In this short video tutorial I will show you how to create a realistic mushroom-cloud with ChaosGroup PhoenixFD. Here are some of the important steps:
One directinal light, PHSource, a cylinder and PHSimulator will be enough.
Key your Discharger from 300 to 5. (From frame 0 to 11). Higher Temp will make your cloud looks more noisy and chaos. Higher Smoke value bring more detail of cloud.
Here are must important parameters that contribute simulation results. Cell size means voxel size but lower the cell size doesn't guaranty a realistic results. Increase the Maximal step when you lower your cell size. Play around with your smoke/temperature amounts to get the best results.
Cloud should in dark gray color. More scatter multiplier makes cloud more transparent.
A directional light with higher Mutiplier value will make your rendering looks much contrast and dynamic. Here I use vaule of 5 and orange color (the color of sun). Don't forget to turn on Atmosphere Shadow.
Sampler Type is one of the key parameter to make your cloud looks sharper and realistic. (The default is set to Spherical)
Turn on your GI, a very low preset of Irradiance Map will be enough.
Make your Sky light half bright. Gamma to 2.2.
Tutorial link (running time is about 15mins):
PhoenixFD mushroom cloud (Youtube video)
Some random rendernings