Landscape Basics


Despite having worked on landscapes for a decade or more, sometimes I get lazy. I found a nice course on Udemy for a discounted price (solstice is the current excuse) and it’s going through some basics. Such as the importance of value. This is fairly easy to forget when doing 3D landscapes, but it’s quite easy to convert a render to monochrome and check out the values. Also the importance of layers.

In the case of this image I started with the hills (background), the plants (midground really) and the sky. I needed a far background, and an actual foreground. So I added larger terrains at the back, and adjusted size and distance so that aerial perpective differentiated them enough from the background hills, which had a rock/grass texture to make them a little darker. Including some foreground meant I needed to give it a more interesting material than the default, so I found a rocky material in the library. Plus a couple of objects (rock, dead branch) so the foreground wasn’t too bare.

The result is a lot better than I first started with. It’s good to be reminded of what I need to be doing to make successful images.

Vue Library


I’ve been exploring the Vue library and trying out a few things that I haven’t done before. Such as generate several variants of basic Vue trees by changing the seed value in the plant editor. The trees still tend to look a bit strange because the alpha planes used for the leaves are relatively large, but I fixed that in post with the liquefy tool in strategic spots. Multipass rendering is now only available in the professional edition, but one can render selected objects as a separate image, so that’s something.

I’m becoming increasingly inclined to just focus on landscapes, and incorporate the ideas of Edgar Payne. Vue is definitely the tool to use for that kind of work.

Cabin model by OliverMH, from Blendswap.


And here’s another I whipped up with just a terrain preset and a couple of Joshua trees.

Old Acacia


Here’s a simple scene, just a tree, some clouds, and a bit of grass, with a couple of standard terrains in the background. Viewport performance was surprisingly sluggish this time around, given the GPU I’m using. Anyway I’m just doing simple stuff at the moment. So many directions I don’t know which way to turn.

Another Landscape


Also from 2016, and inspired by a painting by Efim Volkov. I’ve been trying a lot of things over the past year, but I still like landscapes the best and intend to concentrate on them for the time being. Someone on YT was recreating Bob Ross paintings in 3D. Guess I’m doing the same with Russian landscape painters. I’ve bought ebooks of paintings by various painters from Amazon at ridiculously cheap prices.

Old Project


I’ve been looking through some old projects and came across this one that I did in 2016. I don’t seem to have posted it anywhere, so here it is.

And here’s another I did about the same time, based on  a painting by Efim Volkov.


Simple Scene


So here’s the new approach. Proof of concept, as usual. Terrain generated in World Machine. Vue’s terrain sculpting is still terrible. I tried both 1k and 4k maps but it didn’t make much difference except the time it took to build. Maybe 2k would work here. The image is about 2k wide and the terrain just about fills the width. I can’t use OpenEXR with Vue, and it did give me terrific detail in Blender. I guess I can just export the mesh from Blender if I really need that. Or export the mesh from World Machine.

I fiddled around with the material for the mountain, using a deposit map I also exported out of WM. It worked OK, you just need the right settings – Object Parametric mapping, with flat top down projection of the alpha map, plus enable global transparency for the material. The clouds are a lot easier to do than in Blender. I much prefer having some variety in cloud layers.

I can’t use my previously purchased assets yet, I need to get some kind of code from E-on to unlock them. However the assets I’ve used here were in the library by default, plus a BlendSwap cottage.


Silly me, I just realized why using the 4k map didn’t make much difference – I neglected to increase the resolution of the terrain! However having done that there is a significant difference in detail and I’ve taken a closer up shot here to show that. Also makes more of the cloud layers than the previous image.

Snow Mountain Redux



Reworking a tutorial from G@P. First is Blender, second is Vue. More complex clouds in the second (stratus and cumulus) whereas the cumulus clouds in the Blender version gave me problems with artefacts which had to be fixed in post. The Vue clouds could be better but Vue certainly has a much more sophisticated could editor than anything else I’ve seen.

It took me a while to get the material layers right in Vue, something I’ve always had trouble with, but having had a lot more experience with node-based materials in Blender it should be easier to get back up to speed in Vue, which has had node-based terrain and material editing for decades.

Blender vs Vue

Not an exact comparison, because I haven’t placed the camera in the same place, and other details differ, but as a general impression:



First is Blender, second is Vue. I must try this out for a couple of others created when I had got a bit better at doing landscapes in Blender.


Back to Vue


So, I whipped up this little scene in Vue, using a heightmap I had exported from WM for another project, and some basic grass, plus an preset atmosphere.

There has been very little interest in my work on BA. Also I’m not very satisfied with skies in Blender, and most of my work is landscape still, which I think I’ll stick with. I contacted the creator of RealSky about artefacts in clouds and he said that they were more interested in light than clouds, and probably wouldn’t be addressing that any time soon. HDRI skies are OK, but lack some impact. I guess Vue still has the best atmosphere engine around, and that is important for me.

I haven’t been doing any CG work lately, been concentrating on my music instead, but perhaps the time is coming when I can do both. I’m very inspired by the beautiful cloudscapes I see out my back window nearly every day. My Vue licence was about to expire, and I decided to renew it. Not sure where to post my work if I’m not using Blender much, ArtStation maybe. Or back to DeviantArt.