In this tutorial I'll show you a rather simple way to make quasi-realistic cloud formations using the RMD toolset.
Welcome, class. Lets begin by creating a background that approximates a sky-like color.
Something in Blue would be a fine choice, let's go with that...
Now, lets create the base of the cloud formation. I've chosen two types of clouds, and since I'm no meteorologist we'll call them 'Flat and Whispy' and 'Thick and Billowy' because I just can't spell Stratocumulonimbo...well anyway, put your pallet in the white at around 40% transparency. Using the shape tool, create the basic cloud shape. It may help to look outside on a partly cloudy day, but always remember that clouds are natures abstracts, they aren't big round puffballs, there are very intricate shapes and patterns so scribble a bit around the edges if you have to, make the basic outline as complex as you feel comfortable with.
Now let's decide where your lightsource is coming from...for the 'Flat and Whispy' clouds, the light would seem to be coming from the right, for the 'Thick and Billowy' clouds, the lightsource would be coming from the left. Keeping the pallet in the white, drop your transparency to around 20%. Again using the shape tool, go around and highlight the outside edges of the cloud, and work your way inward, maintaining the 'abstract uniformity' of the basic outline, and stack your highlights, so that you begin to have varying degrees of light reflecting off the cloud surface. PLEASE BEAR IN MIND: This process tends to eat up alot of ink, so try not to overdo it, but spread the highligts around uniformly and make it complex enough to look realistic.
Am I making any sense at all here?
Good. Glad you understand so far.
As you can see, the clouds begin to take on a more realistic look as you stack your transparencies progressively inward. Using some of the canvas color at 100% (no tranparency) to highlight and clean up some of the edges helps as well.
Here, the 'Flat and Whispy' clouds would make for a dandy mountainscape, but I wasn't in the mood for that, and decided to keep the 'Thick and Billowy' clouds for my drawing example. Hey you- in the back row...Wake up!!
Now we've made a seascape, adding some semi transparent blue that's a few shades darker than the canvas color, then going back to the 20% transparency in the white, adding contrails and the moon, as well as the lightning bolt and highlighting the ocean with a few reflections.
Notice how we went from 81% to 62%...but hey, if the results work, you can conserve somewhere else.
Then we add a ship, a rather simple one, but it rounds out the composition and gives the clouds something to menace. We end up with 38% ink left, so probably could have done lots of things, but I think its fun to try to see how much you can do with how little. So there you have it friends, thus endeth todays lesson in Brutocumulus cloud making. Thanks for attending and have a great day!