River scene.

I am going for a fantasy look this scene is supposed to be at a forest right by a waterfall and look very mystical and fantasy based.

  • I would like some suggestions for the background
    -I am going to add trees, but don’t know how to go about the leaf problem
    (distributing leaves on the branches to look natural)
  • The render time is HUGE I’m not sure why, the wish flowers have LOTS of vertz,

so, I would like ideas, and critique and possibly how to make it look nicer using composition, particles(like floating glowing things) more fantasy and possible how I would go about making those improvments


You should change camera view and choose different rendering resolution (also aspect ratio 4:3 doesn’t look good for this one)
Show less grass and more background.
A lot of vertices on plants shouldn’t be a problem. I think it’s because you have the water reflection in the scene. Do you have AO turned on? It doesn’t look it is… It usually slows rendering significantly, but it looks cool in most cases.
Also why isn’t your grass casting shadows? Watch this tuturial to get better looking grass: http://www.blenderguru.com/the-secret-to-creating-realistic-grass/
You should also sculpt the rocks a little bit. Just get some noisy brush and start sculpting. It’s really quite easy to do such easy things like rocks.
I would add more rocks and plants if I were you. You can get something from cgtextures for the background, but edit the file in Gimp or PS first, so it matches your scene mood.

edit: now I see that you asked for some ideas on composition - turn the camera to be looking straight (you could then add some rock with moss and the already mentionied waterfall to get rid of background) and move it more to the ground, thus the details on the rock and flower will come out. Also, what about adding some fur on the flower?

trees i believe are very easy, sorta. what you do is actually model most of the large branches then in another file make a small branch with lots of leaves, render it from top view ortho. then map that texture to a plane and duplicate it all around your tree, it will look a little funny in the 3d view but when you render it it will look nice.