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Photorealistic Mata Nui Landscape

Featured photorealistic landscape render Photoshop

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34 replies to this topic

#1 Offline William Falcon

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Posted Dec 04 2012 - 01:11 AM

Well, it has been something like  four or five years since I've posted anything (artwork-related or otherwise) on BZPower. But I just created something very cool and I feel the need to share it with some people who will have an especial appreciation for it. As you probably know, a marvelous fellow called Christian Faber recently started a blog where he shared, among other things, the official grayscale height maps used for the creation of Mata Nui and Metru Nui. Creating a 3d model of Mata Nui is something that I've toyed with, off and on, for eight years...in fact, back in 2004, I made a post of my first attempt, the height-map for which was created using a highly-'shopped modification of the classic Mata Nui map. 
Anyway, after messing around with the official height-map, and trying to think of ways to create a more photorealistic version of the Mata Nui map, I decided to take a screenshot of the modeled landscape and superimpose real, photographed imagery over it, to create a convincing picture of the island from at least one perspective. Not sure if anyone has attempted this before, but if so, well, here's my interpretation; 
First, the original render. You are looking north from the tip of Le-Wahi, towards the Mangai Volcano and the Ko-Wahi mountains:
And the realistic version:
Just for good measure...
I added some atmospheric haze (derived from a depth map of the 3d model) to complete the illusion of enormity and distance. This makes some of the more distant mountains slightly tricky to see. Likewise, only if you look very closely can you see the smoke rising from the mouth of the Mangai. The aquamarine details in the ocean come from the Faber Files map. 
I hope you enjoy :)

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#2 Offline xccj

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Posted Dec 04 2012 - 04:04 AM

Wow, that is really awesome.  I especially like how you did the coastlines, what with the cliffs and beaches.  For the most part, I think this could easily pass as a real photo of some island!  (The snow covered mountains in the back are a little unrealistic, because you wouldn't have that much snow that low on a tropic island, but the climates on Mata Nui were like that to begin with.  :)



Edited by xccj, Dec 04 2012 - 04:10 AM.

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#3 Offline The Legendary TNT

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Posted Dec 04 2012 - 02:30 PM

*jaw drops*













That is just freakin' amazing! The only problem I could spot was that the Mangai was the highest point when it should be Mt. Ihu. Other then that, fantastic job, bro! Could you please make more?

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#4 Offline BULiK

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Posted Dec 04 2012 - 03:24 PM

Well, my cranium just exploded. This is the best fan art for bionicle that I've seen EVER. Seriously. Is it possible you could make more of these for us? That would be awesome.
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#5 Offline fishers64

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Posted Dec 04 2012 - 04:17 PM

Impressive. Most impressive. I want to visit that island. Great job!The blue of the ocean looks a tad off, though.
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#6 Offline William Falcon

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Posted Dec 04 2012 - 06:57 PM

Thanks for the comments everyone. I will definitely consider doing more of these images, and I've been thinking of where to position the camera for the next one. Maybe Po-Wahi. 

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#7 Offline Meta-Mind

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Posted Dec 04 2012 - 07:31 PM

Very impressive. I noticed, though, that one mountain peak (directly above Le-Kini) seems unrealistically clear compared to the surrounding area. I would recommend double-checking there to be sure you blurred it properly.Beyond that, great job! The title does indeed fit this piece, it's a nice, photorealistic fan work.


EDIT: I just realized this, but the nearest island to us looks unrealistically smooth.  It might be better to add some rocky texture to it, similar to the textures you used on the mountains.  The southernmost part of the Le-Wahi beach looks a tad smooth as well - perhaps you could try to increase the "bumpiness" of the forest textures there, so to speak?

Edited by Meta-Mind, Dec 04 2012 - 10:38 PM.

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#8 Offline Kopekemaster

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Posted Dec 04 2012 - 07:40 PM

I was just skimming down and looking at the pictures, and thought that the second picture was a real picture of a real island that Mata Nui was based on.  Then I read the description.  And read it again.  


That is amazing.  Simply amazing.  It seriously looks like a real picture.  




Well, my cranium just exploded.This is the best fan art for bionicle that I've seen EVER. Seriously. Is it possible you could make more of these for us? That would be awesome.


Yes, more pictures would be very welcome indeed.

Edited by Kopekemaster, Dec 04 2012 - 07:40 PM.

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#9 Offline William Falcon

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Posted Dec 05 2012 - 12:08 AM

I just realized this, but the nearest island to us looks unrealistically smooth.  It might be better to add some rocky texture to it, similar to the textures you used on the mountains.  The southernmost part of the Le-Wahi beach looks a tad smooth as well - perhaps you could try to increase the "bumpiness" of the forest textures there, so to speak?


The reason behind the smoothness of that particular island comes down to a matter of scale and not being able to decide exactly how big I wanted the island to appear...see, the actual official size of Mata Nui, is, well, really darn big. Initially, I wanted to represent that by making one the islets (which I added rather early in the creation of the image) a rather large-sized island itself. But, as the image progressed, it became clear to me that finding imagery to represent that scale for the whole of the scene was going to be very hard. I suppose I could have used satellite images for the jungle, but somehow I don't really think it would look as nice as aerial photographs of rainforests, which is what I primarily used. To make a long story short, I scaled the island down a bit in most areas, but that little islet remains the same. You are absolutely right though: aesthetically, the islet should be texturally rougher and I plan to add some cliffs and rocks around its edges. Same goes with the jungle: some crags, hills and cliffs are perhaps called for...

Edited by William Falcon, Dec 05 2012 - 12:09 AM.

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#10 Offline Athmos

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Posted Dec 17 2012 - 05:03 PM

 That is the coolest thing I've seen here in a long while.


 I am a little shocked at how real it looks!

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#11 Offline ~garnira returns~

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Posted Dec 19 2012 - 12:28 AM

Looks great! The atmospheric haze really gives the finalized picture depth, and the details make it believably realistic! If there is anything I think you should work on, I would say the water.

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#12 Offline Alto Magna

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Posted Dec 19 2012 - 05:22 AM

Very beautiful work here. I can't find any real faults with it, and I think you rendered it/constructed it fantastically.

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#13 Offline Tenebrae Invictus

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Posted Dec 19 2012 - 05:00 PM

Being from Hawaii, I don't think the coast should've been that green - it should've looked a little more sandy at the edges to look more realistic for an island. But, other than that, this is great work, the mountains look very correct and it's cool to see Mata Nui more realistically. :D

Edited by Tenebrae Invictus, Dec 19 2012 - 05:01 PM.

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#14 Offline toacorey

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Posted Dec 30 2012 - 08:27 PM

This is amazing. Will their be more photos of this in the future? I would love to see a picture of one of the villages like this.

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#15 Offline Lewa Krom

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Posted Dec 30 2012 - 09:34 PM

That is amazing! Now if only we could actually go there...

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#16 Offline ToaN

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Posted Dec 30 2012 - 11:20 PM

Incredible! May I ask what 3D software you used to render/texture this?

Edited by Toanicky, Dec 30 2012 - 11:20 PM.

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#17 Offline Ballom

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Posted Dec 31 2012 - 01:43 AM

[color=#993399;]Wow, that is beautiful! You really made the shot of Mata Nui shown in the original render really look like a color photograph. I love the texture of the ocean, the colors of the sky, and how the island vegetation really seems lush and fertile, completely living. Your versions of the Mangai volcano and the distant Ko-Wahi are also breathtakingly realistic.I really can't find anything negative to point out about your picture, as it is so incredibly well done. But I will recommend that if you can find other aerial renders of Mata Nui showing different parts of it, such as Kini Nui or Ta, Po, or Onu-Wahi, your technique might also work to create stunning realistic shots of those areas as well.~B~[/color]

Edited by Ballom, Dec 31 2012 - 01:44 AM.

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#18 Offline Toa Lhikan Hordika

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Posted Dec 31 2012 - 04:24 AM

My goodness, that is absolutely amazing.  Great job with this, it was certainly a pleasure to look at.


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#19 Offline CHTrilogy

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Posted Dec 31 2012 - 06:49 AM

Stunning! Absolutely breathtaking! I'm especially entranced by all the subtle details like the smoke coming from the Mangai.

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#20 Offline Toa of Nerds

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Posted Dec 31 2012 - 08:50 AM

[color=#0000ff;][font="'comic sans ms', cursive;"]Absolutely amazing. This brings back all of my old memories from 2001. Great job![/color][/font]


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#21 Offline Toaman25

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Posted Dec 31 2012 - 12:40 PM

That is SO cool! I've never EVER seen an island that could possibly pass off as Mata Nui.

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#22 Offline Hakann-The Bully

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Posted Dec 31 2012 - 02:18 PM

Oh wow this is AMAZING O_O It looks good enough to be advertised as a potential Honeymoon location XD

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#23 Offline Power of Fire

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Posted Dec 31 2012 - 03:28 PM

This is realy cool. Would you consider doing one of Metru-Nui?

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#24 Offline TahuForever!

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Posted Dec 31 2012 - 09:57 PM

*whistles* Wow... That's awesome. When I saw the picture in the news, I thought it was an actual island. When I got to the topic, though, I read the introduction before I saw the pictures. But even then, it "almost" passes for a real island.But in your list of landmarks, didn't you leave out Ta-Koro? Unless I'm mistaken, the little string of volcanoes/mountains just east of the Mangai, which you do have in there, is where it's located. Come to think of it, though, Le-Koro might be in there somewhere, too, although not all of Le-Wahi is visible from this angle.



Incredible! May I ask what 3D software you used to render/texture this?


I'd like to know that, too.

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#25 Offline Space: Ocean of Awe

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Posted Jan 01 2013 - 01:07 AM

[color=#0000cd;][font="'lucida sans unicode', 'lucida grande', sans-serif;"]Whoa, that's brilliant! It looks quite realistic (and absolutely gorgeous), just looking at the mist in the distance, the jagged mountains, the green trees and the blue water, even those little rocks jutting from the water...makes me wish I could actually go there (not to mention how awesome it would be to hike up the Mangai Volcano).[/color][/font]


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#26 Offline mistergryphon

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Posted Jan 01 2013 - 01:26 AM

This is amazing! It's extremely realistic. :D I'm going to make it my wallpaper. :D

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#27 Offline Toa of Mirrors

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Posted Jan 01 2013 - 08:39 PM

Please release this 3D model.

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#28 Offline iPenguin

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Posted Jan 01 2013 - 09:21 PM

Haha. I initially thought that the original render was supposed to be "photo-realistic", and I laughed.Then I saw the actual thing and my mind was blown. 3D art will forever blow me away.


You should make show the model in different angles. That would be amazing.

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#29 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Jan 02 2013 - 08:33 AM

That is quite impressive! I'd love to see it from other angles (or if possible, in some format that allowed you to rotate it freely). Any ideas what you'll follow this up with? It'd be interesting to see other islands, like Voya Nui.
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#30 Offline Dapper-Sama

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Posted Jan 02 2013 - 02:08 PM

WHOA. Simply magnificent. Of course, it would be convinient to see the map from a different angle, maybe from an inland perspective, perhaps?

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#31 Offline Opallix

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Posted Jan 02 2013 - 11:53 PM

Looks good. I think the scaling is a bit off, but still, it's a pretty unique piece of work.

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#32 Offline Mare Tranquillitatis

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Posted Jan 04 2013 - 12:49 PM

Impressive. I especially love the shading used to create the oceanic part, but the rest remains awesome indeed.

Seeing other parts of Mata Nui or, perhaps, of other islands would be great, but, considering how much work must flow into this kind of works, I'm not gonna ask to see some more pictures. Though, it would be fantastic. ;)

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#33 Offline Toa Smoke Monster

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Posted Jan 04 2013 - 06:15 PM

Wow, I really like how this looks. Some of the mountains in the background look a little too bright for my liking, but that's only a minor complaint. I would love to see more artwork like this in the future. :)

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#34 Offline Mata-Nui Nuva

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Posted Jan 05 2013 - 02:03 PM

I haven't seen you on-site in forever, so it's good to see you on the board again, especially with something this fantastic. I know absolutely nothing about 3D modeling, but I'd imagine that it was no small feat to make it as realistically as we see it, especially given the comparison of original and final render. I can't think of what CGI wizardry went into it, but the final product is extremely pleasing to the eye. It really makes me feel nostalgic. I suppose that my only criticism is that I don't see much of an existing shoreline, but I suppose that the overhead view of Mata-Nui has green right up to the ocean. Nice to see you around!

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#35 Offline Makuta Matata

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Posted Jan 13 2013 - 12:49 PM

Wow, this is amazing! I think it would have looked more realistic if it had beaches along the coast, but this is still awesome! Nice work!

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