We’ve been working on the Elements project for a few months now and we wanted to share the current status of our work. On the initial workshop, it was decided to focus on tools for creating, modeling and rendering clouds in real-time. The tools should support both quick-and-dirty workflows for backdrops as well as be able to handle flying through clouds for more dynamic shots.
The participants of the workshop wanted to be able to model using traditional geometry, so we have created a plug-in for Maya which allows you to create a cloud from any input mesh. As an initial step in this plug-in, the geometry is voxelized in a desired resolution in real-time. The following videos demonstrate this voxelization:
In the following steps of creating a cloud, we compute a distance field from the surface of the input geometry and combine it with a noise field to compute a detailed and visually interesting cloud density. You can see the result of our real-time ray marching of the final cloud representation in the following images and video:
In the near future, we will start looking at improving the performance of the ray marching, and we will support more complex lighting. Also, we plan to support user-defined noise functions that depend on the cloud geometry to be able to support different kinds of clouds. Finally, we would like to explore incorporating vertex-defined attributes such per vertex colors, noise, etc. into the cloud generation.
The video below demonstrates how to work with the plug-in. If you would like to try out the plug-in, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org