The most recent (and hopefully the best) stuff is first. Click on the pictures for higher resolution images.
The physics of reflection, emission and dust-cloud erosion is now being much better simulated. Kaler's fascinating "Cosmic Clouds" book was essential reading.
I've recently been looking at some of David Malin's superb photography, so the Hubble's false-colouring is now OUT. Malin's wide angle pictures also put things in perspective: features like the "pillars" are actually relatively minor items contained within vastly larger structures, and it is these larger objects which I'm now trying to simulate. These images also begin to model (although crudely) blue reflection and red emission as distinct phenomena.
Random nebulae with and without illumination.
A new approach using Hubble imagery and multi-scale noise.
The Eagle Nebula, constructed using a map derived from real Hubble imagery.
An earlier attempt to recreate the famous "pillars" in the Eagle Nebula.
Early attempt ~May 1998
A sphere textured by a turbulence function (multi-scale noise). The texture co-ordinate is also perturbed by a turbulent vector field, with the gas luminosity modulated by the field's divergence (so regions of compression are brighter). This makes things a bit more interesting, but the whole thing is still painfully 2D when you fly round it.