Procedural 3D Molecular Cloud For Cycles

by Brent Patterson in Surfacing


This is a growing collection of blend files of similar configuration meant to serve as starting points to render your own procedural molecular clouds. Since Blender 3.0, Cycles now makes these type of procedural volume renders (almost) practical if you have access to a modern GPU. As opposed to Eevee, you can fully animate fly-throughs of these clouds in Cycles without the notorious undulating artifacts that detailed volumes in Eevee are known for. In other words, smooth animations, but you must use Cycles.

Here are some render time comparisons on various systems:

RTX 3090 5 - 20 minutes (~60 minutes @4k) (some setups render much faster, some slower)
(setups with volume steps set to 0.2 or below are significantly slower (but provide more detailed renders) - again render time is anywhere between 5 - 45 minutes on an RTX 3090 depending on resolution
RTX 3080 ~10 minutes
RTX 2070 Super ~15 minutes
GTX 1080 ~27 minutes
GTX 1060 ~56 minutes

The Readme in the blend files details how to get started using this setup.

I develop new molecular cloud setups frequently, and I'll update this product when I do.

Some intermediate experience with Blender shader nodes is recommended.

License: This is a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 file.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/legalcode

Sales 10+
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Dev Fund Contributor
Published 11 months ago
Blender Version 3.6
Render Engine Used Cycles
License Creative Commons
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