modelling icon3How to Make a Cave

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Tags - Nature, Particles
  • Blender 2.69
Discover How To:
  • Create a realistic cave with basic modelling
  • Use particles to quickly distribute hundreds of objects
  • Create glowing crystals and mushrooms

Chapter Marks (Full Length )

modelling icon33.4016.16materials icon40.55modelling icon350.00modelling icon366.31compositing72.54
  • Blender 2.69
Discover How To:
  • Create a realistic cave with basic modelling
  • Use particles to quickly distribute hundreds of objects
  • Create glowing crystals and mushrooms

Chapter Marks (Full Length )

modelling icon33.4016.16materials icon40.55modelling icon350.00modelling icon366.31compositing72.54

Finished Result


Download the Texture Pack Download the Finished .blend

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial :)

Experiment with the scene and see if you can create a completely new cave! Here’s some inspiration. Go nuts!

If you make something awesome with this tutorial, post it in the comments below!


1. Delete the default cube and lamp, and replace with a Cylinder, turned 90 degrees.



2. Go to the scene settings and change the units to Metric (or Imperial if you insist :P)



3. Scale the Cylinder so it’s 30 meters long.



4. Set the width to 3 meters. Also raise the cylinder above the grid floor.



5. Go into edit mode and create 95 edge loops (Ctrl+R, Mouse Wheel Up)



6. Position the camera at one end of the tunnel.



7. In edit mode, turn on Proportional Editing and move the end of the tunnel higher and at an S bend. Also, delete the end face.



8. Using the proportional editing tool, create dips, bends and variations to the cave structure.



Creating a Column

1. Create hole in the ceiling and floor by going into top view and deleting two vertices directly over the top of each other.



2. With both loops selected, press W and select Bridge Edge Loops.



3. Individually scale the loops to make it smaller at the top and larger at the bottom.



UV Unwrapping the Cave

1. Create a seam around the back of the column and the top and bottom.



2. Create a seam on the face behind the camera, as well as one down the bottom-right side of the cave.



3. Press U>Unwrap and you should see it unwrapped in the UV Image editor.



4. In the UV image editor, with everything still selected, scale it all by 4 (S, 4, Enter).



Creating the Cave Material

1. With the cave selected, add a new material and call it ‘Cave’.



2. Go to the node editor and create the following set up using these textures.




Lighting the Scene

1. In the node editor, go to the World Settings and add a Sky Texture. Move the light on the sphere as pictured, set the Turbidity to 5 and set the Strength to 25.



2. Add a Sun lamp, set the color to light orange-pink and a Strength of 6. Set the Size to 5cm to create smooth shadows.



3. Rotate the sun lamp so it shines down the tunnel towards the camera.



Creating Cave Displacements

1. Select the Cave and add Subsurf Modifier (level 3) and Displacement Modifier. Click the New Texture button in the Displacement Modifier.



2. Go to the Texture panel, select the Displacement Texture. Set the type to Image and use the Displacement texture in the texture zip.



3. Set the Displacement type to UV and Strength to 0.3.



Creating the Gem

1. Go to File>User Preferences and go to the Addons section. Find the Extra Objects addon and enable it.



2. On a new layer press Shift+A>Mesh>Extra Objects>Gemstones>Gem. In the toolbar (T), using the following settings:



3. Rotate the Gem 180 degrees so it’s pointing up. In edit mode, create a Seam along the edges as shown.



4. UV Unwrap the mesh (U) and scale it up as shown.



5. Add a Cylinder with 5 sides. Extrude the top edge loop then merge them in the center (Alt+M).



6. Create seams as shown and UV Unwrap it (U).



7. Duplicate, scale and arrange the Cylinders around the main gem as shown:



8. Add a Decimate modifier to each Cylinder and set the Ratio amount to different amounts, to create interesting shards.



9. Select the main gem and add a Bevel Modifier with the following settings to make the edges smoother.



10. Give the gem and shards the same material: Gem.



11. Go to the Node Editor and create the following Material setup using the Ice texture from the texture zip.



12. In the Material tab, add a new material with the settings as shown. Assign it to the bottom face of the main gem and shards.



You should now have this:



Creating the Glowing Mushrooms

1. On a new layer add a Cylinder with 6 vertices. Scale it up and create 3 cuts vertically (Ctrl+R, Mousewheel Up).



2. Duplicate the top of the Cylinder, make it a separate object (P) and extrude it outwards as shown.



3. Add a Subsurf Modifier (level 2) and a Solidify Modifier to create a thickness close to what’s shown:



4. Add two materials. Both Emission, Light Blue. The Strength of the Top should be 1, and the Strength of the Bottom should be 2.



5. Go back to the Solidify Modifier and set the Material Index to 1 as shown.



6. Apply the Subsurf and Solidify Modifier, then merge with the Stem. Assign the Stem to the Bottom material.



7. Duplicate the first Mushroom and create variations of it, by bending the stem and changing the shape of the top. Once finished select all and create a group (Ctrl+G) and call it Shrooms.



8. Select the cave, create a new vertex group and call it Shrooms. Go into Weight Paint mode (Ctrl+Tab) and paint the area in front of the camera as shown. This is where the mushrooms will go.



9. With the cave still selected, Add a new Particle System and set the settings as shown.



10.  In the same particle system, set the following settings:



11. And finally, set these settings:


Yay! Glowing mushrooms!

Yay! Glowing mushrooms!


Creating the Stalagmites

1. Create some super basic Stalagmites by extruding a plane downwards. Create a group (Ctrl+G) and call it Stalagmites.



2. Create a new vertex group as before and paint the top of the cave in weight paint mode.



3. Duplicate the Mushroom particle system and change the settings to use the Stalagmite group. Turn off Children Particles and increase the amount to suite.

You should then have this:



Rendering and Compositing

1. So we can apply glow to the gem stones, give them a Pass Index of 1 in the Object Panel.



2. Go to the Render Layer panel and enable an Object Index and Environment Pass.



3. Select the camera and set the focus on the Gem, and set the F/Stop to 2.3.



4. Go to the Compositor and create gem and environment glare, a vignette, atmospheric falloff and color grading with the following setup:




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