Rendering Clouds using the Volume Shader

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Industry
  • Film & VFX
  • Games
  • Design Visualization
Subject
  • Rendering
  • Shading
Products
  • Arnold
  • Maya
Skill Level
  • Beginner



This simple tutorial demonstrates how to create a cloud effect using a combination of the Volume Shader with a Maya Cloud 3d texture. It is possible to achieve a wide range of cloudy skies using this setup. We will also add a spotlight to replicate sunlight and add some Atmosphere Volume to achieve a 'God ray' effect.

The scene can be downloaded here.

  • To represent the cloud layer, we must first create an object with which we can assign a Volume shader. Create a sphere or cube and scale it down in the Y axis.

The step size has a fixed size, therefore, the larger the container the more steps will be taken and the longer it will take to render. Also beware that if the step size is too small your render times will increase.

  • Assign a Standard Surface shader to the sphere and select its Shading Group node.
  • Create a Standard Volume shader and connect it to the Volume material attribute of the Standard Surface Shading Group node as in the image below. We will use this node to connect the Cloud 3d texture.
  • Create a Maya Cloud 3d texture and connect it to the Transparent Weight of the Standard Volume shader. Decrease the scale of the Maya 3d texture node for the Cloud texture to see more detail.

The final shader network should look like the image below:

Standard Volume connected to Shading Group of Standard Surface

  • Finally, create a Skydome light and connect a Physical Sky shader to its Color attribute. To reduce any noise in the volume, you must increase the number of Volume Samples in the Skydome light.





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Tags
  • Arnold
  • Maya
  • Rendering
  • Shading
4 Comments
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| 2 years ago
Hi. The node aiStandardVolume not exist on Maya 2017.
| 2 years ago
The node aiStandardVolume not exist on Maya 2017
| 2 years ago
Please rewrite article for Maya 2017.
| 2 years ago
Have you updated to the latest version of Arnold for Maya here?: https://www.solidangle.com/arnold/download/