The trials and tribulations of Blenders cliffs

The trials and tribulations of Blenders cliffs

Today is a mostly graphics oriented post. However I might also discuss the belief system of the Gnosians and their Magi (i.e. some of the people in my distant novel).

Which first?

Well, for some of you I suspect that the computer graphics stuff will be dead boring… so let’s start with that! :)

Only kidding :)

Religion of the Gnosians and their Magi

At the moment there is definitely religious issues about in the world (how unusual! LOL). It seems to me that this is something intrinsic to the human psyche and something that I would like to use in my constructed world.

The Gnosians, as I conceive them, are a people who appeared on Shade several hundred years ago and took over the haunted cliffs and tower (the Krak) on the southern side of the gigantic canyon. These cliffs they renamed the Splendour Cliffs (yes, the very things that I am struggling to create in the computer graphics section of this post).

I have very much simplified the religious groups of the Gnosians into a moderate group and an a group of strong believers. Their beliefs revolve around the idea that they are fallen angels. They believe that they all once lived in Elysium (think the ancient Greek after-world reserved for heroes and gods) and that they were thrown out for some crime against the gods. They are searching for a way back in, aided by numerous unclear prophecies. The extent to which how much each of these groups believe in their religion will dictate their behaviour. For example, the strong believers place no value on non-Gnosian lives because they are not descended from angels.

I am including concepts such as this because I believe that we need to examine the lines between our responses to our beliefs and our treatment and respect for our fellow humans.

My Blender cliff trials

As you know, in my last post I  stated that I wanted my next piece of digital art to be the Splendour Cliffs and the Krak. My original plan was to create the cliffs and Krak in Blender and then export over to DAZ for additional props and rendering in Iray.

Step 1: make the cliffs.

So I did some research and found the following YouTube video which made it seem so simple. (PS: the author is Blender Guru and he has some top notch tutorials)

And yet it wasn’t.

Everything at first went swimmingly. I found a nice high resolution cliff image at CG Textures. I imported it as a plane into Blender. Add a subsurface modification and a displacement map modification. But at 15 minutes in when it started talking about nodes… well my texture nodes would just not appear! I tried changing renderers and all manner of things, but no luck. In the end I did some sculpting to the plane and exported it. It was something.

So then I tried loading it into DAZ Studio. It loaded, but for whatever reason just looked flat and characterless when I tried rendering it in any available engine.

Not happy :(

So I tried importing it into Bryce. It looked OK, but only OK. I wanted it to look spectacular.

Anyway, I have installed Luxrender onto Blender and gone back to my previous efforts. Now suddenly I could build material nodes, but only with Luxrender set as the renderer. Hmmmmmmmm.

So all this stuffing around, here is where I am at now.


I suspect that I may end up doing the entire thing in Blender. If not, maybe give the Unreal Engine a go :)

I will definitely make the Krak in Blender. In respect to bridges and other architectural features then either Blender or Sweet Home 3D. Maybe both!

At least its keeping me active :)

Thanks for reading.







  1. How is Luxrender in Blender? I’ve never actually used it, but have been meaning too. Render times are the only thing that kills me lol, but I have to deal with it.

    1. My computer is in a shop at present having its ssd replaced. But once its back i’ll demo the actual time on video. ☺ Personally my little bit of experience with it has been excellent ☺

      1. Good glad to hear it.

        I’m currently thinking about building a new rig. Just trying to decide really on going with a cpu or gpu.

        Looking at my current rig, it has a cpu. Which works well with Blender Internal. But cycles runs a lot better with a gpu. Which makes render times a lot longer for me.

        While with internal I can get basically the same results as I could with cycles, it just takes more time.

        What to do lol, that is the question. My rig is getting old, so it’s either a new one or update most of it.

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