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[WIP] Waterfall night time scene. Got some questions

polycounter lvl 2
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Josia polycounter lvl 2
Hi, I'm currently working on this scene and want to make it a Witcher inspired fan trailer that i want to use in my Portfolio. My questions are:

1: At the moment I'm using a Adobe stock loop sequence for the waterfall with a seamless loop. I don't like the direct cut from sky to waterfall how could i improve this? I simply put it on a plane in blender and modified the plane to fit the environment. Is this the right approach? If yes, i will of course buy the version without the watermark so i don't get problems with licencing. 

2: I do not like how the trees are pitch black and you just see the silhouette (they are just placeholders for now and i will add more, add leafs/twigs and make them less cylindrical). Is the lighting right the way it is, or should i add a weak light to make them a bit more visible. I also thought of ways to make them naturally more visible, for example with a small group of Firefly's.

3: For now I made all the models by my self and just used textures from Polyhaven. But I'd like to have to have more detailed models. I would like to do everything myself (HP sculpts in Zbrush, LP models in Blender, textures in Designer and Painter and so on), as I feel that it is not 100% my work when I use scans, but that would be counterproductive. Is it ok if i use scanned models&textures from Quixel bridge or Polyhaven in a portfolio piece?

4: How do you like the overall look of this scene and do you have some ideas and other areas of improvement?

Info: Of course i will add foliage too. The reason why i haven't added any yet is question 3

Here the image again without the scribbling:


  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J godlike master sticky
    On both of my monitors I can see very little. It is almost entirely black.

    It might be worthwhile to work with the scene in grayscale and find a value range that makes for a distinct foreground, midground, and background.

    Just because it is night doesn't mean has to be pitch black. A full moon reflects a lot of light.

    As for using 3rd party textures - you just need to have a clear goal defined for the project. Is there a specific skill you are trying to learn? A specific skill you want to showcase? If you are showing off your composition skills, then using megascans or whatever won't matter. If you are wanting to showcase your texturing skills, then you probably didn't need to make a complete scene and can just focus on showing off your materials in multiple lighting scenarios.
  • Josia
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    Josia polycounter lvl 2
    Thank You for your critique!
    I have already made the scene brighter and put some more assets in.
    When it is finished it will be a short, Witcher inspired teaser clip.
    So the goal of the project is more the story telling than to show my 3D skills, although i want to make the characters and some assets my self.
    Since i have never made something like this, i would be happy for your honest thoughts and tips on what i can improve, so i can reach the best result.
    Here is a render of how the scene looks at the moment:

  • HarlequinWerewolf
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    HarlequinWerewolf interpolator
    I think you should try looking for some solid reference of what you want to aim for. Obviously you won't get the exact scene you want but some images with the kind of lighting you want and some with maybe the vibe you want to emulate. Bring those into a pureref board to sit beside your workspace to see what elements you can push and pull to better match the idea in your mind. 
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J godlike master sticky
    ah i see. if its a cinematic focused on story telling I think its probably better to critique it as a whole, rather than one frame out of context.
    As for hiding the obvious CG plane at the top of the waterfall, rather than try anything fancy I'd probably try something simple first, like just break the line up by placing some rocks there, and then some particle fx (fast moving water splashing against rocks) to add a little noise.
    But I imagine main focus is on characters and setting some mood so I'd want to only think about little details with that higher level focus in back of mind.
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