How do you create a desert scene with blended horizon line?


Hi, I’m looking into creating a desert environment for feature animation much like how they did on Oscar’s oasis. Here’s some refs

I’m thinking they just created a large plane and added a sky dome and a mountain backdrop on a cylinder shape.
But I’m not really sure how they blended in the ground with the backdrop. In my tests all I have is a sharp transition from the ground surface to the mountain environment.


you can use Depth of Field or if you want to go old-school, apply Vertex Alpha to the end of the ground plane to fade it into the backdrop.


ok, thanks. I’ll look into that


Some of this will also be adding distance fog that pushes your colors toward the background color in the distance


ok, cool. I’m slowly setting up a very simple scene now, populating it, but I want to keep it stylistic. kinda like this style

Should I tackle this the same way you would a character. IE. high poly modeling/sculpting, split up the UV in multiple tiles and paint it uniquely for each tile in a painting app so there’s no seams.


for a large expanse of desert scenery I would start with tiling textures and a layered material.


Thanks rgkovach123 and Theodox!
I had textures at first, but even when plugging them in to a fractal network so their layout would be less predictable, tiling was still apparent from when zooming out. I went with 4 procedural textures instead, but when I tried to add another mask for road, it doesn’t show up in render =/

Also plugged in a cloud texture for the bump map.
I’m still interested in sculpting details and painting realistic textures in mudbox and then split it up in(I dont know, 30-40) texture tiles. Is this something you do for feature film work? And what about rendering time?

The environment is 1x1 km.
If I split it up in 6x6 squares, i.e. 36 squares each square will be around 16 m. Would this be sufficient for like a 4096px texture?

I’ve been looking into script to populate my scene. What I’ve done til now is just created locators, positioned in xz(from top view) copied and repeated for the whole terrain. then selected all locators and ran xyShrinkWrap with the terrain. Then with a loop, duplicated and moved my plants to the selected locators.

I know I must use instancing, so I’ll look into that next. I’ve heard good things about Carbon Scatter, so I might try that one.

In the mean time, here’s my progress.


Here’s the scene file if anyone wants to take a look.


You may want to look into Maya’s Xgen features. It is designed to make it easy to instance geometry for rendering purposes.


Oh, sorry, did I leave that one out. I meant to add that I tried xgen, but couldn’t work out the scatter slider so I’d either get to many plants or none. Might be I’m modeling in cm 1:1 and xgen needs to work with smaller scale?

EDIT: Had some help on xgen and understand it better now so the issues I was having is now solved. But, it’s a bit buggy and crashes on me from time to time.
Will probably use it nevertheless. It’s pretty cool :slight_smile:


Just wanted to update before going to bed. I forgot to check “use luminance” in the road mask texture. Everything renders fine now and I tweaked the colors a bit. I’ll just need to add a better bump map. Maya doesn’t seem to come with a procedural that would work well for round bumpy pebbles. Feels like fail to bring in an image file.
I’ll post my updates tomorrow.


[QUOTE=TheDagNode;26353]Here’s the scene file if anyone wants to take a look.[/QUOTE]

thanks for sharing the examples