Tests with Mountains and Environment

30 04 2013

Needed research

Before continuing with the development of my project, there is a thing I had to research. My animated short is full of mountains, but I’ve never done mountains in 3D, so I’ve done lots of research in order to see how to do good 3D mountains and test which is the best style for the mountains of my short. At the beginning, I started doing some tutorials about realistic mountains.


This mountain is based on different layers of noises applied to a displacement map, it also have bump mapping and other effects. It includes some gradients in order to make the grass appear just in some areas of the mountain.

After learning the basics of doing mountains, I’ve created a basic scene for the castle surroundings in order to make different tests.


I applied the different materials to the scene, but the result was not the one I was expecting:


I started tweaking the parameters, but the result was too realistic for the cartoon style I am looking for:

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Then, I started to test different artistic shaders, but with the basics I’ve learnt from the tutorials, this are the art shaders I’ve done and used:



I like much more this first results with the art shader combined with the basics of creating mountains. It matches a lot more the art and cel shader style I’m looking for my animated short. But it still need to improve. So I started tweaking with the art shader applied to a fractal modeling form:

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After some tests, I’ve realized that displacement maps aren’t necessary for the style I’m looking for. Because increases the render time a lot, and it doesn’t make a real difference. So I’ve tried and applied different noises with bump mapping. This is the result after tweaking with the parameters, the noises, bumps, specular, etc.


That’s the style I was looking for my mountains, kind of cartoon but realistic at the same time, with brush style texture thanks to the art shader. It fits perfectly the  general style of the short.

So I’ve remodeled the scenario, with more fractal mountains. This is a picture of the process:


And this is the result:


As the background of the physical sky was not to my liking, I’ve painted a background sky in ArtRage and I’ve applied it to a background object in C4D. With this sky the scene looks better and it fits better the style of the short. The castle is not textured yet.

Sometimes it’s good to stop a few days to research for the things I need to know in order to finish the project. Then, the workflow of the production is going to be tidy and efficient. 




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