Mountains Cycles

Hi all, i’m working on this render,which i use cycles and an hdri for the background, here’s a preview

scene setup

suggestions and advices are welcome :slight_smile:

My main crit is from a geological viewpoint – your modeled mountains look rougher & more jagged than the far peaks, though they are more like foothills given their relationship to the larger background range. In this kind of Alpine range, the greatest erosion from ice fracturing takes place at highest elevation, and that’s what causes the jagged look. Lower heights are eroded more by rain, wind and vegetation, and tend to be more rounded. Also, the trees look too tall for the scale shown, though not a lot.

That being said, the modeled peaks are well done, good texturing, good lighting. The foreground could use some attention, though, it seems too featureless, and the very light shape in the extreme FG of the render is distracting.

Ok thank you chipmasque for your constructives critics, i agree with you about the trees, the plan is in fact a lake, the sunlight behind which is an hdri, i don’t understand what is going wrong :-s i know that is some settings, but the mountains i’m not totally agree, in fact i personally find them not enough jagged, i post some screenshots


Just a suggestion: depending on where you define to be “south”, there should be less snow (as it melts in the sun) on that side, and the peaks should also have less snow as they a) receive the sunlight for a longer time and b) the heat from the sun will probably warm up also the backside.

Additionally to that, I agree with chipmasque that the foreground hills are to “clumsy”; imagine you’d stay in front of them: these are too steep in my opinion, and they could probably take advantage from some grates. From what I remember from my holidays in the alps, 45° is already very steep, and you’ll find that not very often in nature.

Maybe you should also try to add some slight transparency with high roughness to the snow (it’s still transparent, though frozen water).

I can see your intent on the lake better now you’ve described it. Some ideas for you: Given the snow cover on the lower elevations, right to the shoreline, the lake would likely be frozen., and also likely have a fair snow coverage itself. Plus, the ice of a frozen lake, even if fully exposed, does not reflect as liquid water does, and is very, very diffuse – get some references to help you visualize that.

I think you’re on the right track with trying to get the hdri image to reflect, but I’ve found it’s not always perfectly predictable, nor does it always look natural. Plus I think your model is “hiding” the hdri from the lake surface – all I can see is the contours of your model. This is likely because the hdri is at a theoretically infinite distance while the mountains model is relatively close. I ran into a similar problem with the sun reflection from a sky image I used once, and ended up faking it with an “invisible” sun object placed in the scene. Consider making the BG image into a full-frame billboard that sits close behind your mountains model. As long as it’s only a still image, it should hold up well, and I’m pretty sure you can place it to reflect in the lake more successfully. A trick to help is to make the billboard visible only to glossy surfaces and make it invisible to the camera – its reflection will render, though the billboard itself will not. That way you can use the hdri if it looks better. You definitely want to keep the hdri for the scene’s lighting purposes, it gives an excellent sense of atmosphere.

First, thank you for your constructives and helpful critics. After reading your reply, doing some research about frozen ice materials, snow, following tutorials for how to create realistic mountains etc… (belenderpedia, blenderguru) looking for picture references i increased the scene, but i always the hdri shiny problem. I used this tips/addon for the hdri

the hdri uses come from here:

I am a little lost with it, would have you an advice?


I updted my scene, i try the sibl system to light it.

i past here a screenshot,
and i share my blend, in case of someone could look into:

i did some improvements to my scene, but i’m always stucked on the sun:

could someone can give me some advices/help ?