Conveying a Vast Sense of Scale


I’d like to start a discussion on ingredients in a 3d composition–and in compositing–one can use to convey a sense of scale…to make the audience feel that they are witnessing something enormous.

I have a variety of thoughts that I’ll share incrementally. But I suspect some posters here have superior ideas and I’m eager to learn more.

I’ll also post some various links of work that successfully conveys a vast canvas.

The first link:
It is in the middle of the clip where you sense this massive expanse…even though you are inside a timepiece.


The work of Neil Blevins often features the type of scale I’m interested in.

Observationally I see he often uses atmosphere…dust/haze that partly obscures, and he desaturates the subject’s native colors. He also puts identifiable objects (human figures, trees, rocks) into the scene in impossibly diminutive scale to que the eye. Fine noises and subtle patterns can make something seem extremely far away.


With man-made items, greeble can communicate expanse. I’m sure glad C4D features instancing and mograph to help create this.


Great examples and a good idea for a thread, I think. I’ve been trying to get a bigger scale feel on a lot if my shots. So I’ll keep an eye in this.

I did a brief talk on the C4D depth pass at the London Training day. I’ll put the talk online soon.



Perspective is a huge factor, as is relative size. A huge building looks like a simple block when viewed from somewhere in the middle. Make the camera look upwards and add some clouds or birds. Then shadows, huge objects only have sharp shadows at very high light intensities.
Focal length helps a lot as well, just check what you would need in reality to get the perspective you are after.


Check this
for an example on how to use perspective and focal length to force the perception of size.


Awesome, I very much look forward to seeing that!


Srek, I agree but must say that focal lengths can be funny business. I do a little camera work (Canon guy here), and like anyone love to play with special lenses.

The interesting thing with wide focal lenses is that they can make everything look smaller…but in a fashion I might not want for my objectives. As you know, an ultra-wide/shift lens is what they use with those time-lapse videos to make all the people look like insects.

And in 3d I see a lot of wide angle renders can cause everything to look toylike. Useful if that’s the intention but it’s not mine.