Sand Landscape Staff Pick

  • February 12, 2012
  • Blender 2.6x
  • Render: Blender Internal
  • Creator: BMF
  • License: CC-0
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This is an attempt to create reasonably realistic sand using procedurals.

You can change the colors and the size of the grains in the Material and Texture panels for white sand beaches a range of dark to light sands. Change the size of the sand grains by modifying the Normals setting in the Influence panel. You have to experiment to get the look you want.

The ripples in the sand were created using a public file I had handy with a displacement modifier. In the image, you can see the seams caused by the image I used. You can improve on the ripples by using your own seamless ripple image. Again, my goal was to create realistic sand. Everything else is just there to show it off.

The sand is a combination of what I've learned from 3 tutorials.

The dead trees are just a 5 minute effort using the Sapling add-on.

The grass is just a few faces and some procedural texturing. I didn't take time to create different shapes to use in the Particles panel so it all looks pretty much the same and therefore fake.

The landscape is from using the ANT add-on (Landscape in the Add Mesh" options). Experimenting with the parameters can give you some nice looking dunes and beaches.

I lost count of the number of times I had to start over with Sapling and ANT by accidentally clicking the tree/landscape in the view port causing the Sapling / ANT parameters panels to disappear. Very annoying, but after a number of restarts, I got the hang of it.

I didn't what to take the time to do compositing, so I faked the haze using the World Mist options.

HDR lighting makes this scene look much better, but the HDR files are too large to included in the Blend file. So I only used a Sun for lighting.

If you are in need of sand, you can append the material from this file into your own creations.


  • screenpeakingonu profile picture

    I am literally making asand scene myself at the moment and wonder if you have looked into making a sand storm or blowing sand in the air

    Edited February 12, 2012
  • BMF profile picture

    Whoa! This is only my second attempt at a model of any kind. My first was posted as a Starbucks-like coffee cup (paper) a couple of weeks ago, and my third was just recently posted as a Sugar Maple in fall.

    I don't think I'm ready for sandstorms yet. However, when I used the Mist option in the World settings as a poorman's way of defocusing the horizon, it gave me the impression of blowing sand in the distance.

    However, I've seen a tutorial a month or two ago on swirling leaves and so I would think you could substitute sand particals for the leaves and perhaps create a sandstorm.

    Nevertheless, it sounds like and interesing project and so I may begin researching and experimenting to see what might be possible.

    In the end, I'm sure there are people out there who have already demonstrated the ability to create sandstorms and so perhaps they will chime in with their experiences.

    Good luck with your sand scene.

    Edited February 13, 2012
  • screenpeakingonu profile picture

    I looked into it and found 2 different ways to do it with crazy particle systems (for best quality if done well) and with a cloud (quick but doesn't look as good)

    Edited February 16, 2012
  • BMF profile picture

    Well post your results and let's see what it looks like. Making things like haze, fog, mist (Blender's doesn't do that well with mist), and dust/sand storms is difficult unless you do it with the compositor.

    A realistic render done with particles or cloud would be interesting.

    Written February 17, 2012
  • Narcotic profile picture

    looks epic dude

    Written March 28, 2012
  • Cedaharr44 profile picture

    Where did you get the sand textures?

    Written July 21, 2012
  • BMF profile picture

    Reply to Cedaharr44

    The prodedural textures used for the sand were developed from a combination of tutorials on sand and dirt on the Internet with my own modifications from experimenting.

    I don't recall which tutorials they were, but you should be able to find some by searching "blender, sand, tutorial, materials, procedurals" or something similar.

    Or you can just use my materials and textures and expeirment with changing the scale/size of the grains and colors to get the look you want. You should be able to get a wide variety of sand colors from white beaches to dark desert sands.

    I also use these textures as a basis for creating mud, rubble, etc. on planes that I use for grass particles so that there is more texture to the earth than just making the plane brown.

    Written July 21, 2012
  • ronigavsh profile picture

    Thank you, I like the texture

    Written September 12, 2012
  • ABNIOT profile picture

    guys need an awesome desert scene plz

    Written October 14, 2012
  • BMF profile picture

    I'm working on one now. However, it's competing with my day job so it will be about a week or so before it's finished. I think you might like it.

    Written October 19, 2012
  • djambalawa profile picture

    Hi just a noob question - I try to append the sand material from your blend file to my scene and just get a plain yellow material it seems.. no grain or ripples... so I must be doing something wrong...

    Written November 07, 2012
  • BMF profile picture

    DJAMBALAWA, 1. Select the object to which you want to append the sand material. 2. Go to FILE > APPEND and navigate to the Sandy Landscape blend file and open it. 3. Select the MATERIALS folder and then select SAND 4. When back in your own scene with the object you want the sand material applied, select the MATERIALS tab in the properties section on the right of your screen. 5. Instead of clicking the NEW button, click on the icon to the left of the NEW button, scroll down until you see SAND and click on it. That will append the SAND material and textures to your object. Your object will appear to be a yellow color, but when you render it, you will see the sand grains and colorations. You will need to add your own subsurface modifier, displacement textures, and displacement modifiers to see any ripples (if you used a ripple texture for the displacement.

    Or you can append the SANDY LANDSCAPE object from my blend file and it will import the material, textures, and the displacements as a new ground object which you can then modify. It will also append some of the stalks of grass I added to the original ground as well.

    Hope this helps.

    Written November 07, 2012
  • gneders profile picture

    good work!

    Written August 14, 2013
  • andibluh profile picture

    Thanks a lot!!

    Written September 20, 2013
  • Shantanu profile picture

    Very excellent work Well done.

    Written March 16, 2020