Environment Modelling in Blender

There are several modellers, or maybe I should say ARTISTS, who’s work I admire and follow. One such artist is Rob Tuytel, his style is a little different to most.. His inspiration is the artwork of the old Dutch Masters and how they used lighting. I first found him on You Tube, where he shows examples of his work and gives tutorials. He doesn’t just make “things”, he does big stuff like buildings, both old and new, and sits them in an environment. No empty fields of grass for this guy 😉 This is real environment modelling.

A few years ago he put out an e-book “The Old Masters – unveiled” where he documented his process. At the time I wanted to get it but just didn’t have the time to implement it’s contents. Fast-forwards to this last Xmas and he put out a course on Udemy and I could resist no longer. So I signed up to the course as I have recently being wanting to get a little more serious with Blender.

Creating a 3D environment in Blender

The course starts of with simple stuff like a chair and a bit of fencing but quickly progresses to complete buildings. During the course you will create four buildings, here are mine:

A basic starter building

A basic starter building

A slightly more difficult model

A slightly more difficult model

A change of textures and a roof extension

A change of textures and a roof extension

A yet more complex model

A yet more complex model

As usual click on a picture to see a larger version.

In the early lessons there was some talk about a church and a castle model. They never appeared though Rob will be adding a church later to the course. So I thought I would use what I learnt and have a go:

My church model

My church model

From there he goes on to Nature and the environment. We model grass and weeds and yes we make the empty field of grass. But it is quickly supplemented by adding a pathway, a tree, some rocks and the fence:

My first countryside environment

My first countryside environment

This is where the fun began in earnest using HDRI for environment lighting to give a lot more realistic effect than just using lamps.

Now I am standing at the start of the last chapter where we create a street scene using the models we have made. I will be following along as Rob builds the scene but my real passion lies in Japan and it’s architecture. So I shall be building two scenes, one medieval European and one medieval/feudal Japanese. I have already done some research for the type of buildings. I now have to model them and create a scene layout and story before starting the chapter. We shall see how successful I am at this.

Course Review

So that is the course content and my progress. What’s needed to take the course?  Windows, linux or Mac and a copy of Blender (free). While Rob goes over the basics of Blender this course is about environment modelling not learning Blender. So it will help if you’ve had some exposure to Blender before. I felt that some parts could have been explained better but Rob is Dutch and teaches the course in English. He does lose/misuse the odd word here and there, however it is obvious what he means. Overall he does a great job at it too!

Like any course you have to do some work, in this case, unless you are already a Blender expert. It will stretch you a little but the result is more than worth-while. I can heartily recommend this course if you have any interest in environment modelling. The techniques learnt are transferable to other areas and you end up with some great assets for future projects.

In the meantime, this course has really inspired me to learn Blender properly so I have signed up to another course, this time by Ben Tristem, Learn 3D Modelling – The Complete Blender Creator. It starts with vertices, edges and faces and ends up doing animations. This course leads onto or works in tandem with his other course on Unity 5 a game engine, which is also something I am interested in learning and using.

So that’s been the month of January, I haven’t forgotten TLC-MBC. I’m still working on her but I must admit that Blender has got most of my attention as I am finally getting the kind of results I’ve wanted for a while now.