Abandoned Gas Station

Hey guys! This is an abandoned gas station in the desert of Nevada… Last time it was used was in the 1950s. C&C Appreciated!
PS: Sorry for the grain, didn’t have time for a really high res render :o


Awesome! Love the feel. Sand needs to be less perfect, of course. Never seen “Cold Pop” advertised before, or at least don’t remember it from my days living in Iowa where they use the word for a fizzy soft drink. Not sure if it’s used that way in Nevada.

Thanks @TSPhillips :slight_smile: I’m not sure what they say out there… I know back in that time, windows were hand painted and would say Cold Pop (Or Soda, or Fizzy, or whatever they call them :stuck_out_tongue: ), but I’m not sure what word it would’ve been… Thanks again!

You need ambient occlusion / indirect lighting on.

Off to a nice start - agree with the above that with AO it’ll prevent the front deck from feeling so “floaty” above the sand.

Also, check the size of the windmill - It looks like it’s physically close to the garage, but maybe too small in scale. Perhaps it needs to be taller, or more clear that it’s in the distance with fogging and or blur?

The sand was too flat. Try adding a displacement modifier to it and use a cloud texture for the displacement map. You then make your own custom displacement and add another displacement modifier and load your custom map. That is what i do with terrain to make it more realistic. Try modelling small rocks and use the particle system to distribute them.

@Stark Designs Yes, the sand needs work, but it’s not as simple as you may think… It’s completely procedural, and here’s a few photos of the node setup…

The actual sand material

Inside the sand group

Inside 1 of 6 or 7 procedural texture groups…


What is it with BA doubling the images lately?
Anyhow, what exactly does AO do? I have an hdri, and I thought that essentially was all AO was needed for… Thanks :slight_smile:

AO (ambient occlusion) is a shading technique in rendering, whereupon, when geometry surfaces get close to one another, they are shaded more darkly due to being exposed less to ambient lighting. It’s used generally to fake shadows, and helps define shapes.

For Example:

This is going to help especially in your case with the deck, which appears to ‘float’ over the ground currently, due to no shading creating contrast to define the two surfaces.

Here’s a sloppy paint-over, and although not entirely accurate, the dark line helps “ground” the building in the scene:


This is fantastic. The floor and the back rock are most off putting for me at the mo… Just need to add some larger displacement bumps/grooves/cracks/ridges so it doesn’t stand out as a totally flat plane. The station is fantastic…offset some of the planks a bit…and make sure all the lines aren’t completely vertical with the camera:)

@Poly Runner, okay, I enabled it, but it’s just brightening my scene in a hideous way… Turned it way down, but still, quite ugly. I go assume you’re talking about the option in the World Settings, right?
@jim trim Thank you… Then mountain has since been moved almost entirely out of the picture, I now have bumpy sand near the camera. However, I’m not sure what you mean bout the planks… The porch and walls are very, very simplistic geometry… No planks were literally modeled. I did all of that work in the procedural materials… Thanks again :slight_smile:

I need to get off this computer before I spend the rest of the night in the BF WIP section enjoying the art. Man while agreeing with everything said above I’m liking the concept and composition except for a few judgment calls.

I would personally pull the camera out a bit and move the windmill back and slightly behind the building with just the top showing. Then we need a couple of large objects to establish the foreground and maybe lead our eye into say the broken window. I don’t know say a couple of tumbleweeds.

And, a crazy idea just occurred to me. Suppose there was a nice new shiny fifth of Jack Daniels on the table there. Something that clearly looks out of place. Well it’s just a thought. : ) Along with the other observations I would love to see the planks offset and several slightly broken. Ok I’m out of here before those node trees make my head explode. Looking good.

Thanks! I definitely appreciate this critique! I love the jack daniels idea, and the windmill… The plants could also help a bunch!
The windmill will be moved back right now as well :slight_smile: About the tumbleweed… That’s been an idea for the past few days, but my biggest issue, is how to make it… It’s not something I can just model… I tried the sapling addon, but I don’t find it to be of much help unfortunately… Any advice would be appreciated… Thanks! :smiley:

Also, since it’s a gas station, there will be vintage gas pumps outside… I’ve also modeled this bike to put in the scene… However I haven’t gotten a decent render with it in there yet…

Yeah the double posting of images is a little irritating for some reason. And, my attempts to correct that have only been 50 - 50.

Joey with respect to AO in Cycles I bought it up in a post and got many answers. To me it has been nothing but the old Hemi lamp in Blender internal. Something to bring the overall illumination up. My take away from the most knowledgeable answer was to generate the AO effect in Cycles you need to do it with a separate AO pass and then composite that in.

Unfortunately I don’t have any tutorial links. But, you obviously need a second render layer in the Layers section.

Yeah, thanks… I got rid of AO, because was exactly my conclusion… I don’t use render layers, so I know the principle, but not how to carry it out…
Anyhow, I have 3 days to finish, so it’s time to get on to the most important things… Like the gas pumps, vegetation around the area, and gawd awful shadows… I’m getting strange shadows in the render, and the only thing I can think of causing them, is the hdri…
I’m using prolighting skies tho, and high res image in there… I need the morning light to convey emotion, but right now, it’s showing just plane like objects as shadows, that don’t exist… Anywhere… It works fine with different hdris, but I haven’t found any with such good lighting angle and emotion… Or that renders so fast… Thanks

Here’s a pic of what I’m dealing with…


…that floor is a completely flat plane? Oops, no sorry wasn’t looking. You’ve added the bumps haven’t you. Have you toggled the shading mode to smooth -when it’s toggled to flat it can producede some hard nasty shadows…?

For some reason the AO in the world settings is set to Add by default. Change it to Multiply for the desired effect.

What is it with BA doubling the images lately?

Joey I just stumbled on this when posting a image. The top image won’t open. Whereas the bottom or second image will open to 720p or whatever.