Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 Posted by Jim Thacker

Cool tech demo: create clouds with Elementacular

Sunday Studio’s Elementacular technology is designed to simulate natural phenomena like clouds and rock in real time, using a simple drag-and-drop workflow. See more demo videos on the Elementacular website.

Originally posted on 29 November 2013. Scroll down for updates.

Danish research body the Alexandra Institute has released some interesting demo videos of Elementacular, its work-in-progress technology for simulating natural effects in 3D.

Elementacular, which is based on an OpenGL platform (“AAA game technology”, according to TD Christian Esbo Agergaard from project partners Sunday Studio), simulates clouds and rock in real time.

The technology has currently been implemented in a Maya plugin, shown in the video above, with an After Effects version already in the works. The studio is also considering a Nuke implementation.

Simple drag-and-drop workflow
As the video demonstrates, workflow can be as simple as importing an arbitrary model and dragging on a cloud material: “The platform is a base for VFX in real time without drowning in sliders and sim time,” says Agergaard.

Once created, the underlying cloud geometry can be adjusted live, with support for real-time relighting. Workflow for rock (above) is similar, and the two simulation types can be combined to eye-catching effect.

Agergaard says that the platform could be used to simulate other natural phenomena like fire, water or snow.

Updated 21 August 2014: The cloud module of Elementacular is now shipping for Maya 2013 and above.

The plugin includes tools for modelling clouds, plus procedural parameters for extra detail, and is capable of batch rendering with alpha masks for final compositing. A personal licence costs $175.

Visit the Elementacular website