Toony Landscape Tut for my cousin: mesh tools, particles and sun, sky, atmosphere

This is my first tutorial so please bear with me.
Ok, first we will open Blender or create a new scene if it’s already open (Ctrl X). Now we can delete(x) the default cube and add a plane (Space-> Add->Mesh->Plane) in top view (Numpad 7). Press Tab to get out of Edit mode for now and scale (S key) the plane up by 75 (you can type 75 if you like). Now enter Edit mode again (Tab) and subdivide the plane twice (press Subdivide on the Mesh Tools tab or W key->subdivide). Now in the Mesh Tools tab, we will press Fractal and press OK to accept the pop-up that says “Rand fac: 10”. Now we will Press W key->Subdivide Smooth and accept the pop-up of 1.0000. Tab out of Edit mode and press Set Smooth in the bottom of the Link and Materials tab. This is a nice start for our terrain.

Tab back into Edit mode and select a vertex (any one) with the right mouse button. Press the O key to turn on the proportional editing tool. In the 3d View header, You’ll see a orange donut with a dome-like thing next to it. Press the dome and select Root Falloff. Press the 1 on your numpad to get into Front view. Now press the G key to grab and move and use your scroll on you mouse or the - and + key on your numpad. Now move your mouse around and watch the vertices move around. Once you have a nice hill, press left mouse button to save that transformation. You can play with other falloffs if you like, but for now we’ll change the falloff to “constant, no falloff” and select another vertex (you can rotate the view with the middle mouse button to select a new vertex, but go back to front view) and make a nice plateau. Last but not least we will select random falloff to create a rock structure of sorts. You can now Tab out of edit mode

Now we will go on to particle grass. Go to the Particle Buttons (f7 three times) and press add new. Now select Hair from the menu that currently says Emitter. For the amount, type in 10000. Segments: 3, and select Random under emit from. Currently we see no particles. This is because we haven’t given them a starting speed. So bump the Normal spinner to 0.02 so the mesh’ normals give the particles a starting speed. We now see a little bit of dots spread across the terrain. We want the grass to be growing up so we bump the AccZ spinner to 0.1.
We can now see some nice gray grass around the plane, but we would like more. Instead of bumping up the amount and possible slowing our poor little computers down, we’ll use particle children. Go to the Children tab and Change the menu to Faces. The default settings are pretty nice for grass, but we’ll go ahead and change the Render Amount to 50. Make sure to select Parents in the Visualization tab.

This is all very nice grass, but we wouldn’t really want it on our hills. So we go back into Edit mode and fix that. Tab into Edit mode and select all the vertices that aren’t on the hills with the border select tool(B)(it would help to be in top view). Now go into Edit buttons(f9) and under vertex groups, select new and name it something useful. Now press the Assign button to assign the selected vertices to the group. Now tab out of edit mode and go back to particle buttons(f7). In the Extras tab, there is a arrow button. Press this and select your vertex group. In the Visualization tab, press Emitter. Also in this tab, select Strand Render, so we can use the faster way to render particles.

Go ahead and in top view (NumPad 7) and move the camera out to the corner of the plane farthest from the hills and change the clipping end to 300 in the edit buttons. Go into Camera view(numpad 0) and use Shift-F to get a good view with the camera.

Now hit f12 to see our first render.

As we can see, this is not a very good render. First of everything is gray and also the lighting is horrible. So on our first step toward fixing this, we’ll add some materials. Switch to the material buttons(f5)(make sure you have the plane selected) and select add new. Name this material “ground”. We want a nice rich soil so we will adjust our color to R:.227, G:.137, B:.006. Now change the diffuse shader to Oren-Nayar and Ref to .55 and Rough to .9. We want our specular shader to be Phong and the Spec set to .2 and Hard to 12.
Now we want some random variation in our soil. In the tex panel, we press add new. Moving on to the Map input, we change the x and y sizes to 25. In the Map to panel select Col and Nor. We want the color here to be .122, .06 and 0. Move the Col slider to .409 and the Nor slider to 6.49.

Now move on to the Texture buttons (f5) and select Clouds from the menu. In the clouds panel, reduce the noise size to .215 and the noise depth to 4. Change the noise basis to Original Perlin and this should be good for a decent ground material.

Now we want a green for the grass. In the edit buttons, under the color picker, press add new and go back to the material buttons(f5). In the links and pipelines tab press the x and select add new to start this material out fresh. Name this material grass. Make the color .121, .518 and .171. Set the diffuse shader to Oren-Nayar and we would like wet shiny grass so set ref to .621 and rough to .23. Now set the secular shader to Phong with spec at 1.2 and hard at 420. In the MirrorTrans panel, enable Ray Mirror and set it to .33 to let it reflect it’s surroundings.

This material is all nice and well, but the particles aren’t affected by it yet. Go back to the Particles buttons(f7) and in the Visualization tab, Select col and Move the spinner up to 2. Now we have nice green grass.

Right now our grass is all very straight and boring. First of all, we will add a texture to make it taper at the ends. It is advised to go ahead and change the preview type to strands. So now we will add a texture and set it to alpha and deselect Col in the Map to panel and select Strands in the map input panel.

Now go to the texture buttons and select Blend as the texture type. In the texture buttons, colors tab, press colorband and change the first one to pure white with full alpha and the second one to black with 0 alpha.

Now back to the material tab, move the alpha to 0 and select Ztransparency. Now to finalize our strands, Click on the button that says Strands in the render pipeline. A pop-up comes up and change the Start to 2, the end to .25 and the shape to -.25. You can go ahead and render now or press Shift-P for the preview window.

Now to take care of that horrible lighting. Instead of deleting the lamp we already have, select it and you should see the lamp buttons. Select sun lamp and place it like so using grab(g) and rotating®:
You can press n to bring up transform properties and type in locX: -74.798, locY 61.911, locZ: 66.093, RotX: 27.3, rotY: -68.647, and rotZ -71.663. Now change the distance to 180 and raise the energy to 2. Change the color to a nice yellow like r1, g.8, and b.2. Enable Ray Shadows so our sun casts shadows. Change the Shadow color to a nice deep blue like r 0, g.1, and b .2.

This is all nice , but we would like some color cast to the scene. In the world buttons(f5 a few times), We see a tab called Amb Occ. This is the Ambient Occlusion tab. Select Ambient Occlusion and we see a whole row of settings pop up. Change the gather settings from Raytrace to Approximate. Turn the energy up to 1.5 and this should be good for now.

Go back to the lamp buttons and switch to the Sky/Atmosphere tab. This is a new 2.48 feature, so this part of the tutorial is mostly me testing it. Feel free to stray from my settings. Here I enabled Sky and Atmosphere and have the following settings:

Now I have my camera set like this:

And here is my final result!

If you have any questions, just drop me a PM.

looks good, ill have to try it out at home soon :open_mouth:

Also edit the “random” field. Makes particles (hair) look better for grass.