How do I make it look more real?

I have used the Ter2blend script to import terragen terrain into blender.

I then made a lighthouse, and stuck it on the land, and here is what I came up with:

As you can see, the lighthouse stands out from the terrain.

And, it generally just doesn’t look real.

What could I do to make the lighthouse look more real?

I have no idea how ter2blend works, but 2 things come to my mind:

1.) The fog does not apply to the Lighthouse, so I guess it comes from Terragen and not from Blender. Maybe you can make the fog in Blender after importing?

2.) The lighthouse seems to receive light only from the left side, but the sky would cast global illumination. Maybe a blue area light or AO would do the trick.

Good luck!

Yeah the fog is one, big impact.

I tried to apply a white color over the lighthouse then make it transparent but I didn’t really know what I was doing.

And yes the lighting is pretty wrong so I’ll try fixing that up.


What do I do to achieve a white sort of milky shade all over the lighthouse?

Also always try to keep ‘proportions’ in mind … Usually you can obscure certain parts of objects with other objects… like trees and bushes on the mountains wich are in front the piece of the lighthouse coming out of the ground… or the fog wich is only at a certain level…

In this case however the mountians look really far and placing a bush or tree on them is disproportional… These are things to keep in mind from the get-go… trial and error is normal with these things…


Okay, I gave it a thwack.

I got rid of he mist, so it doesn’t stand out anymore. :smiley:

Should I apply some bumpmapping to the lighthouse, or just leave it?

Definitely apply some bumpmapping or displacement mapping (I think you only have to make a couple of bricks and repeat it). Some dirt down the bottom of the lighthouse might help it blend in with the green hill too. Also, the shadow looks a bit sharp. Some GI techniques should help and maybe use an area light if you use ray shadows with the sun. To be honest, I would probably just use depth maps - it’ll render quite a bit faster and as you don’t have any transparent shadows, you should be ok.

Finally, you could try making the top of the lighthouse out of glass if it’s a functional lighthouse, of course. I quite liked the fog actually because that’s when lighthouses are most useful. I would say to play around with the fog settings a bit more later. But good work so far.

Thanks for the help everyone, I’ll play around with it for a while, and post an update soon. :smiley:

I have added a new texture to the lighthouse, and I got rid of the simple platform because I looked for pics of lighthouses and realised no lighthouses have a simple platform. So I extended and increased the size of the tube at the top so it looks like this:

However it doesn’t look smooth, between the cone and base, is unsmooth and rather jagged.
How do I make it look smooth like this: (picture is big).

But basically I want it looking like this: )(

How do I make it SMOOTH.

OSA is switched on.


in object mode, click “Set Smooth” in editbuttons (F9).
It’ll also smooth it vertically, which you probably don’t want, so turn on “Auto Smooth” - this will make it smooth the flatter curves, but leave corners as they are.

Lighting! IMO, the ‘artistic’ solutions come way before the technical ones.

Look at the colour of the shadowed area on the lighthouse and compare it with the shadowed area on the background - looks very different, the lighthouse is much darker. The lit area on the lighthouse is also very over-exposed, while there’s nothing that bright on the background either.

The colour of the lighting is also quite different - in the background everything has a cool blueish tint, especially in the shadows, but the lighthouse is all in warm tones.

I quickly took your image into Photoshop for 5 minutes to demonstrate how much of a difference this makes (hope you don’t mind). I adjusted the levels of the background to give it a more similar exposure to the lighthouse, and also colour corrected it to look warmer, without the blue tint.

Before / After:

That image that broken did looks pretty good. He gives some good advice. One thing you may want to add to the top is a frame for supporting the roof. I doubt that a glass window could support a roof.

I think you may have the displacement map with the wrong depth. I know that sometimes the cement on walls is outside the edge of the bricks but mostly it’s inside if it’s been built correctly.

I’m not sure I would follow that image you have for a lighthouse because it looks a bit unconventional and it looks like that’s what you’re aiming for. I think the traditional lighthouse is like:

You’ll notice what broken was talking about with the blue tint coming from the background. I see that the bricks aren’t quite as visible there but I think the image is very bright whereas your’s isn’t so the bricks are ok but try making a negative displacement.

I don’t like the turret style at the top. I think the flat platform before was more authentic - it looks more like the lighthouse images. Now it looks like a castle.

BTW, if you want to find loads of lighthouse pictures for reference, go to google and hit the images link above the search box and type in lighthouse. I was surprised at all the different types you get.

One last thing, adding some windows and possibly a lamp (physical lamp I mean not a Blender lamp) inside the glass top might help add to the realism.

I think that your first catwalk around the lantern looked better. I don’t think the Lighthouse Service would have spent that much money for masonry. :slight_smile:

I’d go back to the “give it a thwack” image where the lighthouse was sitting on a cliff and the fog was gone. That lighthouse looked disproportionately big, and too smooth, but otherwise I think it was close. (Much closer than the ones where “oops, water’s risin’!”) You had taken care of the entire base-problem by the simple “cheat” of making it look like the base was hidden behind a hill. All that needed to be done at that point was to make it look of a proper size and not glass-smooth. A little texture, but mostly some differences in color (e.g. to suggest blockwork, or maybe a paint-job instead?). Then “you are done.”

If you want to fog it up, lay in the fog on the entire image, perhaps in post-production.

Thankyou everyone!

You all have made some very good points.

And I really like what you have done with the image, broken.

I love it. :smiley:

I have Photopaint not photoshop. But its basically the same.

What were the steps you took to make the image look, warm?

Oh, and I agree, the new lighthouse, looks like a castle. lol :smiley:

So I’ll work on it tonight after I have finished my homework, and I’ll give you all an update.

Thanks :wink:

I am using Terragen for several years now and I’m interested in using it with Blender too. From the pictures I’ve seen here there is something that is bugging me: The landscape has that typical Terragen look to it (like it is actually rendered inside Terragen), so it seems to blend (no pun intended) very badly with the rest of the scene. It seems that the ter2blend script is bringing in the Terragen-textures ‘as rendered’ by Terragen. To me the result looks like a Terragen render (that ‘blueish tint’ is typical for Terragen lighting) with a Blender object stuck onto it. I also think that this is the main problem that redbyte is trying to tackle here.

Looking at this I’m not sure if Terragen is the right tool for doing landscapes for Blender. I think I need to go look for some other terrain-generator that creates OBJ-files or something like that.

Hmmm, I disagree, I think Terragen is the best landscape generator around, although Vue 4 Pro probably matches it. Also, I don’t think that Terragen lighting always has a blueish tint. I have done a few images with a red skyline and not a hint of blue. I would advise to stick with Terragen because I doubt you will get as close to photorealism as easily or cheaply with anything else. It’s just a case of getting the compositing right. It’s the same deal with blending CG with film. Broken’s comments were probably the most useful for getting your scene looking right.

Oh, but I wholehartedly agree. Terragen makes great landscapes and I won’t abandon it for that.

I didn’t meant that Terragen renders always have a blueish tint, just that the blueish tint on this particular picture has a tipical Terragen-feel. Same if you make a red skyline in Terragen, there is that same ‘glow’ (for lack of a better word) but of course then it’s red :slight_smile:

Your comments are all correct, but you are missing the point I made: The landscape in the picture looks like a Terragen render instead of a Blender render so there is a distinct difference in how it looks. I also concluded that the ter2blend script MIGHT be importing stuff ‘as rendered’ from Terragen instead of ‘as resources’. Maybe someone can explain that.

It is because of this that I think I need to look at some other terrain generators as imput for Blender (but I will stick to Terragen for purely Terragen generated landscape renders).

Besides all this I am following this thread to see where it goes as I’m very interested in the (possible) results :wink:

This link has pictures of most of the lighthouses in Ireland. If you click through a few of them you will see how many variations of light houses there actually are.

Oh, I see what you mean now. I noticed that too, about the renders looking a lot like Terragen renders - I was wondering about that myself. I think that the script must export the landscape surfaces. When I first saw Blender/Terragen images, I thought they were done via pure compositing i.e. background in Terragen and objects in Blender and then composited.

I’m quite surprised that the landscapes look so similar because I would have thought the Blender lighting would make the landscape look different. Also, it makes me wonder why it’s not easier to make Blender objects look part of the scene.

Exactly my point :slight_smile:

To use Terragen in blender you must first:

  1. Render a scene in Terragen

  2. Save Picture

  3. Save .ter file

  4. Write down camera co-ordinates.

  5. Open Blender, Load script

  6. Insert camera co-ordinates, and .ter file.

  7. Use saved picture as a backbuf.

The Ter2Blend script only imports the general shape of the mountains, so that the shadow is cast on the shape, and a shadow appears.

The texture comes from the backbuf picture.

If you want to move the camera at all, you have to use a camera script.

So, yeah, its fake, its just a mesh, used for shadows, and sky and texture from the backbuf picture. :wink:

But I think its alright. :smiley:

Oh, and I am completely redoing my lighthouse so it looks better now.

But I have to go to school now. :expressionless: :x

Cya. :wink:

Ah, this explains it exactly. I actually AM seeing a Terragen render 8)

The way I want to use it is to use Terragen to design a landscape and get that landscape into Blender, preferably as a mesh. I don’t know if the ter2blend script can be used in that way but I found another way as well: have to test it so I’m not sure if this will work, but I found a program called Wilbur that can import Terragen landscape files (among others) and export OBJ-files (again among others). This might be the best tool to get terrain-data into Blender as it supports a large amount of file-types.

You can download Wilbur (freeware) here: