modelling icon3How to Make Cliffs

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Tags - Photorealistic
Software:
  • Blender 2.68
Discover How To:
  • How to create a realistic cliff material
  • How displacements can be used for incredible effect
  • Why I recommend sculpting for added realism

Chapter Marks (Full Length )

modelling icon34.2111.40modelling icon325.10modelling icon341.42icon-texturing54.45
Software:
  • Blender 2.68
Discover How To:
  • How to create a realistic cliff material
  • How displacements can be used for incredible effect
  • Why I recommend sculpting for added realism

Chapter Marks (Full Length )

modelling icon34.2111.40modelling icon325.10modelling icon341.42icon-texturing54.45
Download the Textures

 

Finished result

But I’m keeping the tutorial explicitly to the theme and will focus just on the cliff face:

Finished Result

 Download the Finished .blend

 

Homework

Yes, homework!

Tutorials are good for learning new things, but the real learning happens when you figure out how to apply it to a scene of your own.

Pick a scene below and try to recreate it using Blender. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn in the process!

 

Create something cool? Post it in the comments below!

Summary

1. Enable the Import Images as Planes addon in the File>Preferences settings.

 

2. Delete the default cube, press Shift+A and select Images as Planes.

 

3. In the dialogue box select the Diffuse texture from the texture pack. Move the origin point to one edge of the plane.

 

4. Rotate the plane 90 degrees so it’s vertical, and scale it x10.

 

5. Create two vertical edge loops and one horizontal (Ctrl+R) in order to make square faces.

 

6. Subdivide the plane (W) and in the toolbar (T) set the cuts to 10.

 

7. Add a subsurf modifier.

 

8. Add a displacement modifier and click New Texture.

 

9. Reset the scale by pressing Ctrl+A>Scale.

 

10. In the texture panel, select Displace, set the type to Image, and click Open. In the dialogue box select the DISP texture from the texture pack.

 

11. Set the Displacement modifier’s texture coordinates to UV, and the strength to 0.3.

 

12. Set the plane to smooth shading. Add a sunlamp and rotate it to shine from the behind and along the plane. Set the settings as shown:

You should now have this:

 

Cliff Material

13. Go to the node editor and set up the following node setup, using the NRM map from the texture pack.

 

Ooo… finer bumps

 

14. Setup the following node setup using the SPEC map from the texture pack.

 

Mmmm… shiny rocks

 

Sculpting

The cliff face looks pretty flat currently, so sculpting it by hand will help make it look more realistic.

15. Go into sculpting mode, texture view and enable the Clay brush.

 

16. Add a texture to the brush and use the Square texture included in the texture pack.

 

17. Set the texture angle to Rake, the Spacing to 2%, set the curve type to Maximum.

 

18. Add a Multires modifier to the top of the stacker and click Subdivide once.

 

19. Using a split view of texture view and solid view (with Matcap, press N>Display>Matcap), start sculpting over the areas of the texture that you think should be raised (white) and hold ctrl to sculpt over the areas to be dug in.

 

20. Hit Subdivide on the Multires modifier, and repeat the sculpting process but a finer level.

 

21. Repeat this one more time and sculpt an even finer level of detail.

 

22. In edit mode, use the proportional fall off tool to drag the top and side edge backwards (so it’s not visible to the camera).

 

Render it now and you should have this:

Ooo… even more defined bumps.

Grass

Most cliffs have nature bursting through the rock cracks. So let’s add some grass.

23. Go to the particle settings and set the values as shown:

 

24. To make bunches, enable Children and set the settings as shown:

 

25. Add a new material to the second slot and create the setup as shown:

 

26. As of Blender 2.68, strand rendering is an experimental feature, so go to the render panel settings and enable the Experimental feature set:

 

27. Go to the particle render settings and set the Material to 2.

 

28. Go into Weight Paint mode and paint the areas where the grass should be growing (flat areas):

 

29. Set the Density Vertex Group to Group and the Cycles Hair Scaling to 0.02 (for slightly thicker grass).

 

Finished!

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