Critiques would be appreciated.

Okay, so I decided to learn blender about 6 months ago. I didn’t really do much until recently, when I found the “Blender Basics Classroom Tutorial Book”. It has helped me TONS. So anyway, I made this scene of a lighthouse with the end goal of animating it. If anybody could please give me tips to make it look better I would be SO grateful. =)

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The light-levels and contrasts in this image are surprisingly good. You might wish to make the foundation a little more massive and perhaps to set the structure a little farther above the water. Consider what light would be hitting the water and the structure and what color-temperature it might have. Post-sunset light comes low and from one direction only unless the moon is up.

Maybe make the beam of light less definite. You could blur it separately. Also, if you could make it more clear, that the light source inside the tower face in the direction of the beam of light, that would help (is one of the windows blocked?)

Update:
Okay, so now I fixed the windows so they appear darker. I’ve also lowered the water level.

I agree, I think blurring the light would look better. I just don’t know how to do it. Help?

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First I’d suggest to find some reference, that will give some good points to where you have to work more. For instance looks at this photo.
http://static.photo.net/attachments/bboard/00T/00TKU7-133827584.jpg
You can see that the light having natural decay falls off even more in the fog as it’s scattering. Another point is to have more texture in your volumetric. Also is there any natural light souce (the moon)? If yes you could put it on the oppisite side of the light beam to give a rim of light on the lighthouse and separate if from the background. Your ground is too evenly lit (it looks flat), unless this is the direction of the moon. In that case you could play with it’s postion. Finally if you look at photos of the sea at night you’d notice it’s pretty dark with highlights from the moon/ports/ships/the lighthouse reflecting them:

I like the fog, but I do have a few crits. The texture on the base of the lighthouse is pretty distorted, probably due to flat orco mapping. UV mapping would give you far more control with this. Also, the light beam looks like it starts outside the lighthouse; by moving the spotlight back into the lighthouse a bit, you could fix this. Does your water have reflections? If not, that would help with the reflection of the light!

The beam is all wrong … it should not come from a point. Have a look at some real ones:

http://z.about.com/d/africanhistory/1/0/_/9/AgulhasLighthouse.jpg

Thanks for all the help guys!!! I’ve been having a busy week and haven’t had much time to work with blender, but I did throw a little test image together.

The light looks a little bit to stringy to me, maybe this weekend I will have time to sit down and refine it more.

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That does look much better, but if the light were shining through fog, there would be more of a pattern than just streaks, since there would be fog in front of the light beam.

The first reference photo lunat1k posted is probably the best reference photo to work from when it comes to the light beam for the render. The fall off for the light seems to be sudden. Also I think you could probably do away or lessen the light streaks, normally you only get that affect when a rigid surface is blocking the light… Example, the bat signal… Or lighting behind metal letters on a restaurant sign, etc. Looking at the ref image again the light diffuses and spread quite a bit near the light illuminating it and fades sharply also.

I think there are two things that would help sell the water too. First maybe a bit more of a reflection from the light on the waves. Second, where the water meets the rocks is perfectly flat. You would expect even with small waves to have a contour line that moves both up & down. You could even really push and pull the waves in height, map a water splash images to a few poly planes and make it appear that the water is crashing on the rocks (Or use Blenders fluids). With he lighting right now the image has kinda neutral feel to it. Might be leaning toward foreboding but then I get pulled back into a calm yet foggy peaceful night. Playing with the water and really pushing the lighting will probably pull it one way or another.

I’ve played around with the lighting quite a bit in this one. I tried to make the scene easier to see and I also lit the ground to make it look less “flat.” If you notice, the lighthouse is now casting a shadow on the water!

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