Assyrian Helmet - Would appreciate help with making this image better!

Hi everyone,

I’ve made this scene a few months ago, then got stuck with regard to what to put in the background and left it for a time.

I started working on it again today, added several trees in the background and then composited it with a background image in post.

I’m not sure if I’m happy with either the initial or final result, and would welcome any advice on how to make it as good as it can be.

Some info about the image:
The main object here is an Assyrian helmet (modeled based on historical image reference, with some futher ornamnetation added). The scene is supposed to have a mysterious fantasy / ancient history atmosphere. I didn’t have to much storytelling in mind when I first imagined the scene, but I guess it doesn’t hurt! especially with the obvious questions that come to mind: namely why the spear and helmet were abandoned and by whom. Not too sure what to do with that either and would love to hear some ideas in addition to the technical / artistic advice.

Thanks in advance!

Cycles or internal?
A good work for me!

you asked for suggestions so…
1 Try focusing on the flat element of the scene, like the ground: is brown and flat: looks dry for me, try adding some dark dirt and spots. Forest ground is more wet so you could play with a reflection and spec texture to add a more wet aspect. (just a little!)
2 the background is dark, some light beams that filter in the woods could be perfect ( ). You could obtain that in blender internal with spot light and halos.
3 the helmet is dark too, so you could add a light that project foliage shadow on the near elements (same images as above)
4 The spear’s wood is a little too much regular, try adding some dirt near the tip

1 blueish atmosphere(progressive with the z-depth) in the background
2 little vignette that enhance the helmet
3 fireflies and dirt: from your point of view you are watching an ancient helmet in the forest, that view allows you to add some dirt or grunge maps, like the camera is soiled

How much time does the scene need for rendering?

Sorry anyway for my bad english!


This is after some color corrections and added minor elements (sun ray, dust particles) in post.

Hi Sparazza,

Thanks for you comments, they’re very helpful!
(And your English isn’t half bad :))
I added the 2nd version of the image before I read them, and am glad to hear you also think some of these changes are required.

The rendering time for this scene was 2 hours and nearly 20 minutes in Cycles. Not too bad for a cycles render with that many polys (87K) so I don’t really mind doing another render. I guess that some of the things (like FG dust particles and maybe some light rays) could also be added in post as well, much more quickly, especially with that great reference image you included that sets exactly the kind of mood I would like to achieve.

But I definitely would try getting the ground to look better and more forest like. I was also thinking about adding some fallen leaves which will probably help with the first atmosphere. And it should be simple enough to add a few more tree instances or a texture to the light source to create a lighting more reasonable for inside the forest.

I’ll also try to work more on the heft of the spear, the wood texture does need some more work and adding dirt near the tip will definitely add realism.

I did add a vigniette to the original image in the compositor in Blender, but maybe another, slightly darker one for the final composition with the background will do a better job.

Interesting idea about the camera dirt / grunge map, will try it out!

Make the elements in the image point to the helmet to draw the viewer’s eye to it. And get rid of or move a few of the detail objects near the helmet, as they distract the eye.

In addition to what Sparazza had to say I’d think about working on the tree trunk materials a bit. The bark looks almost stripped or slightly marble like. Are you using an image texture or are those procedural textures? I would consider a UV mapped image texture if you’re not already using one and if you are perhaps try a different one with more detail, what you have on those trunks doesn’t really match what’s on the trees in the background image.

Oh and I like the light ray idea you’ve got going in your second post, but maybe it could have a bit more of a yellowish hue to give it more of a sunny feel.

Edit: If you don’t like the idea of changing up your bark material you might consider trying to get a bump map to work with what you already have, that might help it out quite a bit actually.

Thanks the realnoz and atr1337!
Notes taken,
Will upload an updated version soon