How to Create a Post Apocalyptic Environment

Discover how to convert any environment into a decaying, neglected mess.

Length:
1 hour 7 minutes
Software:
Blender 2.63
Difficulty:
Advanced
Rate:
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.8/5 (136 votes cast)

In this tutorial you will discover:

  • How to add debris to a scene
  • How to add grunge textures to materials
  • How to add graffiti to walls
  • How to use the Ivy Generator

Ever fantasized about how the world would without humans? It’s an eery yet fascinating concept and it’s one that has been done to death through countless hollywood flicks and video games. But nonetheless, it’s something that the general public has seemingly latched on to in the recent years.

This tutorial hones in on that exact topic by showing you how to create a decaying, neglected warehouse that has been overtaken by natural elements.

Finished Result

Poor lonely, lonely Sintel...

Sintel: The Post Apocalyptic version

Download the Starter File

Bonus vid: How to Create the Volumetric Lighting

Textures used in the tutorial

Text Summary

For all you super important people who can’t spare 64 minutes of your life (and I don’t blame you), here’s the shortened, text summary…

Break stuff

Create breaks in structural supports and flip tables.

 Add hanging ropes

Add a bezier curve and use it make dangling ropes and electrical cords.

Add a bezier curve and arrange it to create hanging ropes from the ceiling. Use these settings to make it render.

Distribute roof tiles

Randomely distribute planes as roof tiles to create interesting shadows in the scene.

Randomely distribute planes as roof tiles to create interesting shadows in the scene.

Oooo pretty shadows... and fireflies. Lots of fireflies.

Oooo pretty shadows… and fireflies. Lots of fireflies.

Add Grunge

Select the brickwall and add two alpha masked grunge textures (it's less confusing than it looks)

Select the brickwall and add two alpha masked grunge textures (it’s less confusing than it looks). Download Texture 1 and Texture 2.

Mmm yeah slimy dirty grime. If it looks like someone spat the world's biggest loogie on your building then you're doing it right.

Mmm yeah slimy dirty grime. If it looks like someone spat the world’s biggest loogie on your building then you’re doing it right.

Add Graffiti

Create a separate UVMap as pictured and export the UVLayout at 1024 by 1024 PNG.

Create a separate UVMap as pictured and export the UVLayout at 1024 by 1024 PNG.

Open the PNG in your favourite image editor and draw your own lame tags. Save as a PNG.

Open the PNG in your favourite image editor and draw your own lame tags. Save as a PNG.

Add the graffiti texture to the material as shown.

Add the graffiti texture to the material as shown.

Whoa watch out kids, "Pyro" has moved into the abandoned warehouse.

Whoa watch out kids, “Pyro” has moved into the abandoned warehouse.

Create Debris

Model a variety of broken bricks, ceramics and strap metal.

Model a variety of broken bricks, ceramics and strap metal. Create a group out of these objects. Reference Image.

Scatter the debris across the plane using a particle system.

Scatter the debris across the floor using a particle system.

Add Grass and Plants

Plants and grass from The Nature Academy, Drag 'n' Drop collection.

Plants and grass from The Nature Academy, Drag ‘n’ Drop bonus.

Create two more particle systems like the debris to distribute the plants and grass across the ground.

Create two more particle systems like the debris to distribute the plants and grass across the ground.

Grow Ivys

Go to File > User Preferences, and under Addons, type Ivy. Check the box to enable the IvyGen script.

Go to File > User Preferences, and under Addons, type Ivy. Check the box to enable the IvyGen script.

Select a wall, move the 3d cursor to where you want the ivy to grow from. Press Shift+A > Curve > IvyGen. Apply these settings and press Update.

Select a wall, move the 3d cursor to where you want the ivy to grow from. Press Shift+A > Curve > IvyGen. Apply these settings and press Update.

Download this Ivy Leaf texture. Select the Ivy Leaves and setup the material like this.

Download this Ivy Leaf texture. Select the leaves and create a material like this.

On a cold and grey Chicago mornin' another little baby child was born in the ghetto [in the ghettoooo].

Perfect for any public restroom scenes.

Add Fog

Render the scene. Go to the compositor and add a Map Value node and Mix node. Connect as shown.

Render the scene. Go to the compositor and add a Map Value node and Mix node. Connect as shown.

Bonus: How to Create the Volumetric Lighting

Finished!

Further Inspiration

Not sure where to take this tutorial? Here’s some inspiration to get your creative juices flowing…

  • Ruin – MUST SEE! Voted as the best short film of 2011 by the readers of 3d world magazine. It was even the inspiration for this tutorial.
  • AbandonedPorn – Not at all what it sounds like! A community of people who love photos of abandoned buildings.
  • ROSA – Another must see short based on the apocalyptic theme. Blender even played a big role in the production of it!
  • Tears of Steel – Duh! The latest open source film from the Blender foundation is perfect for this theme. The source files on the DVD will be super helpful too.

Create something cool with this tutorial? Leave a comment below!

How to Create a Post Apocalyptic Environment, 4.8 out of 5 based on 136 ratings

About Andrew Price

User of Blender for 9+ years. I've written tutorials for 3d World Magazine and spoken at three Blender conferences. My goal is to help artists get employed in the industry by making training accessible and easy to understand. I'm an Aussie and I live in South Korea ;)
  • leo

    how do i export this to udk?

    • hanston

      best is if you dont expot this scene, its better to create every peace individual and build your scene in udk. it gives you more freedom over your meshes and alows you to tke parts of it again and again.

  • David S

    This is my effort!

  • Pingback: 制作世界末日场景 – Apocalyptic Environment | Blender Totem

  • Gaya M

    Wow, the lamp and the character are so amazing.

  • Heikki Hietala

    Wow Andrew! You just answered every one of my questions regarding these run-down scenes. Great work!

  • max

    Great tutorial, here is an apocalyptic seen I’ve created.

  • Sam Samson

    Thank you, Andrew, for the inspiration and the AwEsOmE tutorials!

  • Alessandro Deluca

    Hi Andrew , I am a young graphics artist and I am starting to use Blender , I use mostly 3DS MAX , C4d and Maya , each for a different purpose , I would really like to see a tutorial on hard surface texture like a Robot or Mech . I saw the movie Tears of steel and I really liked the robots and how they were textured ,

  • EMILIO CRUZ

    I fount that using cell fracture to break and the physics engine to spread stuff works wonders as well when placing debris

  • Guest

    Thanks Andrew for your tutorials it really helps
    This is my finish result!
    I had problems in the light effect and the white particles so i used photo shop to fix them.

    • http://twitter.com/aboudi3ramadani aboudi3ramadani

      sory for the same 3 pictures there was an error or some kind
      this guest me by they way.

      • LemoX

        That should be a problem of rendering samples!

  • Denzel Lepon

    Hello Andrew Price, I envy your works. I’m still a newbie, and as I follow your steps. There some . . color problem. As I render the file, some colors turn . . purple. I don’t know how to change it. I need help. :(

    • EMILIO CRUZ

      texture links are broken. go to the node editor and add new textures.

  • http://www.facebook.com/talisker.scotthunter Talisker Scott Hunter

    Just wondering, how powerful does a computer need to be in order to run these things, mine has 4gb or ram, is this enough?

    • TechCrazy

      4gb is fine, but keep in mind the more weaker your computer the longer its going to take to render. A single picture with full effects particles reflections etc. Can take a while to render the weaker you get.

  • blah

    I think Lee Salvemini rigging tutorial is the greatest tutorial in this site. Maybe because it was what made viable for me to make my animations that I do for hobby today. And it is also probably the longest tutorial in the site.

  • http://www.facebook.com/juanitofive Juan Bernal

    hi andrew im trying to download the starter file but cant, is it still available?

  • Ayoub

    Hellow guys,
    forgive this beginner but why is it when I render the start blend file the yellow light is renderred pink??

  • Arno, from Bordeaux

    Andrew

    Even after 4000 cycles (11 hours !!), I have some white particles in my render ! The only one way I found to remove them was Gimp “anti-parasite”. Have-you got better ideas ?

    Thank-you for advance for your answer And thank-you 1000 times for yours tutos !

    Arno

  • Arno, from Bordeaux

    Dear Andrew

    Thank-you for your tutos. I’ve done another version… Less optimistic !

    • http://www.facebook.com/juanitofive Juan Bernal

      how was u able to download the starter file? is it still available?

  • Faoouzi

    You are the best Andrew :)

  • X3SB

    Here is my result!

  • Jouke

    Post Apocalyptic? I love the place. Looks fertile to me with all the green. Thnx a lot Andrew!!

    • stotch

      An apocalypse doesnt wipe out all life, it wipes out most of human life. The world would soon be beautiful again.

  • datkom

    Hey andrew price ..
    Im your no.1 fan.. Ever

  • KRUChY

    Andy, youre the MAN!!! gr8 stuff. Now im thinking… if we can see particles (how to make sparks) in Cycles, and this great tut with grass… Is it possible, to convert, or to make from scrach such a good looking, realistic grass but rendered in Cycles?

  • GoBroJosh

    The textures that are already put on (from the starter file) are not showing up when I render it. I tried removing it and putting it back on. Please help!

  • Amir

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA !!!!

    you’re learning system have grew up a lot more professional so that it’s much more than expected !

    my friend have gave me your nature academy as a gift.

    sometime I will bring you here for teach! ;)

    Oh : I was forgetting something.

    Would you like I send for you IRAN Kavir (Desert) and desert Castels Images (for Free) to work on???

    that’s very nice for texture and reference image.

    I don’t know what to do and were to send.

    if you would like just mail me were to send.

  • Jesse

    Wow, I’m out of the loop! I was just browsing through your “inspiration” tab looking at all the pics when I ran across the picture of you proposing to your girl friend. Love it! Congrats man! “He who finds a wife finds a good thing
    and obtains favor from the Lord” (proverbs 18:22)

  • Lars Madsen

    Hi Andrew – super tutorial. I learned some great things from it – especially the weight painting effect on particle systems will come in handy. Also I think it is great how you emphasize the importance of considering the story you want to tell when you add element into your scene – can’t be said enough I guess!

    Keep up the great work – it is really appreciated.

  • OJ

    Hi Andrew!

    Great tutorial as always. I think the reason why you have repeating graffiti is that in your second UV map, you only map the faces you want the graffiti on, but the remainder of the faces also get mapped by Blender, even though you don’t see them when you are making your UV map. They are still there though, and because your graffiti texture repeats itself, the rest of the “Graffiti” UV map also gets the texture applied. Or put differently: a texture when doing UV mapping is applied to ALL of the mesh in question, not just the faces you chose in your UV map.

    The solution (at least, what worked for me), was to chose ALL the faces of the mesh, map the faces you really want to have the graffiti on like you did, but then take all the *other* faces, scale them down to a tiny size, and leave them on the transparent area outside of the graffiti paint. That solved it for me at least :)

    OJ

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001783816103 Carlos Eduardo

    O melhor Site do Milênio!

  • http://www.facebook.com/akramnihan Akram Iebna Bashar Nihan

    wow this is cool

  • http://www.facebook.com/ForeverCasey Casey Jones

    I had to go without a character because mine keeps rendering pink and I had to redo all of the posters and things on the corkboard. Any suggestions why?

  • irokrhus

    can someone tell me a short cut to render only a chosen part of a camera view or image

  • http://cgsiino.daportfolio.com/ Carlos Garcia Siino

    I’m relatively new to Blender though I do have some experience working in 3D (used to work a lot in Maya), I thought I’d create my own version following the tips from your tutorial. The only thing I couldn’t add was the Ivy because for some reason Blender crashes every time I use it.
    This was my result:

    • Ian

      the scene scared me, great job

  • wirescarl0s

    hi … ‘m Brazilian traduçao to what I’m writing I did in google kkkkk

    and would very much like you, (if not bothering).
    that you could do a tutorial on how to make a swamp
    with many different trees and that muddy water .
    thank you I hope this is not asking for much
    falew until more

  • bohlinghaus

    You can do volumetric lighting with Luxrender. That is my biggest beef with Cycles and why I still use Lux.

  • mark

    pls reupload not on youtube

  • Abid Hasan

    Hello I’m very new in blender . I have watched some of your tutorial and tried to complete them . But i’m very interested in charecter modeling and give them realistic look . it would be very helpful for me if You post some very cool charecter and animation of the charecter . I am very interested for creating some character for game or open movie . Please post some tutorial on character modeling.