Today marks the first day I have ever drawn and rendered a cloud in VHEL. Why in the world is this important? It's because clouds, smoke, and most other types of gas-like effects are tricky to piece together. Oddly, even though VHEL is very stylistic, drawing clouds that best fit it's universe and the atmosphere, is actually quite challenging. I believe I referenced 5 sources for the best results: Street Fighter 3, Borderlands, Uncharted (explosive effects), Wind Waker, Kingdom Hearts, and Team Fortress 2. I chose these games to reference because of the way smoke and clouds maintained a consistent silhouette, while also utilizing a much more vibrant color palette.
The clouds in VHEL have a soft purple color to them, contrasted by darker tones to give the impression of rainclouds. After about 2 hours, I had a prototype up and going. Afterward, I decided to tackle explosive effects to see if I could work with similar assets and techniques. To be fair, I don't exactly want over-the-top, super crazy, seizure inducing explosive effects, because on a lot of levels, that's overkill and terrible on the eyes. Instead, I decided to focus on colors that could help identify the type of explosions and smoke effects, with as little visual noise as possible. Red obviously works to show warmth and heat, so I use that in contrast to an almost black color in smoke clouds to show the remnants of an explosion.
Animating clouds are not too, too hard to do, but I won't lie and say that they're a cake walk. This, along with water and fire are probably my worst enemies because they demand so much more when it comes down to articulation and accuracy. I am happy about the results I did achieve thus far with the smoke and clouds, but we'll just see how best I can create them in the future. I'm actually quite excited. =o