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Vue Masterclass: Chapter 1

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Date Added: 2nd October 2013
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Please keep in mind that when working on a specific area you should always use the render region option to reduce the time wasted in the test renders. You might have to test the values of the mixing amounts in the Material editor a couple of times until you get what you are looking for. An important detail is to specify the way the two materials blend and if you want a sharp or a progressive transition between the two. In this case I want a sharper line to get a better feel of that area where the water touches the cliffs. I apply the same technique on all the terrain segments. It is also noticeable that I've changed the color of the water to create a better sense of scale. Having deeper blue for the water means having deeper water and therefore automatically a bigger scale (Fig.09).


Adding the Vegetation

I'm happy with the terrain now so it's time to start working on the vegetation. The ecosystem technology is what revolutionized Vue a couple of years ago, and it is a very handy tool. In a specific environment, like this one, I tend not to use automatic distribution, but paint the areas I want the vegetation to grow on. This way I have a lot more control over the vegetation and on the composition. Adding vegetation can be a very tricky task though. Recreating the natural variation is not easy, and a lot of time must be spent trying to improve the look of your ecosystem. Because of the more general approach of this tutorial, we will not go into that, but keep in mind that this is a very important point when you are creating your 3D environment.

A lot of the time you might need to create custom plants, or even use outside models to get the look you want. Again, I have to repeat, having good reference images is essential (Fig.10).


But as I said, I want to keep it simple and so I only use a type of tree, the "Springtime White Birch". Here is how our scene looks after the ecosystem painting (Fig.11). The beach seems a bit too empty so let's add some bushes using the same technique (Fig.12).



Adding Details to the Terrain

Now that the general elements are in place, we can concentrate on making things a bit more interesting. The far cliff looks a bit boring, so let's modify the terrain a bit on the far edge. Here is how the terrain looks after I've worked on it a bit (Fig.13). When making these kind of changes always check the result through your render camera. There is no point in making it look cool in the terrain editor if it is not interesting in the final image. I know there are some artefacts here and there, but there is nothing that cannot be fixed later (Fig.14).



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