These are super busy times with only two weeks left in the project, so here's a quick update on things so far.
The environment has been steadily coming together with the textures finally in place. These are just some raw renders at the moment without the benefit of any passes.
Sample of some of the texture maps created for the scene (normal maps are also used)
Bringing Volan into the environment
Further experimenting with fluids for the clouds using two approaches.
Creating a large clould fluid can provide the background clouds to the scene, though I am concerned with the render time with the larger cloud bed image below taking up to 3-4 minutes. Although, such a large expanse as this may not be necessary with concerns to the framing of the shot camera.
Using a combination of serveral smaller cloud fluids offers greater control and quicker render times, so perhaps the same can be used to create the background clouds. Otherwise, this method will be necessary for closer foreground clouds which will help to reveal the nature of the island.
Smaller 'single' use of cloud fluids (Low poly environment used)
Overall, most of the secondary animation elements such as the swaying of balloons is in place which I'll post in the form of a previs soon (along with the updated camera momvent), where I am continuing to refine the character animation and use of cloud fluids as remaining major elements.