A quick little RnD test I did for getting clouds in fume fx. I've seen many tutorials for it before but never really liked the very noisy broken up look. I was aiming for a more animation/fluffy look, I think it looks quite nice, not quite 'real' but it suits the project it's aimed at.
The process is using some noise distorted meshes with a little bit of manual sculpting to give initial shape. Then generating the clouds using 2 different FumeFx systems - one with more detail and selective emission on a obj surface emission to get the bubbly look, and another to just fill the obj volume and create a smoother look on the lower part of the cloud.
Works pretty well, sims in about 10mins for both sims for around 10frames. Then freeze frame the rest.
Render is pretty decent : 1min per frame @ 1080.
All in all a successful test BUT not quite fast enough. Project this is aimed at would need me to get render times down to under 20sec per frame. .
Think I'l look into using sprites next.
If you ask nicely I'll share this max file with you :)