Hi again all! I'm proud to show my first large-scale environment done in 3rd year at Creative Seeds.
I started this project in November 2022 and finished it in January 2023. The scene contains roughly 20 Million uninstanced polygons, 1.7 million instances and over 100 variations of vegetation and rocks.
For the mountains, I started with doing a rough layout and sculpt in Maya. Then I used a mix of satellite heightmaps, Houdini heightfields and Gaea rock nodes to get the look. For the cliffs, I extracted the steep faces and displaced the mesh in Houdini. It was a very heavy setup and I could have done it more easily, but in the end it worked out fine!
This was my first time matte painting a full sky. It was really challenging to get a cloud formation that respected the lighting, but also didn't distract from the environment. In the end there's nothing super complex but I'm satisfied with what I made.
This whole project was powered with Guerilla render. It's an awesome tool for assembly lookdev and lighting, and it allowed me to keep an interactive viewport even with the final scene.
It's amazing to be able to override any setting on the fly in a completely non-destructive way. I was able to try more things, which is great for creativity. Final render took roughly around 49mins/frame with 2-3 bounces of diffuse, refraction, reflection etc. Thankfully I was able to use my school's render farm :)
As always, thanks to Jean-Michel Bihorel, Jean-François Macé and my classmates for their help. It was not an easy project and I'm glad I managed to push through to the end.