Creating CG Clouds in Flame


I’ve got a job in which I’m hoping to create CG clouds in Flame. It a classic zooming through the clouds down to earth shot. Ideally they need to have volume, so simple 2D textures won’t work. I’ve tried it before with purchased CG stock models, but without much success. So I was just wondering if anyone had any clever tricks?

Final shot will be something like this ref:



This is a relatively short and fast move so particles? I can help you with setting it up…

There is a crok shader that I believe you can use volumetrically in 3D in action if you know how to set it up on a sphere.
Otherwise I used something in my OFOW that was an ADSK on board tool. Can’t remember what it was but it worked pretty nicely.

Otherwise, particles. For clouds and atmosphere you can probably make them work. *freeze your texture layer in action and it’ll go a lot faster.

I figured out a good technique:


This is a great idea @RufusBlackwell.
You can:

  • Displace the individual surfaces with their own layer in Z, to add little more depth maybe
  • And you can mimic-link the axes so you have interactive control of the Z distance of the layers if/when you need them.

Thanks a lot for sharing. Brilliant idea to use frames from a stock element to create layers…


Agreed, this is a nice and simple solution that looks to give a nice sense of volume with no need to go to CG! :+1:

Another tool that could be helpful for something like this is Action’s Replica node. It doesn’t have the ability to offset a clip in time (sadly), but you can build an array of Z-separated planes with one click of the stylus. To compensate for the lack of frame offset I’d probably dial in some Z rotation to break up the dupe-frame look.

But again, compliments on the solution and thank you for the YT clip!

Brilliant solution @RufusBlackwell. Simple and elegant!

The solution looks really good. Another thing that might help is the look-at function. It can prevent you from getting too side on, but still have the multi-planing between layers.

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that’s awesome! I love it!

Could you also introduce some kind of noise texture as a displacement map to each slice to make your slices even more volumetric so you could then do things like pass through the cloud?

That’s a good idea. A slowly animating noise displacement would also give it some life. Some other maps like AO could come in handy with displacement too.

here another easy way to fake volumetric clouds.
I hope this can be helful.


This is fantastic. Thank you, Saul.

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Remember when, like, a decade ago everyone asked if we could use more than one sprite for ParticleDraw? Pepperidge Farm remembers…

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very cool Saul, thank you!

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this is very a very cool workaround… very interesting idea, I like it

thanks Greg-Paul, my pleasure!

hahaha… totally.