Realistic village hut creation.
I created a timelapse to capture my learning process of creating a scene in Blender. My experience of creating this hut was very up and down, on one hand i thought i got the shape of the building correct, but on another the scene was unoptimised due to the amount of leaves.
The amount of leaves made the render load very large. My computer had to compute all textures and light paths (using the eevee render engine) making blender crash on open. This lead me to buying more RAM for my computer to be able to open the Blender file again. After I could open the file again I had deleted some leaves and made the surrounding ones bigger to fill in the gaps. The file still crashed after this but it was rare, I suppose this was becuase of my VRAM (6GB)
While rendering the animation showing the hut I had used a image sequence render instead of a video incase the program crashed mid way through rendering. If Blender crashes while rendering a video, it will corrupt the video and it wont be able to be opened, however if you render through an image sequence the images can be made and when the program crashes, it will only corrupt the one image. My sequence was 250 frames long, the renderer never crashed for me but if it crashed on frame 100, I could open the file again and start rendering from the 99th frame again which would save a lot of time.
Why were the leaves making the scene unoptimised? I believe this is because the leaves have an opacity layer, so the light rays have a lot of bounces to calculate. If the leaves did not have this, I believe the scene would run very smoothly.
What have I learned while creating this scene?
I had learned a lot about U.V mapping cylinder objects such as the bamboo. At first, I could not figure out how to get the texture to wrap around perfectly where the banboo would be seemless, this was due to the texture not actually being seemless in the first place. I had also learned about quixel mixer, mixing different textures together, blening them with noise maps and solid colours. This software was very helpful in helping me create the ground texture, as this gorund has dirt, rocks and grass. I used a dirt texture with a grass texture, blended them using a noise filter and has a matt brown base blended into it as well. As stated before, I also learned about optimising scenes isn't just about the amount of assets or verticies in the scene, it is also about the lighting and textures. This scene was also the perfect test of how much I have learnt about blender, using the modeling tools, hotkeys and UI navigation. While implementing the quixel mixer made ground texture, I had realised it tiled very badly and made it look very unnatural. To overcome this I had downloaded nodes from Blender Guru and use them to have the texture look less tiled.
What would I change about this scene?
Looking at the scene now, I would say I would create objects like rope and use that to blend between the pieces of bamboo so they dont look stiff and unrealistic at the ends. I would also change the shape of the bamboo more, while creating the hut I could not figure out how to change the shape without if affecting the texture U.V map as well. I would change the ground texture, making it slightly more lighter and making the grass more green. The base texture seemed okay, but with the lighting I had used in Blender, it made the grass out to be clumps of dead grass instead of the clusters of green grass I had meant to create.
Here is the texture I created in quixel mixer. The workflow for creating this is included in the timelapse.