Urban decay (no flowers)


All info in the caption

This time forcused more on the texturing, I would’ve put an image of cracks on the sidewalk but looked very ugly after test rendering just the sidewalk and knew it would detract from the image.

It would actually be pretty cool, you have a nice sense of composition, one thing that most of us lack, so you should use this gift better.
I think the image is way too flat, that’s my major problem, there are no realy shadows, no real sense of depth.
My other problem is with the bricks, they are nicely done, but they look as if they were painted on some large piece of paper, which then would be glued to the wall, and then someone would cut holes into them for windows and other stuff, but they missed even some of those.
This is really meant to be constructive criticism, the picture is not bad, glad to see that you are actually working on your art now, and making progress, so it’s time to pay attention to details that make things look real.
If you look at those bricks (which by the way should also get some geometric depth) they are lit, they have a dark shadow underneath them, but that shadow doesn’t show anywhere else in the image, neither do the highlights, and it gets pretty distracting.

The bricks were bumpmapped, most likely it’s the bumpmapping portion of it.

Go to your render buttons window and turn on “shadow”. And make sure your lights have shadows turned on too.

An image is nothing without shadows.

Otherwise the scene itself isn’t too bad, but it looks like you’ve just thrown in a whole heap of different objects without “joining” them together. For example the pipes on the right look like they’ve been glued onto the wall.

Yep, as I thought, bumpmapping is useful, but such objects should only be bumpmapped when they are far from the camera, because as you can see here, when they are close, they become pretty strange. You could try displacement map on that wall, it might work, as it gives geometry as well, but the best would be to model it, with the new test build’s selection tools it wouldn’t be all that hard.

Hi Kansas,

I like the image composition. This project has great potential. Here are my suggestions…

Lighting: Use a sun lamp with energy set to 1.5, color slightly yellow, and toggle on ray shadows. Position the sun in plan behind the camera and to the left. Rotate the sun rays vertically about 45 degrees and rotate it horizontally so it points towards the large building in the back ground. Add a basic lamp in the middle of the alley. Set the energy to 0.3, color a medium blue-gray, no shadows. Turn on AO in the world buttons, set the number of passes to 10, toggle sky texture, leave the energy at 1.0, and set the bias to 5.0. This should make the lighting appear more realistic.

Textures: The bricks currently look like they are about 1 foot high by two feet wide. They should be about a third of the current size. Try some more variety in the building textures. You can vary the brick colors a little and add some concrete and stone building textures.

Something you may want to try: 1) Model a small square section of bricks in a separate file. 2) Apply a procedural texture like clouds. 3) Use the lighting discribed above. 4) Render with a camera perpendicular to the wall set to ortho. 5) Use Gimp or other program to manipulate the brick colors and add wear. This may provide a more realistic looking texture. This process works for other building materials as well.

Modeling: Great start. I recommend researching building materials on the internet. Look up windows, doors, bricks, duct work, pipe, fire escapes, and other buidling materials for references to work from. Your work so far is good, but working from references will improve the realism.

Architecture: I like the variety in the various buildings (door and window placement). Something to consider, many buildings (especially older buildings) follow the classic model of base, shaft, and capital derived from classical Greek and Roman columns. For example, you may want to define the first floor (base) of the brick buildings with a stone, concrete, or different brick pattern. The middle stories (shaft) are fine. The upper story (capital) should be more ornate with a decorative band (cornice) around the top of the wall. This does not apply as much on the back, but the sides should be more detailed.

Keep up the good work and continue to push yourself.


I chose the lighting as it is assuming the big building you see in the background overshadows the scene, and also put in a hugely scaled area light to get the subtle shadowing in shadow effects you see in objects very big or close to the ground in shadow. And I saud hugely scaled so objects would have to be very close to the ground to notice anything,

I agree that the composition is “unexpectedly strong… yet curiously lacking of any subject.”

What I see here is a well-modeled urban alleyway with some litter blowing around, but I do not see anything in the composition which says, “urban decay.” I also find that my eye is simply wandering aimlessly through the shot. And that it never does arrive at the subject.

I suggest that you first look closely at the scene, then draw some crop-lines on a printout of it (or use cropping boards) until you remove the extraneous material. Then, consider (carefully!) what will tell the story you want to convey, and how and where to put it.

Also consider the extreme power of lighting, both to establish mood in the shot and to subtly direct the viewer’s attention and impression of the scene. Experiment with possibilities until you find what “clicks.”

modeling is okay, textures are not so good, it looks like a game…keep it up! :wink:

That’s all well and dandy, but are you going to take Erich’s and Sundial’s excellent suggestions and make your scene better?

It sounds like you’re trying to justify why you did what you did to avoid following other’s suggestions, which is a bad idea. Because if you don’t use these suggestions you won’t get anywhere.

I hope for your sake that you try to improve this scene instead of going on to something else and coming out with another mediocre result.

Erich did mention 2 things I usually don’t use like AO and post processing, personally I think PP takes out the whole reason for rendering the image and I like pure images. And AO would be a lot better if it didn’t take so long to calculate, it can make even a simple cube and plane render take up to 2 minutes at a decent amount of samples.

Not like I wouldn’t follow crits but once I finish the image it doesn’t seem like it could afford any changes, but I do keep them in mind for future images.

If you care about your work, then no image (or model or animation or sculpture or… etc.) is ever finished. Abandoned? Yeah. But not finished. Keep pushing on this one. You already have the groundwork set. Just bring it to life. Take the suggestions an use them. The color on this is very unsaturated. While that’s perfectly alright, if it’s not done well, the overall image looks flat and forgetable. Use the texturing suggestions you’ve been given. Use more than one light. Get some shadows in there… or at least make the alley in the distance darker than it is here (again, lighting).

Forget about your own personal issues with post processing and AO. The objective here is to get a strong image. Those are simply tools. If they get the job done, does it really matter which tools you use? I realize that there are some time issues with AO (especially in 2.34… some bug caused it to take extra long… it’s fixed in cvs, I believe. Try it out.), but that doesn’t mean you can’t use more lights positioned in such a way as to give your image more depth. Layer-only lights, shadow-only lights, no-shadow lights… all of them have applications in this image. Use them.

Post processing does not equal to drawing an image by hand, so it doesn’t make in meaningless to render it.

Sorry for this but I was going to post an update with the bricks offset a little and the pipes a little smaller and placed a little higher or so to reduce the strangeness and have AO on but after a few hours it just gives an error and aborts.


I like your ideas and all, but I have never seen so many pictures by one person in my whole life that look like they where created in Microsoft Paint!!!

No lighting at all???

Lights are your friend


Are you dissing Microsoft Paint?!? How dare you! It’s a useful program for post processing!

Are you dissing Microsoft Paint?!? How dare you! It’s a useful program for post processing![/quote]
Well you create absolutely everything in MS paint if you worked at it :wink: