Beach dock scene

Spent a few hours yesterday working on this little scene. Looking a bit bare so suggestions for things to add welcome!

Gonna try put some “real” clouds in using volumetrics, and need to change the boards 'cos they look horrible to me. Make them wider and probably a new texture.

Critiques welcome!

  • Mayeo

Looking good so far Mayeo.

For some more ideas I’d give watching this video a go -

Another member on this forum was inspired by it when they created their dock and maybe you as well :slight_smile:

If you don’t want to watch the video, I’d say add some barrels, bird poop :), and mess up the planks a bit.

Just a few observations.

The spot where the sand meets the water , Too hard of an edge between the water and the sand. You should see some sand through the water to give depth to the water.

I am guessing from the look of it, you modeled one plank applied the texture then added an array. While this is fine, you should make each plank a separate object. Then apply the texture differently to each object. So you don’t have those darker lines on the right of the dock. This will add variation to the wood planks and also help with depth. Youll have to scale and unwrap every plank, but it’ll be worth it.

Your also going to need to improve the overall lighting of the scene, It is bland and unrealistic for the sky you have chosen. Play around with a sunlamp it’s location and, its size and color. YOu may need a few different lamps at different strengths to accomplish a desired effect. You may want to look into the sun position add on. This allows you to place and synch your light source with the sky. After entering some settings like time of day and hemisphere and time of year. It will generate the proper lighting conditions for you.

The sand quite frankly looks like a hard plaster or concrete floor. Sand is soft, in most cases. I’d consider using a displacement map to give the sand some peaks and valleys.

Also something on the horizon like a mountain range or silloute of a distant coastline, or even the sail of a ship will help give depth to the scene. You don’t need to model it, just find something that will work and apply it with an alpha to a plane. As it looks now, it seems like you could step off the dock and walk a few feet to the horizon. You need to add depth.

I know that it may seem that I just tore your work apart. But on the contrary, I like your idea and concept, I like where your trying to go. But How are you supposed to improve if someone doesn’t point out weaknesses?

Best of Luck

@TwoDeer Perfect! I was going to watch it, til I saw it was over an hour (too impatient :stuck_out_tongue: ). I’m going for a modern feel so barrels won’t really fit. However I will definitely think of something quirky instead, and definitely mess up the planks a bit.

@CoBlender That is exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for, thanks! Planks are the main headache for me with this, they’re the main distraction. You’re exactly right on how I did it, I went for the quick approach knowing full well I’d have to do the hard way eventually, just as you suggested.
Lighting probably doesn’t help alot of the issues either, think there’s just 1 sun lamp if I remember right.
And yes, something is needed on the horizon for depth. May need to move the sky plane back but no bother!

Was this rendered in cycles or BI? If Cycles you may want to try using an hdr enviormental map for this scene there are plenty out there that you can download for free. May help the lighting of your scene too.

It’s cycles. Will try an hdr and see how it goes.

Changed the boards. Still not entirely happy but it’s an improvement! Also added a tree for the craic. Sand and water proving a difficulty, just have to keep changing and see what looks best!

Maybe try adding some depth of field and focus on one of the second posts. I think that would add a good amount of depth. That tree is just drawing my attention bucause it’s one of the brightest most saturated objects in your scene.

Maybe try adding a candy wrapper or two to make everything look a bit messier.


It could be as simple as texture painting the edge of the water and adding a mix shader after you water shader and mixing it with a transparent or (maybe) a glass shader, using that texture as the factor.

The sand still looks to uniform.

Those boards are looking a lot better. If you haven’t added a displacement off your main texture to them that might give them a bit of a rougher look.

The tree though I like the idea maybe instead of the truck you model a few branches that hang from the top on one side or the other. there should be little whisps or drifts of sand scattered lightly on the dock as well.

Add a few strands of dune grass around the posts you could make it more of a trail through the dunes to the dock. Obscruring or breaking up the view of the vast ocean, will help focus the eye and help with depth as well.

The sand. If you havent subdivide that thing a bunch of times and use the sculpt tool to add some variation to it. It still looks way to flat and hard for sand.

I will have to say though it’s getting better. Keep it up.

The sand is starting to annoy me now as well. I haven’t spent as much time on the water as I should have, currently just one really large plane with a glass shader and some displacement (wave + noise). One of the reasons (other than the materials) the transition isn’t so smooth is that there’s a slight drop as the sand gets near the water, so I’m just gonna make it less steep, and work more on the water material (sand too).

Things must get worse before they get better in this thing. Messing with “Ray Length” and such for the water, sand still needs a lot of work, but slow progress is still progress!

It’s starting to look a lot better. Your transition between the sand and the water looks a ton better. The water by it’s self needs some work. Maybe a volume shader. You have the refraction now you just need the absorbtion.

Also I really like the bridge now. You could still work on materials but the modeling looks good.

I agree with Tardis, it’s coming along nicely. I also agree about the materials on the dock. The water, consider putting a colored plane below the water with some transparency. It will help make the water appear to be deep. So another words right where the submerged sand and open water meet there should be a gradient of sorts from lighter water to darker water.

looking nice, but imo, the sky looks very flat.

Earth is not flat, you can’t see a sky like that with such clouds from this view. that’s my opinion, maybe i’m wrong ^^

You don’t need volumetric clouds. That will slow your render time way to much for it to be worth it. Try getting an HDR instead. Andrew Price put a few in his Architecture academy starter kit which is free. I think you can just raise the scene so that it fits in with your scene.

Also the results from that tutorial are not photo realistic.

I think the way to go is to take you water, extrude the edges down below the sand form a face (it shouldn’t matter if it’s an n-gon), and a a volume scatter shader.

This should give an actual representation of what water actually does in large body’s of it (lakes, oceans, etc.)
Just make sure not to set the density too high. You don’t even want to see the light scatter effect around the area where the sand meets the water. When you get down to the lower parts it should give you give you that gradient and some god rays. Please just play with this Idea for a day or so.

Fish? Not obviously jumping out of the water but just subtle shadows under the waves kind of thing could look good :slight_smile:

Hey! I really like the change in the pier. Certainly looks way more convincing now. Are you using the internal rendering engine or cycles? If you are using cycles, you could try rendering the scene lighting with an environment map and global illumination/ indirect illumination turned on. It will definitely bring an immense amount of realism to your scene. Also, if you’re using a newer version of Blender, you could try the ocean modifier to simulate the water. There’s a wonderful tutorial about both techniques on CGCookie about both techniques, called “Creating an ocean scene with OceanSim and Cycles”. I can’t post a link for you - just google it and it’ll show up. Anyway, great work so far! Looking forward to updates.

Forgone the tutorial water in favour of volume scatter/absorption. First image is scatter, next is absorption. I prefer the absorption, albeit a bit dark
Also gotten rid of the sky texture. Think this sky is a lot nicer, though I am prepared to be completely wrong!
Just need to make the sand a bit brighter, and sit down with a bit of time and properly look through environment maps. I have no problem with using the ocean simulator, but I just want to try everything I can, see if I can do it myself first!

Excellent job, keep it up.

Of coarse you would use scatter. I just recently saw a tutorial by some blender group that made me realize what the volume scatter shader is supposed to do. You made the right choice.

Are both of your images with the volume scatter?

Does the sand go past the end of the water?