Rendering and modeling of large landscapes with vegetation

I’m interested in rendering and modeling of large landscapes with vegetation. The problem is that for example huge fields of grass or wheat generated with a particle system render very slow and are even more difficult to display for editing.

I’m looking for a technique where I am able to render for example a field which stretches to the horizon. Near the camera you should be able to see much detail like every single wheat or grass strand. Maybe I could use a particle system for the foreground and a texture for the background and the horizon. But how could the transition be done without looking bad and being obvious.

There are ways to get around this up to a point. You can use a particle system for the foreground, and then use a pre-rendered section of ‘grass’ on a billboard of another particle system for behind that. Obviously, this will match in if you merge the edges of the two particle systems. Behind that again you can use a set of UV mapped planes with large areas of pre-rendered grass on them. Don’t just map a roughness to the ‘terrain’ until it is a distant hill. Much of the trick would be placing natural breaks in the landscape to allow easy switching from one system ot another. Dips, rivers, hills, hedges etc all allow this to take place more invisibly.

It can also help to render sections on different layers and composite them together with blurred masks, so that the edges are not so obvious.