Mountain Valley with Clouds

  • November 25, 2012
  • Blender 2.6x
  • Render: Blender Internal
  • Creator: BMF
  • License: CC-0
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Like the "Boulder in a Field" scene that I posted a couple of days ago, this started out as a simple exercise to learn about the cloud generator add-on since there doesn't seem to be much in the way of tutorials or examples.

One thing led to another as I began to integrate my clouds with other meshes and images trying to get a realistic effect. The scene itself was inspired by a travel poster that had a winter scene with clouds in a mountain valley capturing the glow of a setting sun.

Eventually my goal became one of creating a similar scene.

I generated dozens of different clouds and experimented with shaping and coloring them as well as adjusting the density.

I can't say that it's very intuitive, but once you understand the controls, I think it has a number of interesting possibilities. I've included some notes I took that explain some of the key controls for generating clouds.

The scene has an image for the sky, one image for the mountain texture, one image for the snow shader lamp (see reference below), and four images of fir trees. Everything else is procedural textures.

There are three meshes: the mountain in the background, the clouds between the mountain and the foreground, and the foreground.

But here are a couple of main lessons I learned in creating this scene.

  1. The cloud generator can be fussy about the settings. Small settings make big changes. One of the first problems I encountered is that when generating a cloud with no background image, the default cloud doesn't look too bad--but it's too round. Put the cloud in front of an image and it develops a greenish glow like a toxic gas cloud. I've included some quick notes that I took while creating the cloud for this scene. It's not a tutorial, but they may be helpful if you have no idea what the cloud controls do. Also, you expose the material and texture controls (described my my notes) for the cloud by selecting the halo particles in object mode. Switching to edit mode allows you to select particles and move them around to create a better looking cloud. Don't move the halo particles outside of the cloud bounding box or they will begin to display as small white specks instead of fluffy cloud material.

  2. That I could sculpt a single cloud into a better shape by selecting groups of halo particles and repositioning them to make the cloud billow more or less.

  3. That combining multiple generated clouds can be tricky as the effects are cumulative. However, I found that I could scale up one cloud's bounding box and move halo particles from other generated cloud sets to make bigger clouds and to shape them. I'm not sure it's worth the effort, but it was an interesting discovery.

Despite the time it took to figure out how to create a decent cloud that reflects the ambient lighting and has some depth to it, I think the cloud in this scene turned out fairly well for a first try.

  1. That images with alpha transparencies do not play well with environmental lighting. The transparent parts of the image cast light shadows onto other objects. I could not find a way to make the alpha channel completely transparent using environmental lighting. If someone has a solution, please post in the comments below. While the overall lighting for the snow and environment was much better using environmental lighting, I has wa forced to abandon that effort and use a five or six different lamps to simulate it.

  2. Lighting in this scene consists of a main sun, a second sun for the blue shadows, a spot lamp to give the cloud between the foreground and background more color, there are two area lamps using negative light to bring back detail that had been blown out by the other lamps.

I'd like to note that Andrew Price ( has an excellent tutorial on creating a mountain scene that uses a snow shader lamp to control how much snow covers the mountain. It is really a very good technique that can be used for other uses as well.

The snow in the foreground could be better, but I didn't want to spend a lot of time on it. And the trees are not as convincing as I'd like. However, they are just there to frame the scene and learning about cloud generation was the real objective of the effort.

As always, the images are free of copyright restrictions. Use anything in the scene as you like. No credit is necessary.


  • CerFriBar profile picture

    Beautiful Scene! There is nothing else to say :-)

    Edited November 25, 2012
  • nickbrunner profile picture

    Very nice, well done!

    Edited November 26, 2012
  • sizzler profile picture

    Wow, another beautiful scene. I always look forward to your blends.

    Edited November 26, 2012
  • Yannis profile picture

    J'adore vos m

    Written November 30, 2012
  • Wooxen profile picture

    Nice description, and nice model too...

    Written November 30, 2012
  • meta-androcto profile picture

    thank you very much it's a very nice use of the cloud addon thanks, it's good to know people are using it well :)

    Written December 01, 2012
  • BMF profile picture

    And I have enjoyed studying your materials as well. Thank you sharing what you've learned with the rest of us.

    Written January 07, 2013
  • krishna profile picture

    halleluyah, ossom secene

    Written December 01, 2012
  • TheEpicBlend profile picture

    Woooow. Exceptional work, I love the snow material and the lighting setup. ITS AMAZING thank you for sharing :)

    Edited December 23, 2012
  • piromanuser1 profile picture

    thanks this great

    Written April 20, 2013
  • Dragan profile picture

    Its so cool! Literally!

    Written June 25, 2013
  • BMF profile picture

    Glad you like it. As I said, it just started out as an experiment using the Cloud Generator add-on to Blender.

    Even the very first model that I did (a coffee cup to go) I felt compelled to include it in a simple scene. There are a couple of models I've done without scenes, but they have left me less than satisfied. For some reason, I prefer to include my primary model in a scene that adds context and attempts to convey as story or evoke an emotion.

    My personal favorite at this point is the beach scene. It started out as just an experiment to create realistic looking sand and ended up being the most popular scene that I've created to date. It's also the scene on which I've spent the least time and effort.

    I have to admit that I like my most recent scene as well: "End of the Day". For me, it captures the look, feel, and emotion of the remote mountain villages I used to visit when I worked in Central America for a couple of years.

    Take care.

    Written July 05, 2013
  • jambo profile picture

    Wow and Excellent work - thank you for sharing this. I really like the way the details stand out.

    Written November 16, 2013
  • BlackArtemis profile picture

    Love this scene

    Written December 24, 2016
  • Brambleclaw profile picture

    I was excited to download this till......I saw the "Internal". Oh well, I guess I'll keep looking

    Written November 30, 2017