Here’s another


Made a butte brush, here’s a scene using same. I decided to colour it this time (the brush itself is greyscale) using an appropriate and fairly traditional colour scheme. The composition is not that great, and I haven’t fixed the lighting on the smaller butte, but playing around with these is a lot of fun. Maybe I’ll try the Dolomites next.

Custom Brushes


Looking at the image component approach to concept art again. I’m doing a course on LearnSquared about World Building, and the tutor is creating custom brushes for architectural detail. Reminded me of a tutorial I have by David Levy, describing the custom brush approach. Basically use custom brushes to create a library of image components that one can quickly throw into a speed painting. Also Simon Scales was big on custom vector shapes, but basically the same idea.

The trees here were rendered out of Blender as masks for an XFrog tree, then turned into a brush. Learning how to do that should be really useful. The clouds and rocks were made by hand in GIMP, following David Levy’s tutorial. I used mainly the path tool in GIMP to draw a mountain following a reference image that I like, then turned it into another brush. Also I used a couple of standard GIMP texture brushes.

Most concept artists recommend starting with value sketches, so this approach definitely lends itself to that. With a library of elements it should be fairly easy to play around with scenes and compositions, which is the whole idea after all.

Mirabile Dictu

I’m looking into concept art again, doing a course on LearnSquared on Creating a World. Lots of sketching of course, so I’m looking at GIMP again and trying to get back up to speed, especially with custom brushes. I got a bit stuck on some details, but lo and behold I remembered that I made some tutorials on this very topic about five years ago.

So, off to my YouTube channel, and reviewed the three tutorials I made on creating custom brushes in GIMP. All my questions were answered! I knew what I was doing back then. I guess that’s because I used to teach GIMP in my web design courses before RMIT made Photoshop available to everyone.

Neolithic Hut


Finally decided to tackle a thatched building. This is a particle system, specifically hair. I found a couple of useful settings for thatch, and doubled it up anyway for extra thickness. There’s no thatch on the back so I guess I could afford twice as much on the front.

I sculpted the walls a bit. Saw a video on recreating a thatched hut similar to this near Stonehenge. Walls were wattle and daub (crushed chalk plus hay + water). This hasn’t turned out too badly, given that it’s just a rough ‘sketch’. Have strewn a few plants around for extra realism.

Garden with Grapevine



I’ve been spending time playing around with ground textures. A while back I did a course with Andres Rodriguez on Environment Art, and he demonstrated making ground textures in Substance Designer, so I thought I’d have a go at doing something similar in Blender. Substance Designer has a nice library of noise textures to use, and Cycles is a bit limited to a noise texture, a voronoi texture and a musgrave texture, so I had to do what I could with those. You don’t actually see much of the ground in the above image, because I got carried away a bit and added grass (from an XFrog tutorial), a grapevine (XFrog library), and a brick wall (texture from CC0Textures). I did make the grass myself though. And the ground, of course. Lighting courtesy of EasyHDRI.



This is a pretty impressive field of ryegrass. I’m still working on the second collection of XFrog plants – Agricultural. I’m still completely uninspired as to actual image making, so having a somewhat mechanical task to keep me engaged is probably a good thing. Maybe some idea will suggest itself to me as I work, apart from a plane with a particle system of plants, that is.


Some years ago I posted some work to CGSociety gallery, but didn’t get any interest. Lots of professionals post to that site. So I’ve tended to stick to sites devoted to the software I’m using – Blender and Vue – which are smaller communities. I had some interaction with Vue users until that site went down. I’ve never had much interest on BlenderArtists. Few people there are into landscapes.

Anyway, I’m hoping to actually get fairly good at 3D landscapes now that I have a bit of time to devote to it. So I bit the bullet and created an account on Artstation, a site that is really intended for professionals to promote their work. Lo and behold I’ve already got some interest in the couple of images I’ve posted. Admittedly they are my best work to date. Still, it’s good to know that my best is passable. Just need to make more like it.

Tea Plantation


After spending some time making dry versions of the oat plants (just editing the textures), I worked on the next agricultural plant which is the tea plant. Nine versions of this one too. Here’s a small tea plantation. Most of the work is fixing the leaf textures to work with cycles – alphas and some translucency. Occasionally scaling and rotating to normalize all the transforms. Not sure how necessary that is.



Feeling uninspired again, so I’ve gone back to ‘blenderising’ the XFrog library. I’m on to agricultural plants, which could be very useful. First up is oats, in nine different variations. Pretty nice really. Here I have a ‘field’ of oats with randomized scale, rotation and a bit of clumping thrown in. I might have to provide some dry leaf textures, as my recollection of most of these plants in real life is that they are dry.