How to create a "Fluffy cloud"

How to create a "Fluffly Cloud"

It is true that in London we are not short of clouds, quite the opposite, but sometimes this is not enough! Last year we had to create a fluffy cloud for a project, keep reading to know more.

The cloud had to be integrated into real footage and needed to be visibly dense. Also, our fluffy cloud had to move, sort of chasing some characters. For this project, we tested our skills in the streets of London.

In terms of software, we created the cloud with Turbulence FD, in Cinema 4D. Afterward, we 3D tracked some footage, also in Cinema 4D, we then created a null and attached the cloud to it. The “final look” was composited in After Effects.

Firstly, I would like to recommend the following tutorial on how to make a cloud with Cinema 4D and Turbulence FD. However, it depends on your personal project you would want to change the settings. In the end, I will share the specific settings for our final result.

To “stop” the movement of the smoke and create a contained flow of the particles, you have to animate the timing. It was tricky to find the right balance, so the animation wouldn’t stop drastically, as you can see in the following tests:

Another complication found was related to the movement once we’ve tracked the cloud to the environment, because you need to find the right balance between: The speed of the animation inside the container + the animation of the movement in any environment.

In the video on the right, you can see that the particles were moving faster, creating a non-realistic feeling of the cloud.

There are plenty of tutorials on how to motion track in Cinema 4D (follow this link), so we will skip that part. In this case, I’ll highlight the importance of positioning the lights accordingly to your footage (sun direction, if you have characters, cars or any other objects creating shadows, etc).

Check the following screenshots of the original file, to check the settings that we used for the tracking and for the container:

In the video on top, you can see the “final result” of the test we created.

What do you think? Did you find it useful? Do you know any other tricks? Feel free to comment below!