In my previous post I have explained some methods to create clouds using textures. It is very simple and quick method but it is not suitable for most animation like Aircraft animation on clouds. If you are using this kind of animation you have to create realistic clouds. In this post I will explain a method to create a realistic cloud using Autodesk Maya fluid effects.
First you have to switch to Dynamics mode my pressing F5. Create a fluid 3d container(Fluid Effects->Create 3D Container). Go to Attributes Editor. In Container properties section, remove tic on Keep Voxels Square. Then set resolution to 100, 5, 100. If you want to make high resolution clouds set higher values for Resolution. Set Size to 20, 1, 20. After that turn off Density and Velocity under Contents Method section. No need to change other attributes.
Expand the Display section. Set Boundary Draw as a Bounding Box. Turn off Wireframe Display.
Scroll down and expand the Incandescence section and Opacity section. Adjust the color settings as following image. In here I want to create dark grey and blue clouds so I set colors of my choice. Set Incandescence Input to Y Gradient. Set Input Bias in Incandescence section to 0.4 and Input Bias in Opacity section to 0.025. Set the Opacity graph according to following image.
Then expand the Textures section and Enter the following values.
Incand Tex Gain- 1.458.
Opacity Tex Gain- 0.667.
Depth Max- 4.
Put a tic on Inflection. Set Frequency to 2.316. No need to scale the texture but it is depends on your scene scale.
Now you have completed your work. Render your scene. But you need to add a Atmosphere. You can use Mental ray Physical Sun And Sky or env sky method which I mentioned in my previous post.