If you are a Blender beginner who knows the basics and now wants a project that will give you a sense of accomplishment, well this could be it. Low-poly is not only a hot trend right now, it also happens to be fun and relatively easy. Even for a Blender novice.
I’m proof of that. New to Blender at the start of the year and still learning the finer points of the software, I was still able to follow along a couple of good low-poly landscape tutorials and then to create a landscape of my own.
You can learn everything you need to know using this CGI Tuts+ tutorial from Karan Shah. This is a very clear and comprehensive written tutorial that takes you step by step, all the way from concept to finished render.
I love tutorials like this where every key press is included. The expert Blender users won’t need these, and by now I only need the occasional reminder myself, but it’s reassuring to know that the tutorial won’t leave you behind while you have to go look up navigation commands.
The tips on lighting the low-poly scene were especially welcome. The tutorial render was done using Blender Render and you’ll need to do the same to get the results you see. What you can do though is play around with the position of the your ‘sun’ lamp, getting it to cast shadows, plus try changing the colour of the light. The differences from doing this alone can be quite dramatic!
Here you see the sky with stars from the tutorial, though I did my own thing with the scene (inspired by Mount Fuji, I added pink trees to suggest cherry blossom).
It’s easy to change it to a day scene. Switch off the stars and change the colours you used for your sky blend (these options are all found in the World pane — see Step 6 of Karan’s tutorial for a reminder).
How about some mist? That’s easy too. Again under World, you can choose the mist option, then play with the depth. Too big a number here and you won’t see much difference. Too small and your scene will disappear into the mist!
If you find you learn better with videos or want some extra help making the trees and other landscape details, there’s a great tutorial by low-poly landscape expert PigArt on YouTube. The PigArt channel also has a whole lot of timelapse videos showing how this artist creates their work. Among other things you’ll find a car, a wolf, an orc, and this amazing desert oasis scene.
Here are the trees and other props I made using PigArt’s video. This Blender artist uses Cycles Render, but since you’ll be using simple colour schemes and sunlight style lamps, this isn’t a big change from the tutorial that used Blender Render.
So there you go, this is how I got started with low-poly scenes in Blender. It was a lot of fun and I love the blocky, toon look.
I’m looking forward to trying some different landscapes and maybe even low-poly figures. If you give it a go, I hope you enjoy it too.