how do I mix huge + small objects in 1 scene?

I’m trying to model a fish swimming in a mountain lake and I’m having a real problem gettings the sizes correct. I’m using real elevation data for the terrain (Meiss Lake, in California). The lake sits in a small mountain valley that is about 5 km across. The fish (a trout) should be about 35 cm long. Here’s where I get stuck: What sizes do I use in blender?

1 blender-unit = 1 cm makes the fish 35 blender-units long but the landscape has to be 500,000 units wide. That won’t work at all.

1 blender-unit = 1 m makes the landscape only 5000 units wide which is still too large to work with (3d-view clips at 1000 units max.) plus now the fish is only .35 blender-units long and maybe only .08 units wide, and it is hard to get the camera close enough to work on it.

How do other people deal with this problem? It seems like almost any expansive, outdoor scene where you can see for many km would run into this trouble. I’d prefer not to cheat on the scales, but if that’s what everyone else does then I’ll do it too :slight_smile:

Cheat on the scales. Everybody does. That’s what GC is all about, creating the Illusion of reality. At the end of the day, it’s gotta look good.

Model the fish object on one scale.
Model the mountain/lake on another scale.

Import/Append the fish into the mountain/lake scene, and scale down the difference.
Chances are you won’t be able to recognize the fish.

At which point you’ll realize the truth of Orinoco’s statement.