Create a transparent watercourse in Vue d’Esprit 4

gebe (Guitta Bertaud)

To get started, you will need Vue d’Esprit 4, a paint program, and a seamless stone or pebble texture.

If you do not have a stone texture, you can easily download one from the Internet. Open the stone texture in your paint program and make any color or size adjustments to fit your image. Duplicate your texture image and create a bump map.

Still in your paint program, create a new image that is 512 x 512 pixels with a white background. With your Paint Brush tool draw a curved shape, using a light grey. Now invert your image; this will become the plane for the stony base. Save this image as “waterpiece.jpg.”

Next, open Vue d’Esprit, click New and open the atmosphere editor, click the Sun tab with the following settings: Azimuth = 81.66, Pitch = 49.59, Glow Intensity = 25%.

See the numbered image to follow along. Double-click the new terrain or double-click its name in the world browser, this will open the terrain editor [1]. Toggle your terrain to “top view” by clicking the small icon on the top left. [2] Increase the resolution to 512 x 512. Click [3] Reset, and [4] Picture, this [5] opens the small window so you can load your “waterpiece.jpg” file. After loading the image, click OK in the small window, but do not close the terrain editor yet. [6] Clip your terrain to 4.8. Then click the [7] Effects tab. Click 4 times on Stones. This will create stones everywhere. More then you need, so you will have to remove some. Click the [8] Paint tab, uncheck the airbrush, select Dig and remove the stones around the water piece. When done click OK.

Place your terrain as shown in image 4, and map it with your stone material. To apply the bump map, by double-clicking the material window. This opens the material editor. Click the Bumps tab. Right-click in the Bumps production window and select Edit Function from the list. In the new window, click Mapped Value. Click the new “Picture” button, search the “stone bump map” on your disk, click OK, and OK again to close all windows.

In the World Browser rename this terrain “base,” right click, and copy/past. Rename the copy to “water” and map with “Foamy Water” from the Liquids. Move the “water terrain” slightly over your stony terrain, click save.

To create realistic water, select the “water” terrain and double-click in the material window. This opens the material editor. Click the Highlights tab and bring Highlight global intensity and global size to 50% each. Click the Transparency tab and move the Refraction index slider to exactly 1.33. Blurred Transparencies should be set to 0, and Fading Out at 70%. The Reflection tab sliders must be at 0. Now click the Effects tab and set the sliders to the following values: Diffuse = 23%, Ambient = 77% (diffuse and ambient need to equal 100% to avoid incoherent lighting), Luminous = 32%, Contrast = 12%, and click save.

Next, create two terrains: one for each side of the watercourse. Double-click on the terrain icon to open the Terrain editor. Remove terrain until it matches the shape of your water piece. Click Paint, Dig and select the airbrush with a low flow to create a soft slope that follows the shape of the river. Clip your terrain to view what your new terrain in Vue (see image 5). You can come back later to the Terrain editor to Dig or to add a terrain. When you are satisfied, place both terrains on either side of the water.

Give any additional terrains texture, and in the distance, add large terrains with mountains. This will give a nice background. Map it with a rock or landscape material (see image 6).

Now add plants, trees, and flowers. An excellent source of free plants and flowers is available through PlantStudio []. Don’t forget to also add rocks and stones.

To finish the image you need sunlight shining trough the trees. Use a volumetric spotlight, tinted to a light yellow tone. When your trees are in the right position, place a spotlight so it shines through the leaves. Because Vue’s leaves are not transparent, it is best to try several settings. Bring the sun between the branches. Opposite the sunlight, and behind the camera, place an additional directional light, and make it shadowless and tint a light grey tone. This balances the sunlight, and softens the shadows and lets the details of the plants and the water viewable [to make a light shadowless, select the light and “uncheck” enable shadows].

Render your image and adjust the water little more up or down until you are satisfied with the final image.

Some general notes: For more variety to the vegetation, use alternate leaves for your trees or plants. Scatter small terrains, rocks and grass to cover empty spaces around the water border. Most importantly, be patient, review your image a day or two after you have created it, and make changes, if needed. For additional Vue d’Esprit tutorials please visit my web site: .


Who is gebe (Guitta Bertaud)?

I think I was born as an artist. Since I could hold a pen in my hand, I always were drawing., painting; on Paper, on canvas. Later I studied fine art in Paris and became a free lance painter and designer.

In discovering computers, I also discovered all these marvellous 2D painting programs and became completely addicted to this kind of creation. I became then a designer for logos and graphics for web pages, working mostly with vector programs. My discover of 3D was a little later, when I found Vue d’Esprit version 1 as a shareware in a Computer Magazine some years ago. I saw some amazing work created with it and since this moment I’ve never stopped to love it.

My projects? I have so many projects in my head, my heart and my hands. Learning animation is the very next one. Thanks to Poser, Vue d’Esprit and my brand new Carrara 1 I will have lots of happy artistic moments to live in the near future.

Find out more by visiting gebe's Artist Homepage and On-line Store.


Order your copy of the Renderosity Magazine while supplies last!