NOTE: The oiginal Blend file did not have the textures packed. I've uploaded a new Blend file that I tested to ensure the textures were indeed packed. If you downloaded this file prior to 3:50 pm Eastern Time (USA), July 13, 2012 then you should download it again for the textures. I apologize for the inconvenience.
This is another of my nature scenes.
I should note that on my several year old desktop computer, this takes about 50 seconds to render. However, I have a multi-core processor and a lot of RAM. On older computers, expect longer render times.
You can cut down render times by turning off AO and Evironmental Lighting in the world tab. It will look a bit different, but not too bad.
There are nine image textures / stencils and one normal map.
All models in the scene were created by me. All images are either created by me or are free of copyrights.
The objective of this effort was to recreate a childhood memory when I lived on a farm in rural Missouri. I can still remember the smell of the Milkweed and thistles and the dozens of other smells of a country farm.
I think the main tree could have been more realistic but at the cost of many more megabytes and the file was growing fairly large as is.
There are a couple of things you might note. The birds are just a quick 20 minute box modeling effort with some basic materials. The main tree, the tree in the right background, and the dead tree in the background are all models from the sapling add-on. The dead tree trunk on the right is cylinder with some sculpting and procedural textures. The ivy on the dead tree trunk is from the ivy add-on. I spent some time on the two puddles in the road ruts to create a realisic effect. They are a combination of transparency, procedural materials, and mirror. The transparency was to allow the puddles to transition into the ground materials and allow the rut materials to show through to add some realism.
With regard to using the sapling and ivy add-ons, I found that in a large scene like this they cause Blender to crash just about everytime I tried to use them. I found that it is much quicker to model the trees and ivy as separate blend files and then append them into the main scene. For the ivy, I first append the object that I want to put ivy on and then append the model with the ivy back into my scene. Neither sapling nor the ivy add-on crashed and I was able to work much faster.
The main ground material is a seamless image with particle weeds and thistles added.
I created a height map for the displacement of the ruts in the road and I used a stencil to limit the rut texture and normal map.
Speaking of height maps, before I began to model the terrain for this scene, I created a height map in Photoshop by simply conture coloring the design I wanted from light gray for the highest ground down to dark grays for the low ground. I then painted in the road so that it would come out level when I applied the map in Blender. I then used the map to displace a plane that I had subdivided and subsurfaced. I only then needed to apply the basic terrain and then make some tweaks to get the exact look I wanted. The moral of this story is that I saved myself a lot of time by making the height map and then only needing to make some minor tweaks using proportional editing.
The mist in the background is from the mist option with a texture added to make the mist less uniform. I've seen a lot of comments on Blender forums about the mist capability not being realistic. I admit that it is tricky to use, but in my opinion, I think I've gotten realistic results using it. In future versions of Blender, I'd like to have more control, but once you get used to it, I think it works fairly well.
The treelines in the background are just alpha images I created in Photoshop from copyright free images. The sky is one of the many copyright free sky images I've collected when I was more involved with Photoshop.
There is not much compositing. There is a Depth of Field to blur the background a bit, an RGB curve for contrast, and a very subtle vignette around the image.
The fence wire could be more convincing. Anyone know how to make barbed wire fence strands?
I was going to model a deer for the left side of the scene, but I decided this was enough and I wanted to move on to something new.
As with all of my previous scenes and models, I offer everthing within the blender file free for you to use however you like without any need to credit. Claim them as your own if you like. Hopefully some of the models will save time and effort in creating your future scenes.
Criticisms welcomed. I only started using Blender in January and it competes with my day job so my learning progress is slow.