New to the forum! Would like to share my first environment WIP


Hello everyone!

Very excited to join the forum and looking forward to talking with many of you about your own work. This is my first time posting and would like to share what I’ve been working on… I’m currently studying 3D modeling and animation at Sacramento City College and an aspiring 3D Environment Artist. Although I’ve been using some Adobe programs off and on for some time, this is my first serious attempt at learning digital media and my 8th week into my program. I created this image using Modo and would love any critique y’all have for me. I’m not totally sold on the ground yet, but overall it seems to be in a good place. For my concept, I imagined an abandoned shack somewhere in the icy mountains. I knew I wanted dramatic lighting and some serious foreground shadows. I mostly wanted to focus on composition (camera angle) and lighting for this project.

Thanks so much and hope to hear from you all soon!


I think you only set your image as a thumbnail and put only in your portfolio, and didn’t actually set one in the post, I don’t see it here, it becomes difficult to actually see what’s going on.

Anyway, As the trees are not any shadows (any particular reason why? from that angle the sun should cast very long shadows even if it’s kinda hidden behind the mountain) it totally feels like there is something off, with it overall.
The ground would appreciate a little more resolution but I think as a flow it’s going pretty ok except for maybe the mountains in the background, they feel like they are a bit too steep too soon if they have to be that soft. That kind of cliff usually requires a rocky, rough, surface.
The shack is ok overall but the fact that the light is on without a motive (magic?) bothers me a little bit. add something, a generator with a cable, a telephone pole with a cable, something that connects to that shack or the light so it has a motive to be on.
Think always of your story together with everything else. I would also fill a little bit more the right side of the image with something that belongs to the shack, have a reason to have a shack there, I don’t know, remains of a farm or some random debris (but don’t get too much carried away, as the shack is your main focus).
But yeah, keep working on, it’s a good start to a good piece


Thank you! I honestly didn’t even notice the shadows!! I appreciate your critique man and I totally agree with everything you said. I’m going to continue working on this project and I’ll post updates.


It’s a good layout so far, and the modeling is coming along nicely. Those tree-shadows will really help!

That said, the textures are kinda bland, for the ground especially. If you’re able, break it up by instancing a few small rocks and pebbles throughout, kinda what you see on the ground in real life. Small, but subtle. By instancing I mean generate a hundred thousand or so, not too difficult with modern software.

But the main thing here is the lack of z-depth, or “atmosphere”. There should be a haze to the distance, no matter if the air is dusty or not, and especially at sundown or sunup. And there should also be a separate haze for altitude - the two keys to giving a landscape scene “depth”. Look into what it takes to get a depth pass out of Modo? Then you could tweak the haze in Photoshop and not have to wait for rendering to see how it looks. A “depth pass” is a grayscale render-pass where, say, the closer to the foreground a polygon is the darker it is, and the further away, the lighter. The sky itself would/should be completely black. You would comp this in using a Screen mode (or similar) in post.