clouds. Read on...

Each meta-cloud object has it's own cloud layer. These will pop up in your atmosphere tab when you import the clipfile.
One density fractal supplies all the cloud data. It's scales are set for this size of 100m radius planet as my defaults. If you raise the object size/raise the scales to match...

'Cloud altitude' and 'cloud depth' with these doesn't mean 'height above x,y,z. in your TG world anymore.
These clouds are volumetric OBJECTS(3x100m radius TG2 planets) and will appear in your objects tab. To control their position you'll use the x,y,z values there.(or, even easier, just drag each cloud's bounding box!).
Cloud altitude, in meta-clouds, is now based on the planet that the particular puffball of cloud surrounds. If you don't make the cloud altitude offset, to reach the middle of the planet, you'll get a hollow cloud-ball or a 3D 'doughnut' effect. Think of the 'depth' of your meta-clouds as a radius, from the point in the centre of each cloud-puff, to it's outer limits. Does that make sense? Good! :)

The following image shows the diversity that can be achieved by only adjusting the very first 2 sliders in each cloud layer shader;D

I think I've got the scales and densities pretty decent for a model of this size, nothing really needs touched except those first 2 sliders but, feel free to do what you want with it.

Here's a mini-tut image on easy usage and the .tgd and .tgc for the default meta-cloud model. (pictured first in the image).



EDIT: Substitute the words 'Level' and 'Height' in my preview image for 'Altitude' and 'Depth', respectfully. Sorry, my mistake. :-[


September 22, 2008, 08:08:22 pm #78 Last Edit: September 22, 2008, 08:13:40 pm by dandelO
Sorry, I just came back in here before anyone else managed to, so I could pat myself on the back. Tonight I sleep with an inner grin on my chops! ;D

Damn! How can I sleep with these lying in my computer!? I might just play some more...

This workspace image didn't fit above...


Well, you have done quite a lot here.  It's marvelous, from what I can see and I haven't had time to play with it yet.  I'm still playing with the "old" clouds.   :D

If I could better understand what JimB and you were trying to do...well, maybe I just need to play around with these and then I'll understand.
So this is Disney World.  Can we live here?


QuoteIf I could better understand what JimB and you were trying to do...well, maybe I just need to play around with these and then I'll understand.

Calico: In Vue, there are things called 'meta-clouds'. They're really just groups of spheres that can be stacked into any pattern and textured with volumetric cloud materials, only, in Vue, they can all be grouped together and, the whole cloud body can be moved as one object.
I've just made TG2's equivalent but, I'm lacking the ctrl+G function(as is everyone using TG and wanting to group objects together.) to group them. These models must be moved individually around your scene to built specific cloud shapes.

There's really nothing left to do to it, this cloud pictured above is built from 3 seperate meta-cloud models(each model is a TG2 built-in planet with 'render surface' unchecked and no atmosphere). Plug in a cloud layer v.2 into the atmo node of the invisible planet, use a corresponding density fractal to the size of your small invisible planet and, if you make the depth of cloud and its altitude match to reach the core of the planet you are basically controlling the RADIUS of each cloudpuff, or in other words, how far it 'erupts' outwards.

I'll make a little diagram to explain in photoshop...


September 23, 2008, 09:38:38 am #81 Last Edit: September 23, 2008, 09:48:16 am by dandelO
This is very crude, Calico but...

The pink/red circles and text explain the cloud elements, the black/grey are planet related. And, this is a sphere, not a circle remember. ;)

The 'cloud altitude' is 50 metres beneath a 100m radius planet(the planet's surface is not rendered and it has no independent atmosphere, only a cloud layer and density fractal). The 'cloud depth' is 100 metres. Meaning it extends 50 metres in each direction from the 'cloud altitude' level of -50 metres.(the pinkish ring on the diagram).
This means the cloud extends outwards from its 'cloud altitude'. 50m to the core of the sphere and 50m to it's outer edge aswell. Essentially, filling the area of the planet sphere with volumetric clouds.

I can't make the workings any clearer than that, Calico, I'm no mathematician, just a humble fiddler. :)

Oh! The pink blobs are the actual volumetric meta-clouds. They look fantastic in this image, no? ;)



Great job explaining, dandelO.  I believe I understand and this is without playing with it yet.  Good communication!

I will play with this, but I'm still fiddling with the cloud I started weeks ago.   ::)
So this is Disney World.  Can we live here?


This is all *extremely* cool stuff and the results are looking very nice. I will see what we can do about a proper "move group" capability, although I don't know if it can make it in before the release. Regardless, I hope everyone takes this and runs with it as it's an extremely cool technique.

- Oshyan


Way to go dandel0!

You answered a wish I had in a post on Feb. 3, 2007 when discussing animating clouds.

I am a meteorologist and am always looking for ways to create clouds using 3d software packages.

I have been using Lightwave 3D for about 10 years with a plugin from Japan called OGO-Taiki. It uses procedural textures (pseudo-random fractals) and does a great job. It is difficult to create individual clouds and place them but it does incredible whole skies.

There is another plugin that can do individual clouds fit to specific shapes, but it is very difficult to get reliable results.

Vue 5 was a dissapointment and meta-clouds in Vue 6 look great but as with every software release or technique that professes to create clouds it is usually cumulus and the many other cloud types are ignored. I have had trouble in Vue 6 getting good results with anything but cumulus.

My first impression of your very creative technique was - another cumulus generator.  So I tried to create cirrus streaks and a cirro-stratus cloud deck by modifying your T2 scene and the results were excellent.

Thanks for making a quantum leap possible within T2. It seems to me you gave the Planetside staff a new way of thinking.  Using a modified planet concept an entire meta-cloud generator could be developed within T2 using your idea. Hopefully if the developers adopt it they can make the height/depth requirements default and instead of just spheres make it possible to use any closed, simple 3D geometric object

The images attached are from the scene I have attached. Here is what I have done.

1. each of 3 spheres has a diameter of 900
2. each cloud layer, following dandel0's instructions has an altitude of -450 and a depth of 900
3. The spheres are concentric
4. The density fractal was stretched in the x direction only to 900 (image1, and image2)
5. Each meta-cloud layer has separate tweaks for variations in detail - coverage adjust, cloud density, colour, base wispiness, base softness are all different.

The difference between cirrus_streaks1 and cirrus_streaks2 is that individual meta-cloud layer densities are doubled for cirrus_streaks2.

The difference between cirrus_streaks1 and cirrus_streaks3 is that I stretched meta-cloud layers 1 and 2 along all three axes in the density fractal and doubled both the cloud density and coverage adjust for each of the three layers.

From a single T2 scene cumulus clouds (the original scene from dandel0), thin cirrus streaks, thicker cirrus streaks and a uniform cirro-stratus overcast, thickening to the right, all volumetric. It will be interesting to see if T2 reproduces realistic filtering of sunlight through the overcast.

The attached scene is for cirrus_streaks1. The transform shaders are for future experimentation.

dandelO - great thinking. I have been struggling with how to do individual clouds in T2 for sometime you have opened the door.

Steve Horstmeyer


See, that's it! This technique is so pliable and elastic, there are really no limits. I'm glad you like it, Steve. :)
Imagine a scene, one large scale meta-cloud(like yours, sky coverage size) offset to the left-hand side of the screen, you have the curve of the invisible planet providing the base shape for a layer to sit on, you don't have to make your cloud layer touch the very centre of the planet's core so, you essentially now have a curved plane defining where the clouds will be, then, you can intersect this layer with yet another meta-cloud, offset to the right-hand side, to get real intersecting 'curves' of cloud. Limitless! Just like TG2 itself. You simply couldn't do this stuff with any other software.

Some time before this I'd played with the 'soap-bubble' idea, same theory only, the cloud has no real depth, just a shell of cloud around a ball of atmosphere(for, at the time, I'd not disconnected the new planet atmosphere node.) I kind of brought it up here in January in this post, when I'd been doing something similar...

Large or small scale, these clouds will do nice things if you ask them politely.

I'd really like the ability to deform their base planet circumferently(??? :-\  :D) , and have the cloud-layer 'altitude' measure from the deformed surface, like an egg shape, or a sausage but, it doesnt work that way, cloud altitude is measured from the core - outwards, it's 'altitude' above the surface is basically just the face of another sphere with a larger radius. Still, it's very intuitive and specific shapes can be 'built' by adding more planets, have fun! :)



I've noticed that with your .tgd, Steve, all the planets(clouds) are at the same co-ords and that, 2 of the cloud layers are being 'blocked' from rendering, I think it has to do with the transform shaders between the density fractals on the 'left' and 'right' models.
In your .tgd only the middle cloud is rendering, try it yourself, move either the left or right meta-cloud and you'll notice no change in the rendered cloud at all.
I couldn't work out your .tgd until I'd zoomed out to behind the cloud(instead of inside it where the camera is set) and tried moving each object. Only moving the 'middle' cloud has any effect on the scene and, I don't know why because it has a transform shader added to it aswell. Strange. I've not played with adding any seperate shaders to the density fractal though so, I'll have a look...


Excellent work DandelO!  I am definitely going to try this out.  I did similar research a while back which came up with similar results-->

I've created a few images using it, but haven't posted them.
mood-inspiring images and music


Whoa! I can't believe I missed this but hey, great minds and all that jazz, eh?  ;)

I probably just completely overlooked it as I never had a PC working well enough to scratch any deeper than the skin of TG2 clouds, subsequently, most of my previous entries have had minimal clouds or workaround methods to fake things. I've just started out with them properly this last few weeks. I'm thoroughly impressed.


Great work, brilliant :)
only wish I was not stuck in front of my banged out lappy and could really experiment at home.

Ryzen 9 3900X @3.79Ghz, 64Gb (TG4 benchmark 6:20)
i7 5930K @3.5Ghz, 32Gb (TG4 benchmark 13.44)