Beach Scene Staff Pick

  • June 19, 2012
  • Blender 2.6x
  • Render: Blender Internal
  • Creator: BMF
  • License: CC-0
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NOTE: I've turned off the visibility of the particle systems because leaving them on slows down navigating the models. Turn them back on if you wish.

This file only has two image textures: the sky and the bump image I used for the beach. Everything else are procedural materials and textures. The bump image for the beach I made from a small selection from an actual photograph of a New England beach. I used Photoshop to increase the resolution and then I used Pattern Studio software to create a seamless tile and the bump image. This scene builds on and improves some of my earlier uploads to BlendSwap. Specifically, it improves on the Sand Landscape, which was a Staff Pick. I adjusted the settings and color of the materials and textures in that file to get the look of beach sand. I also used the same stalk of grass that was in the Sand Landscape blend file, but changed the materials. And I used the same Mist technique.

I think the improvements give the Beach Scene file a much more realisitic look and feel. I created the water using the Ocean Sim modifier. It took considerable experimentation to get the color of the water right and to create a scale that fit the perspective of the rendered image. It turned out much better than I expected--at least in my opinion. If you look closely, you'll notice that the ocean changes color slightly as it gets closer to shore. This is typical as the water becomes more shallow, the water will look somewhat brighter. I achieved the look using a texture color ramp overlayed on a basic material for the Ocean and adjusting the alpha channels in the ramp blend the colors with the basic material. I also used a cloud texture for the Ocean to give it some additional texture and to make the small waves more visible. I made many attempts to get the Foam option in Ocean Sim to give me a realistic look, but the foam option seems to be more appropriate for close ups of the deep ocean. The cloud texture technique worked much better for the results I wanted. I live near the Ocean and just about every day, you will notice that the spray kicked up by the wind creates a haze or mist as you look out toward the horizon. I could have created this effect using the Compositor, but I wanted to see if the Mist option in the World tab could do as well or better. Besides, the mist controls give me a lot of flexibility and it has more of a 3D effect. I think it turned out quite well. The subtle mist you see in the background that begins about half way between the beach and the sky looks exactly like the haze/mist I see on my beach in the late afternoon. Additionally, the Mist option picks up the subtle colors of the sun and sky giving it a good match for the scene.

I modeled three types of Sea Oats in the scene: large and small with seeds and one that has a stalk but no seeds. If you've ever walked a beach with Sea Oats, you'll notice that they grow in isolated groups and that there is always a mix of Sea Oats with and without seeds. While not too evident, the small stalks of grass can be seen growing in between the Sea Oats.

The driftwood is just a quick model that took less than five minutes to create and texture. But I think it balances the scene. It seemed too stark without an object of interest between the foreground and background.

My goal with this model was to create a realistic ocean as seen from a typical New England beach. The scene is rendered with the Blender Internal engine and there are no compositing enhancements.

I'm not opposed to compositing as it can add a lot to a rendered scene. However, I like to see how well I can do with just the models, texturing, and lighting. That, and I'm still a novice and so it forces me to focus on getting the scene as close as possible to what I want and relying less on the compositing enhancements.

I'm very satisfied with the way the scene turned out. I could have made the Sea Oats a little more realistic, but I think they are OK for this particular scene.

The two images are copyright free. You are free to use the models however you like. It's just one of my many hobbies and I don't feel the need for recognition for anything I create. If you can use anything in the Beach Scene, then embrace them as your own and enjoy.

NOTE: I wanted to make realistic waves as the ocean rolls into the beach. I just couldn't make it happen. If you find a way to do that, I would appreciate it if you would post a comment with a detailed descriptions of how you did it. Thanks.


  • formfollowsfunction profile picture

    Really nice work here!

    Edited June 19, 2012
  • MimingApe profile picture

    Very Nice!

    Edited June 19, 2012
  • xy.exe profile picture

    Nice work. I was busy with a similar test scene last night.

    Written June 20, 2012
  • PeeDee76 profile picture

    What an excellent render, plus hats off to you for documenting your thought process on particular choices you made. I look forward to reverse engineering the scene as I'm pretty sure there is an awful lot I can learn from it. Im fairly new(ish) to blender also and majority of my work so far is on single subject matter e.g characters, or stand alone stationary objects. I've been meaning to try do a complete scene, and this will help point me in right direction. Thanks again , all the best. PD Ireland

    Written June 21, 2012
  • BMF profile picture

    Thanks for the kind words. I'm probably just as new to Blender as you are. My first model was in January this year and I had no idea what 10 percent of the buttons and options did.

    I've made many mistakes along the way. Some have been modeling mistakes, but others have been poor choices on the theme. My Sake Set, for example, was a bust.

    My frustration at the moment is that I don't have time to model as much as I would like. Although semi-retired; I run my own consulting business and so I'm lucky if I have a couple hours a week to spend on Blender.

    BMF, Florida, USA

    Written June 21, 2012
  • Dread Knight profile picture
    Dread Knight

    Great job!

    Written June 26, 2012
  • mikerodd profile picture

    Really nice !

    Written August 19, 2012
  • profile picture


    Written August 28, 2012
  • David Norman profile picture
    David Norman

    This is a relaxing blend thank you. I downloaded the old version and I can see you have made many improvements. Both are beautifull.

    Edited November 13, 2012
  • BMF profile picture

    I'd like to thank all those in the Blend Swap community who thought enough to download my beach scene.

    When I created it, I was simply trying to get the look of sand right and to experiment with how the water changes color in the more shallow waters near shore.

    It never occurred to me that more the 1,400 people would down load it and that enough people favored it to put in the top fifty in the most favored category.

    I have be greatly inspired by the work of others in this community and I have learned much from the modeling and texturing techniques of others.

    You have all inspired me to become a better CG modeler and to someday again produce a work that so many people liked.

    But most of all, thanks to all the modelers in Blend Swap who have both inspired and educated me in the very short time I've worked with Blender.

    Written January 01, 2013
  • DevanDiPiero profile picture

    Wow. You are awesome. I had to download this. I love the tranquility. I looked through a bunch of your Blends and read your profile and have to say, you are one very interesting fellow. Your attention to detail is a razors edge. Your love of this as apparent as the Sun and like others said, the way you document your procedures, history and philosophies of a scene are both inspiring and helpful. You must be one smart cookie. :) Thank you oh, wise Blenderhead!

    Written March 28, 2013
  • BMF profile picture

    Thanks for the kind words, but I'm just a novice at this. There are far more talented artists on this and other Blender websites. The blends in my collection are in order of my first model to my most recent. Notice that I began with simple forms like a cup, sand, and a rock.

    The models get better (hopefully) with each project. When I begin a new scene, I always have one or more goals in mind and then just let the scene develop as I go. I prefer to place my primary model in a scene to place it in context.

    The Beach scene began with the goal to create realistic water that had a subtle change in color as it got closer to shore and had a mist on the horizon like the wind kicks up the spray. The beach, plants, drift wood, and the rest were an after thought to put the water in context with its surroundings.

    My job and other hobbies take up a lot of my time, so I don't get to practice Blender as much as I would like. I often find that I've forgotten techniques that I had previously learned. It helps if you can use Blender every day, but for many of us, that's not possible.

    Good luck

    Written March 28, 2013
  • DevanDiPiero profile picture

    A novice with a staff pick! That really says something. I took your advise and am now working on a simple old church interior. Nothing fancy. But I was wondering how you upload your Blends. I tried to upload a character(my first model) but it wouldn't work.

    Written March 28, 2013
  • BMF profile picture

    You have to find your own way in modeling. Whatever works best for you to learn is the right path.

    But when you are just beginning, don't pick a project that is too far beyond your current capabilities or you'll just get frustrated.

    To upload a blend files is easy. First, ensure that you Pack your blend file with any textures you used in your model. With your model open in the view port, click FILE > EXTERNAL DATA > PACK INTO BLEND FILE. This saves all of the textures with the blend file. If you fail to do this, then others will not see any of the textures you used.

    Next RENDER your model and save the image to a jpg or png file. When others download your model, they should be able to open it, press F12 and see the same image you provided with the upload to Blend Swap. There are exceptions: HDR files are very large and usually not packed with the blend file and there are situations where the blend file is too large and you may take some of the background objects our, but make sure you note that in your description.

    Next ZIP your blend file into a ZIP file.

    Now log on to Blend Swap and click on UPLOAD. Read the instructions on the first page carefully and then click on the I ACCEPT THE TERMS button at the bottom of that page.

    That will take you to a second page where you fill in the title, a description, decide which CC license you want to use, add some tags, and at the bottom there is a place to click to add your blend file. Navigate to where you saved it on your computer and click on the blend file.

    The next field is for the rendered image. Do the same thing. Navigate to where you saved the rendered image and click on that file.

    There may be some buttons that I've forgotten, but it's all very straight forward. You should not have any problem loading your models.

    The Blend Swap staff review your model before posting it to the Blend Swap website. They check for quality, appropriateness, and a few other things. They aren't too strict, but they do occasionally decline to post a model. If that happens to you, don't worry. You probably just need a bit more practice.

    Good luck.

    Written March 29, 2013
  • nickbrunner profile picture

    Nice scene, good job

    Written April 07, 2013
  • BMF profile picture

    Thanks for the complement. It started out as a simple project to create realistic water and sand. The scene just evolved as I tried to put the water and sand into context.

    I've seen your blends as well and I have to say that you have real talent.

    Edited April 09, 2013
  • nickbrunner profile picture

    Thank you!

    Written August 09, 2013
  • jambo profile picture

    Great work. I really like the detail that you have in the scene, especially the manner in which the various colours blend into the scene. Thank You.

    Written August 09, 2013
  • BMF profile picture

    I hope you are able to use some of the techniques I used in creating the scene. Personally, I was pleased with the way the water and the mist turned out as well as the sand texture.

    Written August 10, 2013
  • tmp12345 profile picture

    tks guy.

    Written July 22, 2014
  • mirc profile picture

    Thanks for sharing, this is truly a great blend and a teriffic render. Great job! :)

    Written November 23, 2014
  • BMF profile picture

    Glad you like it. I think I may update it to Cycles and make it more realistic.

    Written November 24, 2014
  • RafaelSath profile picture

    Amazing!! thx for sharing this man =] i was trying to do with cycles but no sucess =/

    Written August 22, 2015
  • BMF profile picture

    Sorry for the late reply, but it's been a busy year in my business.

    I will be converting this scene to Cycles sometime this year. In fact, I'll be updating a few of my models done in Blender Internal to Cycles.

    Written January 10, 2016
  • artnyoga profile picture

    Very nice looking ! Out of curiosity do you know would this file work in Poser 3D. I am a new animator and do not really know blender but I have spent a month with poser 3d. Any ways keep enjoying your good work !

    Written May 03, 2016
  • BMF profile picture

    I used to use Poser. There is a way to convert Poser files to a format that can be imported to Blender.

    And you can export blender objects to OBJ format which I believe, but not certain, Poser can import.

    I haven't used Poser for many years, so my memory may be a bit rusty.

    Written March 13, 2017
  • connorwwood profile picture

    i'm going to make a Human on Beach Use make human and bvh motions

    Written March 10, 2017
  • BMF profile picture

    Sounds interesting. Best of luck.

    Written March 13, 2017
  • dladla profile picture

    Awesome work, Thanks so much

    Written March 17, 2017
  • robilua profile picture

    Awesome, saved me some time

    Written March 21, 2019
  • AndyThirtover profile picture

    I really enjoyed working with this scene and made this: as an exercise. I changed the ocean material and extended the beach so that you can see the beach material underneath the closest part of the ocean. I also changed the number of plants. Easy scene to work with -- would enjoy again.

    Written March 03, 2020