nm-8 skies

by NM-8 in Models

World node setup for complex cloud shading in the cycles world background.
nm-8 skies is a set of 10 world-backgrounds. You can adjust the sun angle, sunlight color and clouds with parameters for 

  • suncolor (RGB)
  • cloudcolor (RGB)
  • skycolor (to plug in a skybackground)
  • cumulus (how bulged shall the cloud get 0=none,  1 = natural)
  • translucency (light shining through the clouds)
  • godrays (beams along sundirection)
  • depth (parallax distortion to thicken the cloudlayer)
  • bump (for more contrast in the shading)
  • offset (for wind or movement of the clouds along the x and y axis. z axis serves as a random seed variation for the densitydsitribution)
  • sunangle (Vectorinput defining the direction of sunlight)



Additionally, you can use a "camera-movement" node to link the camera position to the offset of the clouds. that way they move with the camera and seem much more integrated into your scene.

And there's a "planetmap" node which gives you mapping coordinates for a planet-image-texture (for example the moon). The mapping coordinates rely on a normal as input, to define the direction where the image shall be placed. And a scalefactor to define the size of the image on the sky.
In a natural night scene, the sun can be understood as a moonlighting the clouds.
sun direction would, therefore, be a good vector input for the planetmap-node, which shall map the moon texture.

Have a look at the video to see the node setup in action. Mean render times are about 8 seconds per Frame with full HD. You can render them with 1 sample per pixel, which already gives crisp and animation-stable results.

Chose from a library of 9 world presets and adjust the colors and parameters to your scene.
This library will grow in time, customers will be noticed when an update occurs.


Why use this shader over others?
the quality is the big difference. It calculates a shading normal for the clouds, to know a much better light distribution, than other prodcts. Therefor you could call mn8 skies a 3d cloud shader. while others are 1-d cloud shaders. Their lighting has no direction, their clouds dont have lit/shady sides
"shading" means it reacts on the light and the direction from which this light comes. in other products, the clouds look the same no matter where the light comes from.
nm-8 skies is shading the clouds 3 dimensional, which enables the following effects:
- dualcolored clouds(depending on the shadingnormal the cloud may have shady cloud color, or suncolor)
- cumulus (a 3d shadingnormal enables to bulge puffy clouds)
-translucency (light penetrates the clouds based on their thickness and shadingnormal, so that only lit sides of a cloud are translucent, shady parts are not. again other products dont even differ between lit and shady sides...)
-bump (a shadingnormal helps to get some concrete relief into the cloudsurface)
-godrays: the sunlight casts beams through the clouds.

and there are some further features unrelated to the shadingnormal:
-cameramovement: the clouds follow the camera movement, so that you can integrate the background spatially to your scene, rather than have a static wallpaper on a firmament thats infinitely far away.
-planetmaps will help to easily map image textures (of planets) onto the sky, by simply using a normal node.




The Product contains a blend file from which you can append the world backgrounds.
Goto File/Append and locate the blendfile "nm8_skies.blend". Go to its "world" folder, to choose from the presets.
once you appended the world-preset you can apply it to your scene in the world-panel of the properties window.
To change parameters quickly you can go to node editor choose the world nodes and see all parameters at once. In the Nodeeditor Screenshot above you see three nodegroups. These are the three layers which you can color individually. Some presets combine these three into one simpler nodegroup with less parameters.
Lefthandside you see the camera-movement node which drives the offset for the clouds. So if oyu move your camera the background will react accordingly.

You can set the Sunangle and Skynormal in the nodes with the Spheres. Simply drag the sphere to rotate it. Left-right is the global x Axis, up-down is the global y axis.
All numerical Parameters are factors that work good in the range of 0-2. So high values like 50 for bump or cumulus will result in strange patterns. translucency of 20 would result in overexposed clouds... try to keep the values low if you're looking for a natural result.

Parameters of Cloud Nodegroups:

  • suncolor (RGB)
  • cloudcolor (RGB)
  • skycolor (to plug in a skybackground)
  • cumulus (how bulged shall the cloud get 0 = none,  1 = natural)
  • translucency (light shining through the clouds 0 = none, 0.2 = natural)
  • godrays (beams along sundirection 0 = none, 0.3= natural)
  • depth (parallax distortion to thicken the cloudlayer 0=flat, 1=natural)
  • bump (for more contrast in the shading 0 = flat shading,  0.2 = natural shading)
  • offset ( XYZ Vectorinput for wind or movement of the clouds along the x and y axis. z axis serves as a random seed variation for the densitydsitribution)

sunangle (XYZ Vectorinput defining the direction of sunlight)


To render fast you can seperate the background on a renderlayer and use 1 sample per pixel to speed up rendertimes. This way you get a FullHD Image in a matter of seconds.

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