Chess Park Scene

 This is my first non tutorial scene and I'm mainly looking for ways to improve the realism of the grass and trees. I've attempted to use weight painting to lessen the amount of grass around the trees as the trees would take water and nutrients away from the nearby grass. I'm still playing around with the number of grass instances, amount of random rotation in the particle system, and perhaps slightly varying colors of grass mixed. Also the tree textures look off. I used the sapling add-on and converted them to objects to texture. Lastly i used a small HDR image for lighting. All suggestions and criticisms welcome, thank you for your time and thoughts.

Edit: Just noticed I some how left out a white pawn, will fix that in the next render. I will post updated scene tonight, still looking for advice on the scene and ways to improve it thanks again.

Re-sized the the tree textures and reduced the particle system random rotation. not sure if the horizon looks good but i don’t know how else to do it. Perhaps a picnic table, path, bench, or combination of features. Also maybe a checkmate scene with the pieces for a more dramatic center focus.


Quick render with some changes. added the picnic tables, however my proportions need adjusting. Maybe they will look better in the shade of a tree. some of the chess pieces appear to be floating. should probably put crosses on the kings so its more obvious they are kings. I was just keeping them simple and circular mostly. Not sure why the grass is darker on the right. All the grass is the same color just a few different models. If you notice any other mistakes or have suggestions please comment, would love to make a realistic scene. Happy blending to all.

First of all, where is your glossy node? You need it! It’s hugely important. When you add that, also make sure to add some fresnel. Fresnel is the effect of reflections getting stronger in the areas of a model that are facing away from the camera.
Try and use this node by Greg Zaal.

Use it instead of a mix node, don’t worry about tweaking it yet. Just plug your diffuse shader into the top input, and your glossy into the bottom. The roughness value should be the same as the roughness value of your diffuse and glossy shaders.

The table could use a lot of work. Not only does it need a glossy node, but it needs a better texture, and the scale should be adjusted a bit. Don’t forget to add a bump map either.

The grass is too bright of a green, and the tree’s look too fluffy.

They seem to be more of a pine, but the shape suggests otherwise.

Lastly, make sure your sun has a bit of a yellow tint, and that your world background has a bit of a blue tint (but still dark so it’s not adding much).

You could even go more realistic, and use an HDR. If you don’t know how to use these, don’t worry about it, but if you do, I would recommend Delta by Greg Zaal (or any of his HDR’s, but this one is my favorite).

I hope this is helpful. Let me know if you have any questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Oh, also, watch understanding color, and understanding composition by Andrew Price. I think you’ll learn a lot.

Thank you very much for your detailed reply. These insights into methods for increased realism are exactly what i was looking for when i joined the site. I will do my best to implement these methods and see this scene through.

 should there be a bump map on the chess pieces as well as the table? I was thinking they would be highly polished and smoothed. For sure the trees need to be redone. I think less leaves and re done textures to try to fit a real tree will help like you said. Should i have a sun even though the hdr also does lighting? The only lighting i had in my scene was a sky hdr from cg skies. I'll experiment with the nodes and hdr you suggested while trying to learn more about using hdr images. The videos by andrew price also helped me to see the scene as a whole and how it fits together. Though this is digital art there will always be a place for composition. I kind of wish I had paid more attention in conventional art classes. Thanks again.

Wait… We’re looking at small chess pieces on a table? I thought the whole time we saw one of those large chess boards you sometimes find in parks, like this…

…with a circular area of paving stones around it!

That would make more sense with my out of whack scales. I was just going for a close up of a normal table and chess set after a match in a park. Will try to get my scales and camera angle better in the next render. Trying to make a lot of changes. Thanks for the reply.
Going for Green and White ash for the trees this time. Using bark and leaf textures from a real tree is definitely helping.

Edit: Being slow with fixing the scene because I’ve got 2 books to read for school but i think I’ve got the composition worked out. Using the rule of thirds I’ll move the check mate scene over a few squares to put it closer to the bottom left area for composition. Also I think I’ll try to balance out the high contrast of the white and black pieces by adding a tree with a swing hanging from a branch near the other areas of the rule of thirds. I got tree to looking pretty well like a large white ash. It looks pretty good in my head, just have to get it on the screen now. Thanks again for your comments guys, wouldn’t have even come up with what is hopefully a decent plan without your suggestions. Hope i can pull it off then perfect the textures and materials.