How to model soil

Hello all.
I’m looking for a good tutorial or way to proper model potting soil.
I’ve found a nice tutorial about procedural particle dirt, but dirt is way different from soil so how can i achieve the effect of some potting soil standing on top of a table?
Thanks so much for any help you’ll provide!

You can kind of faking it using some displace modifier :

(The example doesn’t fit perfectly but it’s the same technique)

Then add an appropriate texture (a clean photo of potting soil), and you should have a good working basis.

Finally you can add small particles on top of that to blend the displaced mesh and the table.

These kind of effects are really hard to make “full 3D” ( a lot of particles that tries to recreate what append in real life). If you don’t need to animate them It’s way simpler to cheat them .

Hi Sozap.
So you suggest using a sort a displaced mesh putting a soil texture on top of it?
Thanks again


How realistic are you looking for? Not sure I know about any tutorials but I had been monkeying around with the vertex displacement using the free Octane Render for Blender. This is what I came up with.

…now that I look at it, it looks more like coffee! :slight_smile:

wait, free octane render? Is it a trial or something? I know the ADD-ON was free at one point, but you had to already own the the renderer?

Man, I am having trouble remembering. I saw something the other day about a particle system that accumulates… in my memory I really thought it was blender, and not real flow or houdini or something like that, but I could be wrong.

In any case, if I can find if that was Blender or not, that’s how I would do it. A surface soil mesh with a good displacement map, with 2 or 3 particle systems over it of decreasing size to fill the surface with that very granular effect.

That being said, the vertex displacement method above is essentially doing that with a 3d noise texture instead of depositing actual particles, which may or may not be better, but is certainly neat.

have you done anything with cycles’s vector displacement? I’ve never messed around with it, and certainly not since like the 2.7x experimental days. How did that play out?

Nope. Don’t really use Cycles.

Here’s the info on Octane Render Free Tier.

Good videos here too:

Yes that’s basically it , and it should give you a good basis, that you can improve by adding some particles around or more textures to blend between the soil and the table.
Feel free to post pictures and poke me if you need me to look at it.