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In this tutorial we'll create a fantastic landscape, that will fit ideally for a book cover. We'll find out how to work with «Displace Modifier», «Sculpt Mode», and also I will describe further image's processing in Gimp 2.4.0. Its recommended to download the .blend file that is in the end of the article.
So, having unpacked the attached .blend file you'll see that only two image-textures were used for creation of our landscape. The first texture – Bump-map for making relief; the second texture – for color.
Let's start with creation of Bump-map. For this we should:
Fire up Gimp by double clicking its icon or running it from the command line.
Create file 1024x1024 with white background.
Then carry out the following actions: Filters >> Render >> Fractal Exrlorer >> Fractals >> Explosive >> Apply >> OK.
We'll invert the received image: Colors >> Invert.
Our image needs some color correction: Colors >> Levels >> Auto >> OK. That's all. The Bump-map is ready :-) (fig.1).
Our Bump-map is ready. We should only assign it to a plane in Blender. For this fire up Blender, change to the top view with «NUM7», add a plane, subdivide it several times (in the attached .blend file the amount of vertices is not sufficient – this is made to reduce the file's size). Let's go to Buttons Window, add material to the plane (Material buttons F5) and add Bump-texture, we should disable the received texture channel (click on the tick) as this texture serves only for creation of relief. With plane still selected select the Editing context (F9) and add necessary Modifier, in our case it is Displase. Hereafter everything is very simply. We should write in the name of our Bump-map in the option «Texture». Look attentively at the name of your texture in the texture channel, you'll see that the name contains not only extension, but «I.» before the name of texture itself (for ex., I.BumpMap.jpg). Now we should edit the value in the option «Strength», fill in this option, for example, -0.2500. Press «Apply», then smooth the received mesh, simply press the button «Set Smooth» in the «Link and Materials» panel. Pay attention, that white parts of Bump-map are stretching upwards, and black parts – downwards; also it is necessary to remember that extruding depends on the normals' direction. We may say that our mesh is ready, but, the tops of mountains are spiky, and something looks flat at all.
To eliminate defects we'll activate Sculpt Mode (fig.2) and we'll see that in the context Editing (F9) two new tabs appeared, «Sculpt» and «Brush».
At first we'll work with options that are situated in the «Sculpt» tab (fig.3). Let's smooth the tops of our mountains. For this we should press the «Smooth» button and set values for options «Size» and «Strength», the size of our brush will be, for example, 50, and strength – 40. If the tool doesn't work swimmingly, the way you would like it to work, it means that the amount of vertices is not sufficient. In «Multires» tag, press the «Apply Multires» button. In our case it is not necessary to apply «Multires» completely.
So, after having smoothed the top of our mountains it is recommended to add some ridges where it is necessary. In the tab «Brush» (fig.4) press on the free texture channel, press «Add New», select the Texture Buttons (F6) to add a texture for our brush.
There's a row of buttons near the «Preview» panel (in the left), activate the «Brush» button and choose the «Noise» texture. Assign the texture and return to the context «Editing» (F9). In the «Sculpt» tab, activate the following buttons: «Draw», «Add» or «Sub» or «Airbrush», set parameters for options «Size» and «Strength» and draw some small exavations on the mesh (fig.5).
The model of the landscape is ready. Only to set parameters for lighting and material left (the settings are in the attached .blend file). As for material settings, I used Ramps (fig.6), procedural texture «Noise» and seamless color image-texture, that you can see having unpacked the .blend file.
Also World, Ambient Occlusion, Mist were added. The mist in our case is used for creation of transparency. To render transparency, but not the mist, we should press the «RGBA» button that is in the «Scene» context (F10) on the «Format» panel, and choose the appropriate format that supports transparency (for ex., .tga). This is made for easy correction and easy replacement of background color. To correct final Render «Node Editor» was used (for details see tutorial «Editing of Objects' Materials and Render Results by Means of Node Editor»). To render color corrections that were made in «Node Editor» I activated the «Do Composite» button (fig.7), that can be found in the «Scene» context (F10) in the «Animation» panel.
The work in Blender editor is completed, but yet another one is waiting for us :-) .
Image's Correction in Gimp (or PhotoShop).
Open the rendered image in Gimp (PhotoShop).
Add new white-colored layer and lower it to bottom.
Copy the layer with our landscape and activate the «Overlay» mode for this layer.
Copy the layer with the landscape again, raise the layer to top and activate the «Dodge» mode, the level of opacity should be 50 for this layer.
Now merge the image.
For better result we can copy the received layer and activate «Burn» mode for our copied layer, the level of opacity approximately – 10 or 24.
If necessary add brightness, contrast.
The fantastic landscape is ready for a book-cover (fig.8, 9). If I managed to make such a picture you'll manage to make it too :-) .
(Mesh with small amount of vertices)
(Mesh with big amount of vertices)