Hi everyone, this is a personal project that I’m working on, I wanted something complex to test the new cycles volume shaders,

the project started after been inspired by an underwater photo:

1-I took five minutes to make a quick sketch in GIMP
2-then started with simple modelling in blender, extruding a plane…
3-set the volume shader and the base lighting…
4-after I had a good mood, I sculpted the rocks…
5-added details progressively (the submarine, the shipwreck …)
6-added more details with particles system (rocks, dust particles…)

7-launched a Hi res render (3000x2000pixel) with 2000 samples (took 13 hours :frowning: with cpu render)
too see how it works in full size and work is needed:
now I’m looking to make the volume light of the spot lamps more visible (lamps of the submarine)

EDIT: the source file (blend) is available for free download, register and get you copy from

EDIT2: this is a quick review of the abyss v1.0 Blend file:

I’ll appreciate every feedback, thanks


If I understand your problem you want to use two different volumes in your world. I think that is not possible, so maybe you need to create two layers or two renders with two different worlds and then you should join them through compositing.

Ooh. Great stuff. And excellent use for the volumetric system. The colours on the upper part of the image are especially nice. However, maybe I would make the bottom part slightly less blue and more green…? Or maybe its the high color saturation that confuses me…or both. But that’s a terrific underwater image, rarely you get to see them treated with sufficient dedication :slight_smile:

This is beautiful deep blue…:eek:

To clarify my point… but of course you don’t have to agree or anything, just an opinion: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/44014448/abyss_comparison.jpg

I’m using only one volume shader, I just want to see the spot lamp from the submarine illuminates the volume like the sun did, It worked but with hi volume density, and with hi density the scene became invisible, I just need to find the right balance between the density of the volume and the intensity of the lights, but before this I need to rework my scene at a right scale (actually it has a toy scale !)

thanks Zagupi I’ll check this, my be a gradient color assigned to the volume shader will work.

Nice Scene!

Beautiful work, eMirage! The blues are very nice. I take photos of fish and corals under very deep blue LED UV lights, and the colors remind me of some of these lights. I like the care you’ve given the image with all the particle systems as well.

The image composition overall is very mysterious and wondrous. I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing the final piece!

Great scene my friend! :slight_smile:
A bit too blue for my taste, I liked more the colors from your sketch. But anyhow, great render.

Oh that sounds awesome. Like, if you can get the water to gradually absorb red and green frequencies of light like water does in the real world! Btw… When I came home, on this monitor my mock-up color-correction image looked like shit… Then I proceeded to do another version at home, but I dunno…it came out somehow boring. But that shader thing sure sounds cool :o

edit: One way to fake that absorption thing is to do some color-correction on comp, based on the Z-buffer image.

ah yes I totally forgot about the absorption stuff, I’ll check on how to achieve this :slight_smile:

this is so encouraging thanks James

@AlinB thanks, color grading will come later, but I’ll try the color absorption stuff like Zagupi suggested

thank you guys for the feedback, now I’m looking to model the submarine, I’ve made some sketches here:

I like the mood ! Blues are great. Your sketches are a little bit too “rounded” for me, but it is only a personal taste and it seems a very well start.

Waiting for updates

current status:

I found the way to make the submarine’s spot lamps volume light visible, it was just by enabling multiple importance sampling for every lamp, now the lights sources are sampled equally, this image was rendered at 3000 samples, I also changed the volume step size to 0.07 and the Max steps to 2048, but still has too much noise ! I will experiment different setting to see, any suggestion ?

wooow excelente… Good Work

thank you for posting this excellent work, and for working on the experimental cutting edge of what Blender can do. I hope that someone makes a good tutorial on how to achieve these effects once 2.70 comes out officially [hint, hint! :wink: ]

can’t wait to see where this piece goes!

once completed, I’ll make the Blend file of this scene available for free download

If you’re using a homogenous volume, then changing the step size won’t make a difference because that parameter is not used unless the volume is textured.

It’s also not the reason for the noise either, the noise comes from the scattering of indirect light-paths produced by the headlights, there’s really not much you can do here short of reducing bounces or reducing the max steps.

Anyway, it’s really nice that Cycles can produce those types of scenes now, even if the volume rendering is somewhat not as optimized as it can be right now.

Your colour pallet is good man!

thank you Ace Dragon for the explanations,
I made some separate tests and found that lamps produces less noise than illuminated meshes, so I reduced the power of the spheres of the headlights and disabled (multiple importance sampling) then added a point lamp beside every sphere, now I got an homogeneous noise

I launched another Hires render (3000x2000pixel / 2000 samples ) it’s 80% done (it’s taking 15hours to render with core i7 3.5Ghz)
I’ll post it here once completed…

how did you get the “god ray” effect going on? take a plane, cut holes in it, shine spotlight through it? how do the volume nodes come into play there?