Crummock Water Work in Progress

Going for a ‘painterly’ style landscape using Blender (obvs) as the starting point and then messing around to get the look I want (lots of messing around and improvements to make in initial render and final appearance - but would welcome comments at this stage on how I can make the initial render better - inc. a more realistic ‘atmosphere’). I also have some issues with stretching on the sharper cliffs which I’m not sure how to resolve.

Photorealism is beyond me and so I’m not that interested in it. However, I’ve always wanted to paint and I can’t. I’d love be able to do nice landscape paintings. So, I am using what little skills I have in this department to create my versions of landscape paintings in the PC (while also trying to improve my skills). I quite like the ‘sketchy’ oilpaint look - if I could paint, I envisage this would be my style. Bit chocolate boxy - but this is a first go (this style also removes some of the obvious imperfections and allows a degree of ‘artistic license’ in colours, shapes etc. Still lots of improvements to make - hence it being WIP (though comments on improvements welcomed).
Software used:
Data Used:
Morton, D.; Marston, C. G,; O’Neil, A. W.; Rowland, C. S. (2020). Land Cover Map 2019 (25m rasterised land parcels, GB). NERC Environmental Information Data Centre.
Openstreet Map
OS open data (Zoomstack)
Assets Used:
Trees from a tutorial on fake forests by CGBoost
Botaniq and probably others (lots of textures from free sources - thanks for these)


A (very) little bit of progress:

By the way - does anybody know why when I export this as a multi-layer EXR my clouds are tinted a greeny-blue tint, but when exporting as anything else they come out fine? Using filmic colourspace. (I admit I don’t really know what I’m doing with .EXR files!)

Differences to the previous upload are subtle, but they’re there!

If you use anything other than Filmic as your rendering transform, the ratios will skew quite wildly. The two highest intensity ratios will be blue, with green coming in lower, and as such, skies will skew to cyan unless the rendering transform has some gamut compression on the ratios.

Filmic does this, hence it holds the skew back a bit.

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Just trying to get a bit more variation in shadow across the landscape. Its a sunny day, with faint wispy cloud so doesn’t need to be too dark. However, finding it very hard to control. I’m just using a plane with a noise texture and a transparent/black diffuse mix. Not working too well. I shall persevere. Not that you can tell, but my fields now have sheep and hay bales in them (unfortunately they’re only 1 pixel wide :smile:)

Variations - but I’m pretty much calling this done - but now comes the fun bit where I can move around and ‘paint’ different landscapes from the same starting point. Different compositions etc.

Still wish I could get a better looking ‘atmosphere’ - still looks very fake. I’m using the new sky texture mixed with HDR and the normal mist pass. I suppose I could use some form of volumetric (advice welcomed please!!??). I own the ‘Physical Sky and Atmosphere’ addon - but I’ve had issues with this in terms of render times and crashing, so haven’t really tried it on this one. I’ve been looking at Luxcore - would this provide any advantages (is it worth learning?)

Another basic question (showing my still noobyness at Blender) but I’ve been finding that my renders start off really fast, but then the last 5% or so take an absolute age (at least 3 or 4 times longer than the first 95%). I am rendering on Cycles with GPU and CPU - auto tiling. I haven’t got the greatest graphics card (GTX1060 3GB) but surely this can’t be right? Again, advice very welcome.

Good basis, you do indeed need some atmosphere to make the scene more believable.
I really would recommend a volume, which you thin out via a gradient towards the top. That way you do have better control over the thickness of a subtle fog layer in the valley.
I think using volumes creates a better result than for example the mist pass.

Try to copy this setup and make it less dense for a start.

For you render question:
Your gpu and cpu are getting tiles assigned. Your gpu will finish with its tiles and any remaining tiles will need to be rendered by the cpu, thus the gpu is idle and you are waiting very long for the result.
Either dont render with the cpu or decrease the tile size a lot. Nowadays you can go rather low, as small tiles are better supported by the gpu (like 32px^2 in size)


Thanks for the comments and advice. Very much appreciated. Took your advice on turning CPU off and test render was 30 minutes faster. God knows how much time and energy (especially energy!) I’ve been wasting.

In terms of the volume - I agree entirely. Do you apply this setup to a cube covering the scene?

Thanks again!

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It was a very flat cylinder, not a cube, to hide the a bit thicker corners. With a cube you can see the volume getting ever so slightly thicker as the corners are a bit further away from the camera.
Locate the cylinder dead center on the camera and the volume will be equidistant in all directions.

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I think another thing that would add to the scene are cloud shadows. Since you have clouds in the sky, one would expect some of those clouds would be between the sun and parts of your landscape. I know you aren’t going for realism, but I think it could help enhance the look to see shadows from clouds dotting the countryside.

Thanks. I have attempted this, but it may be a bit too subtle. Actually found it quite difficult to do.

So… I may have overdone the volume scatter! I used your setup but reduced the density and increased anisotropy. Also added a second colourramp to reduce the volume nearer to the camera. However, this seems to be the lowest density I get before it just disappears altogether.

This is has also been through the denoiser, which has smudged a lot of the background in removing the noise from the volume. However, I shall not be beaten. Just needs some tweaks! (??).

As always, advice and comments welcome on how to make better.

Lower density volume… is this better than the mist pass?

You might want to change the scatter colour to get a bit bluer tint. Atm it is a very desatureated white and does feel a bit off.
It should also start a bit earlier, the mountain in the right handside, or actually its shadow look like they are not affected by any atmosphere.
Anisotrophy is also a subjective thing here, i did ramp it up as it was a shot against the sun. In your case a lower value might be better.
So yeah, wihtout tweaks your mist pass is better than the volume approach i think.

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Trying for ‘Scene 2’ which is of a cairn marking Low Fell’s summit (again, based on a real feature). I made the cairn by importing a load of rock objects that I’ve collected over time and ‘poured’ them into an upturned cone using rigid body sim (did this a few times to get layers and variation). Think it sort of works (although there are 1 or 2 floating stones that I need to get rid of!). Still running it through my ‘painterly’ actions in photoshop to give me the look I want. Quite a lot tinkering to do with camera position, composition, scattering of rocks on the ground and, of course, grass.

Even though my rocks have some horrible artifacts on them (hidden by my Photoshop actions and filters) I quite like the composition on this. The grass may be a bit too lush, but quite happy.

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Just playin’. Low res. Not terribly happy with ground texture. I know its not ‘pure’ as I’ve messed around in photoshop, but hey ho. Just trying different compositions and styles and stuff.



Obviously getting very repetitive now, but it took such a long time to set up, I’m milking it for everything I can get.

Quite a lot of artistic license here. As far as I know, there isn’t a bench in this location - but there is a very similar one on Loweswater fell (? on location). I modeled the very complicated bench too! It would be a good spot for a bench though wouldn’t it!?

This isn’t really finished and the limitations of the trees I’ve used are starting to show through the nearer I get to the edge. Also many weird things happening with the texture of any stones or rocks. Not looking too good - but nevermind. Still liking my ‘painterly’ effect too. Might try some more on this as it has potential.

Comments on what is wrong, how to improve or anything else always appreciated (please!!?). Many thanks in advance!

Seems like a good place for bench that seats two. Other than the breeze… looks like it would get pretty windy up there!

It’s been great fun watching this scene as it has evolved. (Full disclosure: “I kinda liked the pile of rocks.”) :+1:

At this point, I’d only make one suggestion: “just lose the mist.” It’s really the only thing in this scene that says to me, “unbelievable.” Maybe this is partly because my eyes tell me that “real depth-mist would never actually behave this way,” but my general opinion (based on this most-recent image) is that it just isn’t adding anything. If the fields are tack-sharp all the way – as I definitely think they must be – then the mountains (mostly?) should be, too. (If you do decide to “keep the mist,” then I suggest that you “scale it way, way, way down!”)

P.S.: “Another argument to ‘bring back the rocks.’” :slight_smile: In that version, “the rocks became the focus of attention.” (I would, by the way, crop that picture differently.) It doesn’t even need “something on the very top of the pile.” The viewer’s intended center-of-attention now becomes the rock pile, and the mountains … I would keep some of those delicious pastures … become background.

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Thanks for the feedback - very much appreciated.

You’re probably right that I’ve been getting carried away with the mist a bit (its supposed to be reflecting a sort of hazy sunny day but maybe it isn’t working too well). Looking back it seems like I’ve been cranking it up a bit more for each version without really noticing. I’ll keep an eye on that for the next version.

Appreciate the comments on the cairn (rock pile). Quite like it too! I’ll probably return to that version. However, I’m having no end of trouble with the textures on all my rocks (as discussed here Solid black lines where meshes intersect / Artifacts of all kinds). This is really irritating me (and also applies to my big slab on the ‘bench’ version and all the little scatter stones in the foreground, which are just black blobs on the original render). Puts me off doing antything more with them. Never really got an answer, but I may have to rebuild the whole project from scratch to see if I identify the problem - but I’m too lazy to do that at the moment!.

Many thanks once again.