atmosphere, haze and distance in landscapes

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Old 10 October 2013   #1
atmosphere, haze and distance in landscapes

I'm working on a rather huge 3D landscape of rolling hills mostly covered with forests. The scene is lit with a hdri (through a V-Ray domelight). The hdri is of a sunny, almost clear summer sky and works quite well.
My question is how to better achieve a sense of distance and scale. I understand that I have to consider atmospheric effects, but I'm unsure of what to aim for exactly. Since it's a clear sunny day I don't want things to get foggy after just a few kilometers. The effect needs to be subtle.
I would also like to know whether it's better to use a 3D effect (like VRayEnvironmentFog) or do it in 2D post.
I've split the terrain into 9 separate scenes stacked behind each other, so whatever method I use, I might get away with applying it to one such layer as a whole instead of using a Z-Depth pass for each render. But the final image will be stereoscopic 3D, so maybe this will have to be considered as well.
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Old 10 October 2013   #2
Render out a depth pass and do it in post, it will be much easier to tweak.

Best thing to do is google image search for something that matches your scene, for instance "rolling hills forest" turns up some interesting images such as this: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8432/...9ba6b7e00_o.jpg

Once you have a photograph that represents what you're going for, match it.
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Old 10 October 2013   #3
Thanks for your reply!
You're right, I need to find more references for the lighting and atmospheric conditions I want to replicate.
As a first step I slightly decreased the saturation, increased the brightness and added a blueish tint for the more distant parts of the terrain (in post). I hope I'm moving in the right direction and not missing something?
I'm not quite sure whether color adjustments will be sufficent or if I'll need with a more specialized fog effect to add in post (or render out the environment fog as a render element to add in post)?
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Old 11 November 2013   #4
I do all my depth haze and fog in post, after rendering out a depth pass as playmesumch00ns mentioned. Once you have the depth pass, you can use that as a selection filter and add in all kinds of layers of fog and haze! It doesn't have to just be one layer in Photoshop/Nuke, you can use it as a selection mask and layer in actual cloud photos for added realism and detail...

If you can pull off an altitude pass in Vray, that would also be very helpful.
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Old 11 November 2013   #5
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