Calm Before The Storm

  • June 25, 2012
  • Blender 2.6x
  • Render: Blender Internal
  • Creator: BMF
  • License: CC-0
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This blend file will be about 15MB. That's large, but there is a lot going in in the scene.

The image of the scene to the right may seem a bit dark, but it's because it supposed to be a lake scene just before a storm breaks in late afternoon. Trust me, the Blender render will look better and you can play with the compositor or an image editor to adjust the contrast and brightness to suit your own tastes.

I think this turned out much better than I had originally expected. I may modify this to experiment with dynamic paint to see if I can capture the actual rain in a realistic way.

This scene is loosely based on Andrew Price's tutorial for a lake scene. However, it's been heavily modified and customized.

I liked Andrew's juxtaposition between small grasses and thick reeds in the distant, but I wanted to make it more dramatic. I added Cattails and emphasised the "S" shape of the image so that the eye is naturally attacted to the right side of the image and then follows the subtle "S" through the cattails and reeds to the treeline beyond. Simultaneousely, the eye perceives the cattails and reeds to be more realistic than they really are.

The alpha image of a treeline is from his Nature Pack for those who purchased the Nature Academy.

The grasses are from Andrew's Nature Pack / Nature Academy as well.

The image of the sky is a copyright free image.

The seamless tile images for the lake shore mud and the rock are also copyright free.

Everything else is modeled by me.

This scene had several objectives:

  1. I wanted to experiment with the background atmospherics. It is a combination of the Mist settings in the World Tab and enhancing that atmospheric with a spot light using the "halo" and "blend" options to fake the volumetrics from the reeds in the center of the scene back to the treeline.

  2. I was looking for an atmosphere of a lake just before a storm. The lighting is subdued, everything seems darker and greener than normal, the water is becoming choppy, and the haze in the background grows thicker as the wind kicks up the spray from the lake and the low clouds begin to roll in.

  3. I spent most of the time on this model trying to get the lighting to create the atmosphere I wanted. There is a low level Main Sun, Sun for a blue back fill, and a spot light with the halo option to fake the volumetric haze.

  4. I continued trying to improve my mist/haze effects. My first attempt using the Mist was in my Sand Landscape scene (my second model). Next, I tried to improve on it a bit in my Realistic Grass Field model. I improved. on the mist even more in my Beach Scene. Now I've combined the Mist option with the spot light blended halo

and I think it turned out very realistically. I also added texture to the mist by clicking on the Texture Tab while in the World Tab. It's a bit tricky to get it to work right, but you can add the appearance of more depth to the Mist by adding a Cloud testure and adjusting the brightness/contrast . If you look closely, you will notice that the Mist in the lake scene is not uniform. It's subtle and not readily apparent, but that's the way it's supposed to be.

As always, there are no restrictions on any of the objects or images in my models. It's just a hobby for me.


  • Dread Knight profile picture
    Dread Knight

    Preview looks awesome. Might turn this into another combat location for

    Written June 26, 2012
  • elvetos profile picture

    Wonderful! ... and the rendertime is incredibly short. This one should also get the quality stamp "staff pick"...!

    Written June 26, 2012
  • NARRR profile picture


    Written July 23, 2012
  • NARRR profile picture


    Written July 23, 2012
  • AndrewBlanton profile picture

    Can someone maybe give me a link to some simple animation videos. I would like to create a nice lakefront scene but have been unable to find a beginner tutorial.

    Written November 16, 2015