In this short article I'll talk about the lightwave procedurals and some of the many uses they can have, with a focus on the "FBM noise" and "puffy clouds" lightwave procudurals. This article aims to newbies if you're an experienced user you'll probably know what I'm going to say, anyway it could be a nice reading for the intermediate users too!
Procedurals are usually generated by some arithmetic algorithm and they're great to simulate the randomness typical of real world surfaces like dust and dirty, rust, marbles,and various terrain approximations.
Its rare that I use only procedurals to texture an object, because they give too much of CG look to our renderings reducing realism. Instead procedurals layers above image maps layers are an excellent way to provide variations on the texture and enhance the overall look of the texture.
So let's talk about this aspect: realism is also in the details, and a nice clean texture have very little detail, with some exceptions it is also uncommon in real world that a surface is perfectly clean and smooth, while we know that cg renderings expecially if you're a beginner are often too clean! we hear this from the pro's every day: dirty up everything should be dirt! A solution to this might be using image maps, but I found that most of the times they're too clean too..So if you dont want to fire your favourite paint program and start painting on them immediately, we can add various layers of procedurals first to dirty up things even more.
My favourites procedurals to dirty a texture image are the fbm noise and puffy clouds, if you look at them they're very similar but different from all the others lightwave procedurals like fractal noises or turbolence. The turbolence procedural for example covers most of your surface with its color (see figure A: a green turbolence on a white surface) you could change the contrast but you'll loose most of details that's why I think this kind of procedurals does not fit our scope, if we apply this over an image map texture, most of the details of the image will be covered by the procedural color and this is the exact opposite of our intents, we want to add details not to remove them!
TIP: always play with procedurals using an high contrast color so you can clearly see how they're affecting the surface directly on lightwave's VIPER