18th century battlefield

Hey guys - this is my attempt at creating a wallpaper for the upcoming Empire: Total War and I’m doing this for my school VisCom project. This started off with “My first human model” thread found at http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?p=1141257#post1141257 , but since the subject has changed and noone looks at my post lately I decided to make a new thread.
So here’s the first rendered scene!
http://img376.imageshack.us/img376/6752/25zq2.jpg
What I really want to do is increase the number of cannoneers and soldiers. Make more buildings and make the town full of smoke and some fire (thats why the buildings are of such a low quality) and create some explosions on the battlefield along with some smoke and dust + if I have time make 3-5 cavalrymen charge the soldiers form the left (might look more like ‘DOG’ men because of my superb modeling skills ;).
It seems to me now that I’ll have to make 3 renders - smoke and explosions, scenery and soldiers and GRASS. It looks cheap but the things Im really trying to achieve now is good looking smoke and fire and try not to stuff up my saves and PC in process.
One thing that I cant achieve is realistic looking smoke and explosions…especially explosions - I want to have plenty of those. I want the final to look …u know - war-like: lots of smoke, dust and definetly to as green and crisp as now.

So any comments are welcome along with any links you think might be useful to me: either for BLENDER of Photoshop or Gimp (all good). :yes:

there’s no grass texture detail immediately around all the characters. If these are individually posed characters, you could also try adjusting the poses a little as a lot of them are exactly the same (esp the two standing nearest the camera)

The problem with the grass is that i had to make 2 separate renderers - 1 of grass and 1 of the rest of the scene (Core 2 Quad Q6600) - but that still cant render all of the staff together, so I had to copy-paste the soldiers and town in Photoshop.
The poses are mostly similar ye…I’ll work on that! thanks

On this scale with no close up of the grass I’d have a go at applying a grass texture and bump for the floor. It does look good now but it’ll be killing your render times.

Yeah, then you could do tufts of grass for added detail.

The lighting needs a bit of an adjustment (although you could do this later on in the project) at the moment it loks like it is a little diorama of inch-high models.

Looks good so far, keep it up.

That’s not right, the scene doesn’t have that many polys unless each soldier has hundreds of thousands each, which I should hope they don’t.

Maybe you could upload a .blend and we could look into it.

Its not the poly count its the amount of particle grass thats being used thats causing the need for a separate render of grass.

As a quick test save your file. Remove the grass particles then hit render. I bet its a massive difference even with all layers rendering.

Also how many light sources do you have? Looks to be more than 1. All casting shadows. This will be adding to the long render times too but not as much as the ‘grass’.

Have a look at the Game Loading Screen thread in my sig, is that smoke kind of what you’re looking for? On second thought, that was done with the old particle system, but it might still apply. The smoke in those pictures has about 1000 particles, it could be improved by increasing the amount of particles and lowering halo size (I think).

edit: Rhysy has made a nice explosion tutorial that might help you out http://rhysy.plexersoft.com/ExplosionTut.pdf

I agree with the others about removing particle grass, at least for now, it’s not really needed at such a distance.

Those soldier models look nice. How many polys are they?

On a side note, I eagerly anticpate Emire Total War as well. If my comp can run it is another question…:spin:

I tried rendering with diffrent settings:
6 mins - grass and 4 light sources
1.02 - no grass and 4 light sources
56 secs - no grass, 1 light source
Conclusion: get rid of the grass and unnecessary light sources!
I am not sure how to count the amount of polys but my original had about 5000 vertices in its head and about as much for the rest. I cleaned it up after that and thats how it looks like now ( I’ve made some changes like adding bones and merging meshes when I pu it on the battlefield):
http://img145.imageshack.us/img145/9514/soldiermeshpartsxo1.jpg
Thanks ou all for your replies and for the link. As for uploading the .blend - I can only do that for the individual parts, because my save file was 30 mgs and now is 11(after i deleted grass… grass=19mgs, crazy!) Blender also created some weird folders called “blendcache_…”.
1 more interesting aspect to note is that when I tried rendering scenery + grass it usually crashed, this time it didnt - weird.

One question: do you think I should create lots of rubble like: cannon balls near cannon positions, pieces of wood and weapons on the ground or keep it simple at this stage and work on effects like smoke and explosions?

By the way KJ3D, your loading screen renderer looks amazing! I wish mine looke something like it: the ripped falgs, the grass and the smoke in particular is GREAT!

Without the grass and the hugely improved times to render you could easily afford to add more stuff in :slight_smile: At the moment because of the lack in number of items it looks slightly like a scale model of a battlefield. With extra items in there it will add to the realism.

The new render times seem much better. Especially if your looking to animate this!

My suggestion would be to finish placing soldiers, cannons, etc, then working on smoke, explosions, and debris all together.

To check polycount of an object, select it and look in the upper right corner (next to verts, I believe). With your computer, you might have to reduce polys of those soldiers even more if you want a large army. You can use decimate or a poly reducer script, I don’t really know how well they work.

blendcache is 2.46s way of storing cached particles, and other physics systems. I think.

When I get back home (in a few days), I can give you the material settings for my smoke if you’re interested.

Really awesome stuff. Keep up the great work and you’ll have some magincent to share with all of us.

Way to many poly’s in that head if this is the distance you are going to use for the final. Also take a look at any head modeling tut to perfect that a bit. My guess is you could easily half the amount of poly’s used which can shave of some valuable sec’s on you test renders…especially when you get into adding more soldiers.

My final is actually going to be on A3, meaning that much more detail will be visible, so I think that I should leave the head as it is at least for now, but thanks for the suggestion! As for the smoke sample (KJ3D) - I’d much appreciate anything that could teach me or serve as an example for my scene.

The big problem now is to decide whether I want more troops on the battlefield (what do you think?) or not and also I am not sure what sort of debris can I introduce. I looked at some paintings and sketches of battles of that time and didn’t find much except bodies and some weapons and SMOKE.

With the additions to the particle system for the grass thanks to BBB, I would say it should be possible to load that field with good looking grass and not alter that render time too much, though, a second render of the grass itself and use of the z-buffer to plug it into the scene is not a bad idea at all. Look into the features of children and simplification (active only when strand render is active) in the particles setup. The amount of poly’s for the characters is a little rediculous if not going for any close up shots. Smoke and fire will probably be easiest held with billboards. As well should be a third seperate render that will be composited in with the newly improved z-buffer tricks and nodes. It’s about making as much detail as you need and rendering it out in passes so as to not kill the computer or Blender. It’s a great start though, I’d love to see a commercial quality finished product of this very much.

Sorry mate, but I got a bit confused by your post. What do you mean by “it should be possible to load that field with good looking grass”, “use of the z-buffer to plug it into the scene” and “rendering it out in passes”. I looked up rendering in passes but couldn’t find much useful and didn’t get the rest at all… (I am new to blender and whole 3D modeling concept)

Zmask was apparently the term I was looking for. If you go to the 2.46 page on blender.org and check out the Render Pipeline section it shows you examples. It’s all about creating seperate render layers and combining them later with nodes. As far as the grass goes, I set up this render to display what I’m talking about.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v209/dtmidian/field.jpg

That’s 3,000 particles, with 100 children per particle assigned to faces, for roughly 3 hundred thousand particles. Rendered in 3 1/2 minutes with a file size of 3 megs. (You could assign 6,000 particles with 50 children per for a less patchy look and probably not suffer much of a hit). Learning how to use the child simplification would be helpful in cutting down render times as well. Which would consider 2 things when rendering the children. If they’re outside of the viewport, they would not be calculated, and the further from the camera, the less children are rendered.

wow, thats really nice, but i dont get the children thing

Children are more like virtual than tangible particles. They’re fillers that are basically calculated only during render, hence the lesser file size, and inherit the properties of their parents, hence the patchier look (though with some settings in the children panel, that can be fixed as well, I was just feeling lazy). The simplification part I haven’t quite worked out yet. I’m not understanding exactly how it works but I’m taking notes of how it was used in BBB to try and figure it out.