I’ve been experimenting with a technique to extract height data of clouds from satellite images. The screen shots below show my first attempts. The data is 250m resolution colour satellite image (need to provide link).

I’ve been able to extract the clouds and apply them to a landscape (currently not the same terrain that features in the satellite image). I’ve used several layers to which I’ve applied the height textures, and used a cutout to provide shadows. This has enabled me to show the heights of the clouds.

The clouds have then been animated by sampling different areas of the satellite image. Although this far from an effective method of animating clouds currently, with further investigation and linking it with wind direction data, it could prove to be a particularly useful method. The method could be used to tween the frames between satellite key frames.

The images show cut-out textures (view from above), and alpha blended textures (view from below). The cutout textures resemble the images seen on TV weather broadcasts, which presumably must use similar slicing techniques to extract and apply a satellite image to the birdseye view of the ground.

The potential of the height element of slicing will be in mixing it with particles to create particle clouds using height data. Combining these techniques, e.g. Harris clouds and sliced clouds, will be my next task.

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