Early Morning on a Country Road

  • July 13, 2012
  • Blender 2.6x
  • Render: Blender Internal
  • Creator: BMF
  • License: CC-0
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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.


  • daren profile picture

    No textures are included.

    Written July 13, 2012
  • BMF profile picture

    Thanks for the catch. See my comment. You can download the packed file now.

    Written July 13, 2012
  • BMF profile picture

    As DX3_1979 pointed out, the textures were missing in the Blend file. I'm not sure what happened but my guess is that I tested the unpacking to ensure that all the textures were saved to the textures folder and then forgot to repack the textures before uploading.

    In any event, there is a new Blend file with the textures packed.

    If you downloaded the file before this comment was posted, you will need to redownload. I apologize for any inconvenience.


    Written July 13, 2012
  • daren profile picture

    Wow -- that is beautiful! going to study this for sure

    Written July 13, 2012
  • sizzler profile picture

    This reminds me of one of my Mom's pictures that she painted many years ago...I love it.

    Written July 14, 2012
  • BMF profile picture

    Sizzler, You made my day.

    Written July 14, 2012
  • Fax profile picture

    Really really nice work, thank you very much for selflessly providing this to us :) I've used it on my BlenderCookie tutorial on basic photograpy skills, I hope you like how Sintel fits in nicely in the environment you created!

    Written August 22, 2012
  • Fax profile picture

    Um, of course, I should have linked to it: http://cgcookie.com/blender/2012/08/21/blender-photography-tips-01/

    Written August 22, 2012
  • BMF profile picture

    FAX Yeah, I recognized the background. But I gave it away to anyone who wanted to use it for any purpose, so there was no need or obligation to link to it or give credit.

    When I say you can do what you like with it, I mean do what you like.

    By the way, that was a nice tutorial you did for CGCookie. I'd like to do tutorials some day, but I'm not that good and I don't have the equipment for a first class tutorial. That and I have a day job that gets in the way of modelling.

    I'm appreciative that you used my model.

    Take care.

    Written August 23, 2012
  • mofx profile picture

    @BMF, I would say you are certainly good enough to do tutorials.

    Written August 24, 2012
  • mramshaw profile picture

    FAX made a pretty good tutorial, I left some comments about it on Vimeo.

    Take it as a compliment! CC0 or not, honest people give credit where it is due.

    Also, since he is using it 'not as intended' he shows up some low-poly stuff on the tree (hexagonal leaves, some mapping problems with the bark) but I played with this belnd quite a bit after downloading it some time ago and couldn't see much to say or change about it. But also he won't wish to be blamed for these!

    Umm, also you wrote a tutorial, I downloaded it a few days ago and am looking forward to trying it out ... thank for this by the way, I have known of both Google Earth as well as MicroDEM for years but had never thought of applying them to Blender!

    Written August 24, 2012
  • Fax profile picture

    BMF Oh absolutely, I did read what you wrote concerning the licensing but I still wanted to give credit! Unless you actually did not want to be credited at all, in which case I must apologize... :)

    Martin did come up with a possible selfish reason though! LOL but no, really just wanted to give credit. By the way thanks for the comments over at Vimeo Martin, I just responded!

    Written August 24, 2012
  • BMF profile picture

    @Martin I know that the tree in the background is not realistic. I think I so noted in my description.

    But I thought it was far enough in the background to just use generic materials and textures instead of images for the leaves (frankly I can't remember what I used). And the Sapling add-in isn't for close up renders, in my opinion, unless I make major modifications to the trunk and leaves.

    WRT my tutorial, I'm an avid historian for Civil War and Colonial American history. Also I'm a student of WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and the war in which I fought as a 2nd Lt (U.S. Marine Corps) in Vietnam (notice that my GoogleEarth example is in Vietnam and it happens to be the area in which I operated as a 2nd Lt).

    I've downloaded and produced many historical terrains for each era. One of my goals in Blend is to some day be good enough to create historical "diaramas" that accurately depicte historical events. Howeve, for now, I'm not good at creating people.

    I'm considering the reconstruction of Jamestown, VA from existing records with the actual terrain. The problem for now is that highly detailed terrain data for Jamestown is not publically available and the low resolutions data available is only barely sufficient in detail.

    Finally, I don't mind people giving me credit. But CC0 doesn't require it. This is just a hobby for me and if anyone can use my work privately or commercially, that is payment enough for me.

    Take care. Thanks for the complements.


    Written August 26, 2012
  • ronigavsh profile picture

    Thank you, I like it.

    Written September 12, 2012
  • CypherBeta profile picture

    A thought based on what you said previously in the comments here....

    What if you made a few different trees using the curve tool, placed a particle emitter (on a different layer, obviously to reduce lag) and then used the particle emitter on the tree group?

    This would increase render times by a lot, but I think it could add another degree of realism to it. I have a pretty newish machine with multi-core procs and a decent amount of RAM, and I can handle around 400 saplings in the scene without a considerable amount of lag. Could be worth a shot. :P

    Written November 26, 2012
  • BMF profile picture

    Thanks for the tip. I've seen several examples of what you describe that give good results and I have a bit more experience now.

    I may update a couple of my blends to make them more efficient and realistic and perhaps morph them into a new scene or season.

    Thanks again.

    Written November 26, 2012
  • JMaines profile picture

    Cool screenshot. I will check out the actual scene file later. Just wanted to pop in and say hello, I guess. :)

    Written June 11, 2013
  • BMF profile picture

    Thanks for the comment.

    I'm one of those Blender users who likes to try to convey a story or evoke and emotion with my scenes. I like this scene because it reminds me of when I was a kid who lived in a very rural area of Missouri. I'd walk down these dirt roads with the smells of the woods and grass as the birds glided above.

    I'm not satisfied with the tree on the left of the road. It doesn't look realistic and I'm considering updating this scene with several improvements that I've learned since I posted it.

    Anyway, thanks again.

    Written July 05, 2013
  • 11 profile picture

    Very Nice!!!!

    Written May 10, 2014
  • BMF profile picture


    Thanks for the comment.

    I was pleased with the overall result, but the tree in the center doesn't look right because I wasn't very good modeling trees at the time. However, I'm much better now modeling and texturing trees so I might update the scene with a more realistic tree when I'm finished with my current project.

    Take care

    Written May 10, 2014
  • Yogi86288 profile picture

    wonderful,i wish if i could creat such wonderful scene using blender

    Written January 19, 2015
  • BMF profile picture

    You can. But you have to be willing to practice and experiment with weight painting, the particle system, and textures. Also don't spend time modeling things that are just in the background. In this scene all of the woods in the background are nothing more than several images arranged to look like a tree line. There are only three trees in the scene that are meshes.

    And you don't have to start from scratch to begin to learn Blender. Take this scene, remove all of the textures and the particle system and practice by retexturing it into your own vision of what the country road would look like.

    When I first started using Blender I found it to be a bewildering chaos of buttons, sliders, etc. that had an even more bewildering combinations in which they could be used. But little by little, you begin to understand how to use the Blender tools and functions.

    I don't know if it ever gets easy. I'm a better modeler now than when I created the country road, but I'm still learning new things, better ways to model, and I'm becoming more efficient and effective with textures.

    Follow along with tutorials, pick something easy to model at first so you learn the basics, but as you begin to progress always try to model and/or texture projects that are beyond your current skills. It will force you to think about how you can accomplish things you've never tried before, and you will make significant steps towards becoming the artist you would like to be.

    Don't get discouraged. Practice. Learn in small steps. And remember that everyone has been perplexed by Blender when they first started.

    Take care and happy blending, BMF

    Written January 20, 2015
  • SabrinaStalker profile picture

    Can this be used for games?

    Never mind I just read CC

    Thanks so much for sharing

    Written November 12, 2015
  • Guede profile picture

    very nice

    Written November 29, 2020
  • Monique66 profile picture

    Incredible Looking Scene!! You are VERY kind to offer your artistry to the world.... This scene looks like it belongs in a country song.... Thank you oh so much for sharing.... it is immensely appreciated!! You are obviously very talented....

    Written August 14, 2022