An image I made for CGBoost's Fatastic Greenhouse challenge, this was the result of about 3 weeks' work. My goal for this project was to produce a 3D render that looked painterly, without doing any actual painting (aside from the unlit albedo textures). All of the lighting in the image comes from the lights themselves. The shaders are fully reactive to light intensity and color, making it extremely easy to art-direct interactively. It's even possible to use vertex color to paint the light into the object. I'm working on implementing vertex color baking in Blender so I can use this technique more freely in the future (this will be my first Blender patch when I finish). The final result of all this work is a scene that can be animated in a rich, toon style.

There are many different kinds of mushrooms in this garden: fly agarics, morels, chantarelles, boletes, earth-stars, enoki, fictional glow-shrooms, and various miscellaneous small mushrooms. Prior to creating the assets, I spent an entire week searching for images of various kinds of fungus online, even going out into the local Florida swamps to take my own photos. I was amazed at the variety of fungus just underneath my feet. Growing up, not paying much attention to it, I always assumed there were only a few kinds of boring white mushrooms. I found species of mushrooms I had never seen before or since.

Here are a few images of the work in progress:

This was made with Blender 2.80 alpha, so there were several big scares during the process. I almost lost the scene when the volumetric's scene settings were simplified– my scene became corrupt and the smoke became fully opaque and extremely bright. I was able to solve the problem by making a new scene, and re-linking all of the collections back into the new scene. Nothing was lost except for a little time. Collections came to my rescue!

I wrote a few Python scripts to speed my workflow up. One of the tools I developed was an operator that converts Vertex Groups to Vertex Colors and visa versa- I needed this feature to keep shaders (which can only access vertex colors) and modifiers (which can only access vertex groups) in sync. The other advantage to this tool is that it gives me access to the tools in both Weight Paint Mode and Vertex Paint Mode, interchangeably. It's so satisfying to turn dirty vertex colors into a vertex group!

I also created a script to bake vector displacement from one object to another into a vertex color channel. This is how I modeled the morel mushrooms- by sculpting one, then baking displacement from cap, and using the displacement texture to create several, slightly different copies.

Once the image was rendered, I did a very little bit of compositing to make the edges of things kind of fuzzy (displacement nodes). I use the depth channel of the render to alter the strength of the displacement nodes, creating a subtle depth-of-field. I made some color corrections, too, but aside from that, 90% of the image is the original render.

Once I have a bit more time on my hands, I'm going to update this page with more details!