The Power of Cloud Textures in CG

Compositing is where all elements come together.

3 min

July 9, 2023

Clouds Collection

Sky-replacement is one of the most powerful aspects of matte-painting.
It allows you to bring out the true detail of a natural sky in your artwork.

I’ve recently explored sky-replacement with a series of personal renders about wind-farms.

A photorealistic 3D render of a windmill in motion against dynamic clouds with naturalistic lighting. The windmill is in motion and shows visible motion blur. The golden leaves on the trees create a magical effect. The render has been made in Cinema 4D and Chaos Corona.
Daytime with Chaos Corona Scatter trees.
Clouds from the Freely Available Complete Clouds Pack.

A photorealistic renders of windmills in the far distance in the middle of a foggy environment. The windmills are in motion and show visible motion blur. The render has been made in Cinema 4D and Chaos Corona.
Misty evening with a fog volume effect. Snowy clouds in the background.

A photorealistic renders of windmills in motion against the sunrise. It is dark and the windmills are silhouetted against the golden sun. The windmills show motion blur. The render has been made in Cinema 4D and Chaos Corona.
Sunrise with Tropical clouds.

Compositing Breakdown

Below you can see the different layers that have been combined to achieve the final results.
Each foreground plate has been rendered inside of Cinema 4D with Chaos Corona.
And it uses a combination of a Corona Sky and a Light Material with the cloud map in the background. This helps with blending the values during compositing.

A compositing breakdown of sky replacement and adding a matte painting as a background in a 3d render. This is from the windmill example by Blauw Films for Chaos Corona.

A compositing breakdown of sky replacement and adding a matte painting as a background in a 3d render. This is from the windmill example by Blauw Films for Chaos Corona.

A compositing breakdown of sky replacement and adding a matte painting as a background in a 3d render. This is from the windmill example by Blauw Films for Chaos Corona.

For each render the lighting was based on a photograph from our Freely available Complete Clouds Pack.
This allowed for easier compositing and matching of the color and light values.

The renders were made in Cinema 4D with Corona Renderer 8.
They were composited in Adobe After Effects.

The Complete Clouds Pack by Blauw Films for matte painting, concept art and 3D environment artists. This free production Resource is the best for sky-replacement in visual effects.
Our Complete Clouds Pack collection with over 800 images.

With years of compositing experience I’ve come to realise I needed a large library of Cloud assets with a high dynamic range.
For that reason I’ve been continuously developing this asset collection to help beginner and experienced artists in need of clouds.

European Clouds photograph examples. The Complete Clouds Pack by Blauw Films for matte painting, concept art and 3D environment artists. This free production Resource is the best for sky-replacement in visual effects.

European Clouds examples in the late afternoon. The Complete Clouds Pack by Blauw Films for matte painting, concept art and 3D environment artists. This free production Resource is the best for sky-replacement in visual effects.

Snowy clouds and overcast clouds examples. The Complete Clouds Pack by Blauw Films for matte painting, concept art and 3D environment artists. This free production Resource is the best for sky-replacement in visual effects.

Tropical Clouds examples. The Complete Clouds Pack by Blauw Films for matte painting, concept art and 3D environment artists. This free production Resource is the best for sky-replacement in visual effects.

Clear skies and Skyline Clouds examples. The Complete Clouds Pack by Blauw Films for matte painting, concept art and 3D environment artists. This free production Resource is the best for sky-replacement in visual effects.

In the future we will keep updating the asset library with more clouds in different times of day and locations in the world.

For now, we have a few tutorials that will get you up to speed on how to effectively do sky-replacement :)


Here we cover the basics of tracking and compositing your sky assets.

An important skill is matching the colors of your asset to your backplate.

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