Asian Themed Garden Pond Scene

I’m looking for ideas to make this scene more realistic.

Some possible things:

  • Add dirt on the wall
  • Add wetness to the stones
  • Add foam to the fountain
  • Add butterflies and birds

Additionally, I don’t know where to get conifers. There are tree parts on Quixel, but not whole.


Improve the composition a little bit, it’s very rare to have such a bit part of the image out of focus near the center of the image.
Improve shadows, it’s hard to believe that the same light is casting that soft shadow on the wall and sharp shadows under the bridge.
Make the background less blurry.
Add something of known size into the image as a reference point for the rest of the scene, are we looking at a very small bridge or huge rocks?
Water could use some more realistic ripples.
Sun this low usually has a warmer color.
Try using a camera setup closer to real one, I’ll send you a blend file.

Think a little bit about the scene you want to make and the story you want it to tell.
I hope this helps.

Other than that I like the idea and think you will get a great environment in the end.

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I also thought the shadows are a bit confusing. There is a long shadow across the length of the wall that I cant tell where source comes from. Something off camera?

Another thing I notice is the perspective angle of the stream doesn’t meet anything in the background image behind the wall. Maybe change that so there is a bit of landscape visible on the right. Also brighten the sky a bit to match the light that is hitting scene. Maybe the backround was a placer image that you were going to change later, but i think it would help to fix it.

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The shadow comes from the front of the bridge, so the sun would be at the back of us, on the right side.

I just understood why there is a soft shadow. My map is in fact much larger – the size of an actual garden – so the soft shadow is a hill. If I had trees or plants on the hill, they might cast more realistic shadows.

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By removing the sun lamp, I realized that it was mostly the HDRI lighting the scene.
This is done with the camera you suggested.

The lighting is now consistent but the scene is a bit dark and the background blurry, try out this one

I used a sunset one, and I very much like the golden hour feeling (though the HDRI background itself is perhaps a bit dark?). Behind the fence, there will need to be trees. I have to find decals.

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First main render.

I have many ideas for improvement, first of which is the water shader, in which I got the Fresnel flipped.

Here is a more final render.

I played with the wood texture; not sure whether I like it, or find it heavy-handed.

How is the story?

The fountain needs a little work, and the tree assets didn’t turn out to be quite as realistic as I hoped, but I’m pretty satisfied overall.

Would the sky look better if lighter?

This has been my final render. Had made additions, but computer ran out of memory.