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Newbie fancying trying some scenic modelling

I would like to try my hand at creating some scenic modelling. Some landscapes with maybe the smallest amount of motion.
For example, maybe a Jurassic Park type landscape with some trees moving/rustling with a the sound of a T-Rex in the background, or a Star Wars galactic scene with the odd spacecraft whizzing by and the sound of lasers shouting away. As I grow confident, I would like to expand these short clips in something longer, or maybe loop the same clip.

I am a complete newbie so I would like some help being put in the right direction. To achieve what I am hoping to do, do I require different types of software or would a 3D modelling software be sufficient?
I've come across articles that mention 3D Concept, Photoshop, Blender, Final Cut Pro, After Effects. I'm just wondering what the recommendation would be. I hear Blender is very good and it's free - which is a bonus.

As for the training, could anyone suggest some training videos. For example, Udemy have some courses but I'm not sure if they would be relevant for my aim (I think they would be, though). Does anyone recommend one of these?

Finally, the computer I have is a DELL Inspiron 15 5567 Core i7-7500U @ 2.7Ghz with 16Gb DDR4 RAM and a Radeon 7 2Gb RAM GPU. Is this powerful enough to handle the suggested software?  I'd rather not pay out for a another computer. This is just something for me to dabble in so I'm hoping my computer is sufficient and that Blender, being free, is just the ticket??

Finally, I've been reading of people's artwork being stolen (re-used without permission). I'm guessing not, but couldn't someone just embed a logo/motif into the artwork, during development phase, that couldn't be removed, to ensure the artwork couldn't be reused by someone else without the original author's log appearing?

Thank you very much in advance.


  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J godlike master sticky
    Unreal plus free megascans that you can get with it will get you a good part of the way. If you want to make custom assets blender will do. Eventually you might look at speedtree but there is enough free/cheap stuff already on the epic store no sense getting a subscription off the bat.

    unreal will have less learning curve versus rendering stuff like this in a 3d app, plus its realtime so your computers hardware wont be as much of a factor.

    the unreal website has tons of great learning content.

    check out the epic store for nature packages - you can probably get shaders that will give you wind animations for free. Some day you might want to do stuff like that yourself but if you just wanna be level designer you can do that without having to make every little thing.
  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    "would a 3D modelling software be sufficient?"

    Your post is filled with references to 3d modeling software and fancy hardware ; yet your target seems to be more along the lines of movie shots. Just because Unreal allows you to make a full 3d scene doesn't mean that you have to. Similarly, just because Megascans allows you to source a 500mb scanned rock asset doesn't mean that a mere JPG can't do the same job.

    Look for content by the Gnomon workshop back to 5 to 10 years ago, as all this has been possible to achieve with rudimentary tech since forever.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J godlike master sticky
    From teh description this is what I had in mind: 

    Lago di Braies, Italy by caves rd (itch.io)

    Matte painting is super cool too. I dont know a lot about it but I do see four different programs required there, so I imagine each approach has it's own pro's and cons. My thinking was that doing it with 3d and mostly using premade content would be easier for a noob to get into and not require as much art skill development. You can just skip straight to the composition and world building part which is what I imagine OP was after.

    Also note that if you were using 3d models to compose a landscape scene, you don't need the heavier LOD0 items. You could use the LOD8 or billboards. In fact I have a few Maxtree packages which are extremely heavy trees, but I spent a day turning each into billboards which I then use in different game projects. But megascans offers billboards and lighter LOD's for free.

    Just making a point that you can do it cheap and fast the 3d way too. (relative terms here. Big learning curve no matter what so dont expect to accomplish your goal in one week)
  • oo19s
    Thanks @Alex_J and @pior for your responses.

    Being a complete novice I do get confused with all the different packages (Blender, 3DS Max, etc..) and which is relevant to what. I do intend to complete a course which, no doubt, will enhance my knowledge greatly, its just I didn't want to embark on the wrong course for me. I'm not looking to create videos games, or running characters. I would simply to create some magical environments that have some slight motion and sound.

    When I read forums, I get the impression that a powerful computer is needed but maybe this is for rendering, which I don't need to do for my aim.

    I will have a look at Unreal. I see there are courses on the subject. Again, I just need to understand which software is most suitable and then choose a course.

    Through looking at thegnomonworkshop I see they use additional software.
    I'm gathering Blender, 3D Concept, 3DS Max, Maya do the same thing.

    Just to help me out, which software is free and doesn't have any usability restrictions?  I think Blender, for one.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J godlike master sticky
    Blender is free. Unreal is also free. There is free alternatives to photoshop but I dont know what they are called. 

    Blender can also do offline and realtime rendering, so in that case you could probably do without Unreal. Unreal is just nice because it comes with lots of free content you could use to get a jumpstart. (like skyboxes, wind and water animated materials, etc)

    If money is a thing I think it makes sense to see how far you can get with just what you can use for free, though it does seem like Piors suggestion would be the ideal way to realize your goal.

    Blender is a 3d DCC. That means it can model, rig, animate, render. Thats where you would do most of your work.
    Unreal is a game engine. it can render for you but the main reason i suggest is because it comes with a lot of great, free, time saving materials. 
    You will need some sort of image editing software. Photoshop is the gold standard but I think the alternatives are fine as well for non-professionals.
    Be sure to check out the wiki on this site. It has lots of great introductory explanations and links to further reading.

  • oo19s
    @Alex_J -  I didn't see your second post as I was typing my first response. Thanks for your second and third posts. They are most helpful.
    Your 'Italy by caves' link is fantastic. Yes, it is something I'd like to attempt but with the addition of moving leaves and running rivers.
    I think a free alternative to Photoshop is Shotcut. I may try that.
    Okay, I think Blender for the modelling, Unreal for the materials, and Shortcut for the editing - if I had the choice. I've seen courses that use Blender and Unreal so I guess I'll follow whatever editing software they go with.

    Added: Just researching further. I've found a lovely Blender environment of a bridge with flickering lanterns on it, with a glistening river running underneath. It looked like it was coming a li It is something like this that I would like to create. Should I be focusing on 'Blender environment' and opposed to other types of Blender models (i.e. cars, machines, characters, etc..)?

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