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Newbie needing some help on the software to create ambience scenes


I watch a lot of ambience videos on YouTube. Videos with scenes like the following:
--Scenes of 17th century cottage room with a log fire flickering away and raining hitting the window, of course with sound effects from the fire and rain.
--In the middle of a forest with tree leaves blowing in the wind and rain falling down hitting a lake, again with the wind and rain sound affects.

I would like to have a go and create a scene myself but I would like your advice on the software(s) to create such a scene.

I've dabbled with Blender, creating the famous 'doughnut' visual, however I find Blender quite complex, I guess it would be due to it being industrial software. I wonder if there is software that is better suited to my particular aim and much easier to learn. I imagine Blender is, to me, as complicated as it is due to the sheer volume of capability it has, but I only want to create a static scene with rain/wind/fire sound/movements.

This would be a hobby and I'm not looking to enter the 3D employment world - hence seeking software that quick/easier but meets my needs. It's just a bit of fun.

I do aim to upload it to YouTube myself and seek feedback and to know if it was enjoyed. Who knows, if this takes off I may get monetized.

I would prefer to not have to create, from scratch, the trees, leaves, chairs, windows, colourings, textures, etc... I guess I'm looking for software(s) where all the objects have already been created, a vast selection of them anyway, and I just bring them in, position them, resize them, recolour them, to create my scene.

Please can you recommend suitable software(s), maybe I need one piece of software to create the scene but other software to create the movement/sound effects?

Free for commercial use would be a plus (to protect me if the videos get monetized) but if there is easier, suitable software that does cost a little (so it's fairly cheap still) but the reduced effort of that software outweighs the free but more complex Blender software then this would be fine.

If anyone has suggestions or can point me to a particular video that shows how to do create my scenes, with the suggested software, it will be much appreciated??  I've been watching Udemy videos on Blender to date, but I feel alternative software would be more enjoyable.
Thanks in advance.


  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero quad damage
    I guess you need game engine and few packs of models + composite software to add the music/FX to the animation loop
    - game engines are free *
    - models both free and paid depends what you need
    - composite software I guess you have to find a free one as for something simple like this no fancy functionality are required most will be able to handle

  • oo19s
    Thanks for your reply.
    I'm wondering if I have to create the windows, sofa/chairs, fireplace, or if there is a good resource to get these from pre-made.
    The animation part I speak of is the the snow, rain, fire (and their noises).
  • Eric Chadwick
    There are tons of pre-made models and scenes, which you could combine with nice lighting and your own effects. Just check out the asset stores for Unreal or Unity.
  • Eric Chadwick
  • oo19s
    Hi again,
    I've been investigating some more into what I'd like to create and I'm still confused. It seems the more I read into it the more I'm lost.
    What I'm looking to find is a course (video course rather than textual) to teach me, from scratch, how to create the type of ambient videos I've linked in the earlier post. I've mentioned I find Blender too complicated for my hobbyist use, however it seems a lot of the ambient content makers use Blender to create the architecture, and some often use Blender to create the objects too (i.e. chairs, clocks, etc.. - I think the professional term is 'models' and 'assets'). Some use Unreal to use pre-made objects and some use Unity. The use of PhotoShop, After Effects, and Premiere Pro is used too (why are these used)?
    I've looked into Daz 3D, Sketchup, VRAY, Lumion, etc...  I'm utterly confused.

    The software has to be free for commercial use as I would like to upload my work to YT and if I'm monetized, somehow, I don't want to be in trouble for using software in a commercial manner.
    I appreciate I may need to use a 3D modelling tool to build the architecture and even some models but it would be nice to use models pre-made as they'll save me a lot of time (and stress).
    I would like the fire and rain animated - can this be done in Blender and/or Unreal, for example.
  • Eric Chadwick
    To be honest, it's a pretty complicated process to create a 3d scene that looks good.

    There is no plug-n-play.

    People spend years perfecting their skills to make appealing renders.

    Don't get discouraged though. Just do like everyone else does in learning how to do this, and go one step at a time. Start small, making single assets. Learn the steps.

    Just like any skill, it takes time and dedication.

    This is a great read on the 3d learning process, from a seasoned professional who has been through it all.

    The Death of Curiosity
  • carvuliero
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    carvuliero quad damage
    If you dont wont to model anything find free modular scene and start playing with it its like lego blocks[example below] and if you need custom models there are asset stores or pre made library with models both free and payed. Unreal engine has free project with bunch of stuff inside that you could use to learn how to use the software maybe even create what you want Install UE and download them for free
    Also UE has particle system that could do fire rain or what ever else effects you can imagine but you have to learn how to use the software
    Blender is all rounder 3d software that is free and of lately is getting better then the heavy hitters that;s  why people are using it , pretty much only limit is your imagination of what can be done , the other software and plug ins are specialized for various uses like photo editing video editing rendering and so on
    Just for example looking for wooden cottage 3d model after 20 sec i was able to find this thing completely free model that you could add furniture and decorate to your liking then add the particle effects render a small loop animation add music and sound fx and you done

  • FrankPolygon
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    FrankPolygon insane polycounter
    Have to agree with Eric about the complexity of trying to start by doing this all in 3D and looking into simpler solutions like the cinemagraph workflow. The example videos are all static camera, single image backgrounds with looping animation overlays and audio effects. Most of this is fairly straightforward video editing work that can be done with Adobe's video production suite and stock content.

    A simpler workflow for this kind of content would be to start by finding a background (image or video) from a stock service (Unsplash and Pexels are no-cost crowd sourced options.) then load it into After Effects and create looping animations using objects clipped out of other images, sections of the background or various particle effects like rain, fog, snow, fire, etc. There's a massive amount of After Effects tutorials on YouTube so it should be fairly easy to find out how to create whatever effect overlay is needed for a project.

    After the looping background animations are created the whole After Effects project can be imported directly into Premiere for assembly, color grading and adding audio tracks. Fill up the timeline to the desired length by duplicating the clip of the background and add an adjustment layer above it to hold the final color grade using the controls in the lumetri panel.

    Next find some stock audio assets (YouTube audio library has music and sound effects.) and load the music into Audition. Use the Remix feature to automatically create a looping track that runs for the desired duration of the video. Send this audio file over to Premiere and place it on the timeline. Create any looping background sound effects and load them onto their own layers. Sprinkle in some additional sound effects to break up the monotony and enhance the pacing. Adjust the audio levels for each track so there's a subtle mix and no single sound is overpowering the rest of the audio.

    That's all there is to it really. There's so many options for stock content now that it's possible to find photos and videos of just about any type of object or scene. Compositing multiple 2D assets to create a background image is probably a lot more approachable than creating, lighting and rendering a similar scene in 3D. For something like this, where there's very limited camera movement and simple VFX overlays, creating the entire scene in 3D really only makes sense for very specific stylistic reasons or concepts that would be impossible or cost prohibitive to do with simpler effects that can be done in-camera or with cheaper 2D composites.

    If the end goal is to focus on creating ambience videos then it probably makes sense to streamline the workflow as much as possible by using stock assets and 2D composites. For more complex backgrounds that absolutely require 3D work it may make more sense to just outsource it as a project with a one time payment or by finding an environment artist that would be willing to partner with you.

    It's one of those things where it makes a lot of sense to start by finding the minimum viable product and building up from there. The scenes mentioned in the first post could be created with a minimal amount of complexity by finding stock video of the locations to create a basic video loop for the background then adding the music and foley.

    Most of the mood cues will come from the color grade and sound mixing but it's also possible to create composite backgrounds and layer additional effects for added immersion. All of the visuals for this can be done with some simple 2D composites and some very basic VFX work in After Effects.

    No need to over complicate things, much easier to start small and work up from there. After doing a couple basic ambiance videos with 2D composites it should clear whether or not having 3D backgrounds is important for what you want to create. From there you can decide if learning 3D so you can do it on your own or paying someone else to do it for you makes more sense.

    Additional resources:

    One of the channels, who's ambiance video was used as an example, has a behind the scenes video showing how they use basic compositing processes to build up their animated backgrounds.

    A bit of basic compositing work can be used to turn a single still image into a small scene with some movement.

    Cinemagraph workflows can be used to create looping animations from videos that can be used as part of the background composite.

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