Japanese Cranes

Thanks for all the comments!

This picture has been updated 10th Aug 05 - AO changed to sky texture, nor on the sand dunes increased and lighting altered slightly.


I couldn’t resist it and was back at the blender machine instead of studying my maths - below is the latest render where I have tried to take into account AndyD’s suggestion about the golden section.


i think the birds look awsome but you should try putting lines in the dunes

uno how they form lines from the wind?

Aidan - thanks for the suggestion and the compliment :slight_smile:

I know what you mean by the lines from the wind - good idea - the dunes certainly needed something now you point it out. I haven’t used the ripple effect you suggested, as I want a more muddy dune feel to it - what do you think? Should I try ripples instead? Original picture updated with muddy dunes and the white line from the right hand side removed.

try adding nor to get a more bumpy texture

I think your image would be more effective if you made better use of space. The cranes should be the focus of the image, and the rest of your scene doesn’t have many particular details, which is why you should zoom in on the cranes so that they take up most of the view.

Having said that, it’s really obvious that the cranes are just copies of each other with one leg moved. Try orienting their heads and wings to also be in slightly different positions. It would be more convincing if they had feathers…

As for the scene, you can improve lighting by turning on AO to add and sky texture (samples around 7 should be enough). But why are such birds even around sand dunes?! Japan doesn’t even have any deserts!

Anyways, hope that helps…

Thanks for all your comments. I think I’m going to have to leave the picture now - I need to start work on preparatory studies (I’m going to do another degree part-time starting October, still working full time and indulging my other hobby, bushcraft!! So blending is going to continue to be occasional. sigh) Hopefully I’ll get a chance to look at this again in a few weeks.

Aidan, I’ve increased the nor on the sand dunes - I think they do look a bit better now.

Artistotle (clever name),

Space - I deliberately have the cranes small in a big space because I wanted to capture something about freedom/wildness of nature (the cranes dancing in spite of how small they are) - hope that explains. It’s a feeling really, so difficult to describe. And maybe I failed to picture it too!! Oh well. If anyone has any suggestions of other ways to capture this kind of feeling, please do post and I’ll try and revisit this some time.

Interesting that you think the cranes look like they are identical with just one leg moved, as I actually posed each one entirely independently leaving only the curve of the neck and the angle of the head the same. I left those the same to try and get a bit of symmetry - they are dancing together, not totally as separate beings sort of thing.
But you’re quite right about the feathers. I ought to have modelled them with more serrations along the wing edges to give a better feathery-feel or something. Maybe when I get a chance in a few months’ time…anyone got any tips for creating a feathery look?

Thanks for the tip about AO - I’ve not really used that before and I am impressed.

And sand dunes in Japan lol - you’re quite right. Red crowned cranes dance in the snow in reality, but I am not going for photorealism. I put them on sand dunes because I wanted the warm vibrant colours - it’s again to try and get a feeling of life and vivacity into the picture.

Firstly, nice pic and since I’m a Blender newbie, I’m not about to offer any suggestions on that side of things. However, as a fine artist I can suggest some simple changes to play with.

The horizon line should not be central. Usually it should fall on a one-third horizonatal division so the land and sky don’t compete for space. Similarly, the main focal point (the cranes in this case) should not be dead centre. Try pushing them slightly left or right (one-third is often used as a guide here too). Since your shadow falls to the left of the image, you will probably want to move the cranes to the right.

If you also move the horizon as suggested, then the cranes will obviously move up or down with that so that they should end up off-centre both horizonatally and vertically. Generally speaking, the idea is to not have any visually equal spaces.

To understand more about this, Google “golden section” or “rule of thirds”.

Also, you could try a wider format, this exaggerates space (and gives you more room to shift the cranes without hiding the sun.)


Great tips - thanks AndyD. I’ve had no real training in art, so your suggestions are really helpful. I’ll have a go as soon as a get a chance and update again then.

I’ve read a little bit about the Golden section thing and had a go at framing my picture better. I’ve left the old one for comparison.

Now I really must get on with my maths!! Except it’s 11.20 pm and I have work tomorrow…