The haunted house: fading the background


See the render below. I have two questions:

1- Can I make the scene fade out to black? I want it to fade when the fence is almost gone and the end of the grass is visible. The problem with mist is that when I zoom closer to the house, the mist zooms farther out. I guess I could animate the mist, but I don’t know how to do that. (maybe have an empty control the start of the mist?) I also want the sky to fade up from black- just a little. Right now (you might be able to see it) the world panorama texture is showing below the horizon too. I guess I could just fade it in the actual image texture. I might just do that…

2- My scene is shot in the night. Do you have any suggestions for my lighting right now? The movie is supposed to be somewhat mysterious and it gets kinda supernatural towards the end. I tried to make the sky fit with that, but I was wondering what you guys think about it.

Actually, I really have three questions. Is there a way to optimize the grass rendering? Without grass, it renders in 6 sec. With is 1 min 10. I am trying to keep rendering time about a minute- and I still have some trees to add.

Any suggestions are welcome as well.


You can animate the mist by placing your mouse in the mist/starts/physics panel and pressing i.
You can set up an IPO driver for the mist as well if you want to have it driven by an empty.
I like the lighting the way it is. It fits well with the sky image. If I were you I would composite the sky behind the house so you can fade it seperately. Right now the sky looks heavily distorted & stretched. Are you using a sky dome? Depending on what you want for animation, you might want to try a different method so the image isn’t so distorted.

As far as the grass goes, there is no fast render solution when you’re dealing with a lot of particles. Though I would suggest adding a random value to the grass, some negative Z force to make them bend at the top and maybe randomize the length a little bit.

Looks good. Keep at it!

Thanks, that helps a lot. But for the IPO driver (something I haven’t really done much): I want an IPO driver for the y-distance between the camera and an empty. Is that possible? Do I need to have some armature rig to do it? The sky distortion was my fault. The scene really isn’t that big. I changed the camera lens from 35 to 9. But without that, it looks fine.

One more thing about the mist: the mist is fading into my world texture (the skybox) not the zenup color.

I just tried to make an IPO driver for the MiDist curve. It would appear that Blender won’t allow you to do that. It looks like you’ll have to animate it by hand. It shouldn’t be too much of a hassel though, depending on how complex of a camera move it is. Make sure you turn on mist for the camera, so you can see where it begins and ends.

Yes, the mis function fades into the horizon color. In this case, I believe that would be your sky texture. Another reason why you would render the sky and the foreground seperately. You can just set the horizon color to black after you render the sky.

Maybe you could do it with a python script. I am not familiar with the python language however. It could go something like:

Dim dblDist As Double;
dblDist = Object.Camera.locy - Object.Empty.locy
MistStart = dblDist

That was my mix of programming knowledge.
But come to think about it, it really wouldn’t be that hard to animate it by hand anyways.

You know you could always use a blend texture to try to fade things out at a fixed distance, map the blend texture to an empty in the direction you choose and use it to affect alpha with every material you need it for.

The blend texture is not affected by the camera so it should start giving you the effect you’re looking for.

Okay I tried it and it worked at well. I also added some trees. The trees aren’t that great because adding twigs sent my render time skyrocketing. I couldn’t get the grass to fade out though. I UV mapped a gradient to it but it doesn’t fade still. I guess its something with the hair particles? I cut down the grass particles and my render time is about 30-40 sec. But I still don’t know how to do the -Z force thingy. I added some roughness to the children, but it really doesn’t look like I want it to.


You can go to particle mode and style the grass how you want, also, I see the background below the grass, you really need to have a plane for dirt there.

I thought I did have it render the emitter, but I’ll go check.
My grass has always had wierd whitish blue spots.

I see the spots, does it do the same when you fidget with the grass material settings? It might be the specularity but I’m not sure.

I took out the specularity and it fixed it.

I UV mapped a gradient to it but it doesn’t fade still

Make sure you have a good UV map, I did quick tests in my Blender, UVmaps work on strands when you have a good map and it’s set to UV coordinates. Try using ‘project from view’ as the unwrapping method and set SpecTra in the ray-transparency panel to 0