Cyberpunk(ish) dark alley

Hi, first post here.
I have been tinkering with blender on and off for some time, and have recently tried to get some finished images done.

This one is inspired from Warhammer 40k concept of lower hives. (huge, planet-sized cities, where conditions go worse and worse the lower you go, this image is from rather low.)

I’ve tried to get the atmosphere of Poorly lit area pestered with poisonous rains (from the upper hives) and bad maintenance.

I’d be interested in all comments, especially I’m wondering how the rain effect worked out, and in any hints on improving the materials.

Hi Cymoth,

That’s really great work there.

The rain effect is good, I could identify it as such. As you have the lighting set out right now, it kinda just feels like a photograph that somebody took standing next to the camera. (with the lighting in the front you got the “hand camera flash”-feeling.
Maybe play with the lighting around, set some lights near the modelled street lights and give them a yellow darkish tone. Decrease the light energy in the front so the picture looses on overall brightness (therefore getting a more dark athmosphere)

To make it look less maintained especially due to the fact that it is poisions rain (industrial waste, chemical waste fluids) the wall textures are way to clean. If there is rain and chemicals are in it, you are allowed to show that on the walls or the metalls by either overlaying an overall layer of rust on all metall parts (another layer on your texture file) or by using a rust (i would recommend looking for greenish, brownish rust to enhance the dirty rain look) texture and adding it with a mix node and a vertex paint brush on different places.

Just some comments, all up to you, it is very good and I can see the Warhammer note on it

Hi Fuchida, thanks for the comments, I’m glad you like it :slight_smile:

I guess you are right with the lightnings. (The whole lightning thing is something I still haven’t really got a good idea how to apply it)
I tried at some point to put some lights next to every lantern, but had the problem they lighted the lamp itself and the wall right next to it too brightly… Now when I think about it, I guess I could try to put the lanterns on a layer those lights won’t affect…and maybe the wall it is attached too… or just try to direct the lamps so they wont hit the wall. I have to try these and get back when done.
It takes some time to try it out, as one full render takes now something like an hour, and I tend to need to make a dozen before I’m happy with any change :stuck_out_tongue:

The rust thing I guess you are right too, needs some experimenting, and guess for that I just have to give each object finally an unique material to get them properly done. It will take I while before I have time to finish that. (Knowing me, it takes again at least dozen attempts before finding anything nearly right)

Thanks for the comments, and I’m happy the Warhammer feel gets through,
let the Emperor protect. :wink:

P.S oh, noticed just now the image linked here is slightly smaller than the original, if interested, added the larger version here

Now I can’t critique more then whats already been said but I think you should take a look at this video. It’s from Deus ex: human evolution, skip to the parts were he is wandering the streets and see how they did things.

A nice job indeed, but as this forum suggest, There is some critique :).

-From front to back, the lighting in this alley seems to evolve like a blend texture. The far end could be darker, while the closest walls and way too light. It seems like this is a stage that’s custom-built for a movie, with a few white spots shining on it. Kill whatever lightsource you have close to the lamp and change is to a lower value.

-Your lamps are kinda cool, but they don’t emit light. Is that what you were trying to achieve? I would add in a point lamp for every lamp object you have in this scene, so that the walls are lighter closer to the lamps.

-About the rain, it seems more like small streams, rather than a chain of drops. I don’t think you can see a raindrop like this, nor will it have a reflective effect on the background. But for the scene, it’s cool.

The ‘drops’ kinda dissapear before they hit the ground. When they hit, there should be a splash. Try experimenting with particle systems, emitting from a low-poly sphere. That should do the trick.

I see ground, but what is it? You have some puddles of water, but the other areas (bottom left corner, for instance) kinda look more like ice to me. This could perhaps be caused by the white light that’s close to the camera though, so try changing the light first.

-On the walls, there is some texture that divides the walls in squares. What are they? far end: looks like geometry dividing the walls, but from vlose by it seems like they’re shadows, cast through a sort of window frame. I’d make an adjustment to that.

-Left hand side: Is that a powercable? powercables are usually secured with metal straps against the wall.

-Right hand side: a cool poster, but what’s on it? My eyes could just be fooling me, but I’m having trouble finding what the picture is about.

-You want to achieve a dark ATMOSPHERE. The nodes system is perfect for this! adjust the scene according to previous critique, and add in a color balance node, perhaps a Hue Saturation Value-node and a Gamma node. With the correct values, that should vastly improve the scene. Experiment! :slight_smile:

-There are thick steel beams inbetween the walls. What are they? If they are support beams of any kind, it would be more logical to have them all aligned, rather than having them scattered around. Your lowest beams kinda block the view to the back wall, so I would move that one up inbetween the others.

-As you say, this area is poorly maintained. Why are the walls ultra-clean and reflective? dirty things up, use a texture to make them appear more dirty. You can find good textures called Grungemaps from

Cool concept by the way :slight_smile:

Happy blending!


@Nimafu, thanks for the link. Kind of mist/fog seemed top be one key element there, should think about including something like that maybe :slight_smile:

@Acromancu, wov, thanks, that was pretty detailed feedback, it will take me a while before I can address to everything mentioned, but I try to get it done,

for now I mainly concentrated on trying different lights. Killed the front light to start with, then added lamps inside the lanterns (making the glowy part insensitive to lights so something comes out). As the lamps are intentionally bit inside their frames they won’t light the wall just next to themselves, but I think I got the general light setup bit more natural?

The new light setup tho leaded to the thing that the rains stopped looking how I wanted, so had to make it’s materials pretty much again, and while at it, decided to try to make the splashes on the street. I didn’t for now go for the particle system other ways than just spreading those splashes around the street. They are made with bitmapped cones. Now when I look them, I might have overdone them… maybe they are too visible, or too numerous…

For the other points:
The lighting seems a bit like blend…well got me there, I used fog effect to just get the alley darker from farther, still kept that. It’s not realistic but I kind of like how it brings the things in front more into the… spotlight :slight_smile:

The ground is supposed to be futuristic concrete/asphalt (“rockrete” as it’s called in WH40k universe, tho I don’t know how it should look like exactly). I toned down the reflectivity on it. It’s main idea is to make it look wet.

Fixed the drops so that now they all more or less end into the ground, lights tho enhance some on the middle.

The squares on the walls: I’ve attempted to make the illusion that the walls are built from those large blocks. I think the change in lights helped a bit, but might be I have to actually model them…

The cable on the wall (and in the background) I’ve aimed for the feel that they are not really supposed to be used like that, but rather for…maybe vehicles, or some other temporally things, but as normal electrics wont work, people have just dragged their power from those through windows. I tried to make them bit more solid, I think I have to give them more time too.

The poster: I left it kind on purpose in an angle where it’s not clearly visible as I didn’t spend much time to make it look good. For curiosity sake, added it here separately, if interested how it looked. In that I aimed for something that would have an low-budget old sovjet propaganda poster feel from afar :slight_smile:

The metal bars…I think I will make them bit thinner to make them not block the view. The randomness is intentional, Warhammer technology is… not always efficient or logical, rather a religion and things are there because there has been bars in the plans.

The walls indeed need more work, which I hope to get into in next few days. With the reflectivity I tried to get the look that the liquid is pouring down on the walls in some parts…I guess I have to tone the effect down and/or experiment with rust/dirt areas to see if I can make the difference of liquid/not liquid more visible.

All in all, thanks for the input, I hope to attend all the points in nearest future. :slight_smile:

P.S It took some time to send this, because the system refused to send this for containing forbidden words, not telling which it was. After quite a while found out that forbidden word was d.e.s.c.r.i.p.t.i.o.n … my english might be lacking, but I can’t figure out why that would be unacceptable :stuck_out_tongue:


Just a quick update:
Had time to tinker with the walls a bit.

-I discarded the square-bitmap, and remade the walls so that they actually have the plates from which they are supposed to be composed of.

-I added another bitmap for the dirtiness, and tweaked the ones creating the reflectivity to (hopefully) better create the illusion of water pouring down the walls.

-Also tweaked the rain just a bit and decided to make the lanterns illuminate the area around them a bit.

I guess it starts to get bit more worn look?


Now that, my friend, is what I call a cyberpunkish dark alley :).
Congratulations on a job well done!

Very nice improvements since the first post, I really like it. Might be a personal preference, but I would add some more stuff, like boxes or trash cans/containers or something. As the alley is quite wide (at least looks like it), it looks a bit empty.

Thanks Acromartsu, Yanneyanen :slight_smile:

I’ve been adding bit something on the street, if only some more scrap/litter. I doubt tho that I will have time in next few days.

Also I’m not really happy with the metal parts in the scene, and how they look bit separated (especially the windows). Not exactly sure what to do with them tho. Guess I try bit different bitmaps and see if I can get the wall textures enhanced on the areas where they meet or something.