Realistic rendering of clouds in real-time / Rendu réaliste de nuages en temps-réel

PhD thesis from Université Joseph Fourier - june 2008
Download the publication : thesis.pdf [72.3Mo]   defense.ppt [104.8Mo]  
Video games and visual effects are always in the need for more realistic images of natural scenes, including clouds. Traditional computer graphics methods involve high amounts of memory and computing resources which currently limits their realism and speed. In this thesis we propose new approaches for the realistic rendering of clouds in realtime. These goals are achieved using a methodology relying on both physical and phenomenological approaches.

In the first part of this thesis we study the clouds from the point of view of a human observer, which allows us to identify the important visual features that characterize clouds. These features are the ones we seek to reproduce in order to achieve realism. In the second part we conduct an experimental study of light transport in a slab of cloud using the laws of radiative transfer. This study allows us to better understand the physics of light transport in clouds at a mesoscopic and macroscopic scale, to find the origin of the visual features of clouds, and to derive new, efficient phenomenological models of light transport. In the third part we propose two new methods for the rendering of clouds based on the findings of our study. The first model is aimed at stratiform clouds and achieves realistic rendering in realtime. The second model is aimed at cumuliform clouds and achieves realistic rendering in interactive time. These models are optimized for graphics hardware.

These works can be extended to other applications involving the rendering of participating media such as subsurface scattering.

Images and movies


See also

See also:

BibTex references

  author       = "Bouthors, Antoine and Neyret, Fabrice",
  title        = "Realistic rendering of clouds in real-time / Rendu r\'ealiste de nuages en temps-r\'eel",
  school       = "Universit\'e Joseph Fourier",
  month        = "june",
  year         = "2008",
  type         = "PhD thesis",
  url          = ""

Other publications in the database

» Antoine Bouthors : in lab LJK base , in team EVASION base
» Fabrice Neyret : in lab LJK base , in team EVASION base