"Green Roofs from the Faroe Islands" 3D Rendering Tutorial by Aleksey Karetin

04 july 2023 year

About me

Hi, community!

My name is Aleksey Karetin, and I'm an CG Artist from Ukraine with over 10 years of experience. Today, I would like to take a moment to share with you the creation process of one of my recent projects titled "Green Roofs from the Faroe Islands." While I won't delve into all the intricacies, I will highlight the key aspects.

Green roofs from the Faroe Islands 3D Rendering Tutorial by Aleksey Karetin

About the Project

This project is not a commercial endeavor. It was born out of my inspiration from the captivating photographs of the Faroe Islands. The untouched beauty of their landscapes and unique atmosphere deeply moved me. I embarked on the journey of recreating a similar ambience in 3ds Max.

An intriguing fact about the Faroe Islands is the scarcity of trees. The early settlers had to fell them for their various needs. However, the islands have a rich tradition of honoring ancient customs, one of which is the practice of planting grass on house roofs.


Green roofs from the Faroe Islands 3D References

Software Used

3DS Max 20, ArchiCAD, Corona Renderer 7, Forest Pack, Phoenix FD, TyFlow, Quixel Megascans, and Adobe Photoshop.

3D Modeling

The main structure of all the houses was created in ArchiCAD, serving as the foundation for the project. In 3ds Max, I further enhanced the design by adding intricate details such as windows, doors, and delicate wooden beams. To create the walls, I utilized the powerful tool, FloorGenerator, which allowed for precise and efficient modeling.

This combination of ArchiCAD and 3ds Max enabled me to achieve a seamless integration of architectural elements and intricate details, resulting in a visually stunning representation of the "Green Roofs from the Faroe Islands" project.

3D modeling of house in 3ds max

3D modeling of house in 3ds max

Before proceeding with the creation of the river geometry, I first established the foundation by creating a base plane where the river would flow. To shape the terrain, I employed the Displace Modifier, utilizing a texture map to generate the desired relief. Additionally, I utilized the FFD (Free-Form Deformation) modifier to adjust and deepen the riverbed according to my preferences.

By employing these techniques, I was able to sculpt the terrain and establish the necessary topography for the river to flow naturally within the 3D environment.

3D modeling of terrain in 3ds max and Free-Form Deformation FFD

The remaining sections of the terrain geometry were also crafted using the same principle of utilizing the Displace modifier and FFD modifier. By applying these modifiers, I could manipulate the geometry to create the desired shapes and contours in the landscape.

Through careful adjustment of the Displace modifier with texture maps and the FFD modifier, I was able to sculpt the terrain, adding hills, valleys, and other natural features to enhance the overall realism of the scene.

This approach allowed for flexibility and control in shaping the terrain, ensuring that it harmonized seamlessly with the rest of the environment and contributed to the overall aesthetic appeal of the project.

3D modeling of terrain in 3ds max and Free-Form Deformation FFD

3D Modeling of the River

The river geometry was created using the Phoenix plugin and TyFlow to achieve realistic water effects such as foam and splashes. Although the settings for these plugins can vary depending on the specific requirements of each project, I followed two tutorials as a starting point for my work:

TUTORIAL: Learn how to create waterfall features on Phoenix and 3ds Max in minutes! Easy liquid tutorial!

TUTORIAL: Render Phoenix FD Foam And Splash In Corona, Redshift, Octane, Arnold Etc | 3ds Max, TyFlow

These tutorials provided valuable insights and techniques for simulating water behavior and enhancing the visual quality of the river. By leveraging the capabilities of the Chaos Phoenix plugin and TyFlow, I was able to achieve the desired water effects, adding an extra layer of realism to the scene.

Please note that while these tutorials served as a reference, the specific settings and adjustments I made were tailored to meet the unique requirements of my project.

simulating of water in 3ds max

To ensure that the river doesn't spread across the entire surface of the terrain, I implemented an additional barrier in the form of a canal. This canal acted as a containment system to guide and control the flow of the river within specific boundaries.

The canal was integrated into the overall terrain seamlessly, ensuring a smooth transition between the river and the surrounding environment. This allowed for a more realistic and harmonious integration of the river system within the scene.

simulating of water in 3ds max

simulating of water in 3ds max

If you have any further questions or would like more information about the canal implementation or any other aspect of the project, please feel free to ask!

3D Modeling of grass on the roof

To achieve the realistic look of grass on the roof, I incorporated the use of grass assets from the Forest Pack library. For each slope of the roof, I created 2-4 instances of the grass scatter with customized settings to introduce variations in tilting and bending directions.

To control the height of the grass, I utilized black and white maps, where the black areas indicated lower grass height and the white areas represented taller grass. By manipulating these maps, I was able to achieve a natural and visually pleasing distribution of grass across the roof surface.

The use of Forest Pack allowed for efficient scattering and randomization of grass instances, enhancing the overall realism of the scene and replicating the unique charm of roofs covered with grass found in the Faroe Islands.

3D Modeling grass on the roof

Plants and Grass

In this project, I incorporated a variety of plants from the Maxtree collection to populate the scene. Specifically, I utilized two collections: MT_PM_21 and MT_PM_54. These collections provided a wide selection of realistic plant models that added lushness and natural beauty to the environment.

For the grass on the roofs, I relied on the Library Forest Pack. With the help of Forest Pack, I was able to scatter and distribute the grass elements seamlessly across the roof surfaces. This allowed for a convincing representation of the traditional grass-covered roofs commonly found in the area.

The combination of the Maxtree plant models and the Forest Pack scattering tool enabled me to create a vibrant and visually appealing landscape with a diverse range of vegetation.

Maxtree collection

3D Modeling of rocks

Making of Materials

I predominantly utilized Quixel Megascans materials in this project to achieve high-quality and realistic textures. These materials provided a wide range of options and allowed me to bring authenticity to various elements within the scene. While I won't delve into specific details regarding the use of these materials, rest assured that they played a significant role in enhancing the overall visual appeal of the project.

Additionally, I created custom materials for specific elements such as water, concrete, and black and white wood. These materials were tailored to suit the desired aesthetic and add a unique touch to the scene. By crafting these materials, I achieved a cohesive and visually pleasing composition.

The accompanying screenshot showcases some of the materials used in the project, offering a glimpse into the diverse range of textures and surfaces employed to bring the environment to life.

The making of Materials in Corona Render with Quixel Megascans

The making of Materials in Corona Render with Quixel Megascans

Lighting of scene

In this project, I employed two HDRI cards to achieve the desired lighting and sky effects. For the main lighting, I utilized an HDRI map from the Noemotion collection. This high-quality HDRI map provided realistic and dynamic lighting to illuminate the scene, creating accurate light and shadow interplay.

To enhance the sky and create a captivating backdrop, I utilized another HDRI map from the 3DCollective collection. This HDRI map contributed to the overall atmospheric ambiance of the scene, adding depth and realism to the sky representation.

It's worth noting that I relied solely on these HDRI maps for lighting purposes, without the need for additional artificial lighting sources. By leveraging the power of HDRI lighting, I achieved a natural and harmonious illumination that complemented the scene's aesthetics.

HDRI Settings

HDRI Settings

The post-production phase

In the post-production phase, I primarily focused on color correction and color balance to enhance the overall visual appeal of the project. By fine-tuning the colors, I achieved a more cohesive and harmonious look across the scene. This involved adjusting brightness, contrast, saturation, and other color parameters to achieve the desired aesthetic.

Additionally, I also added 2D cropping of some sheep and mountain fragments, which added visual interest, and directed the viewer's attention to these key elements.

To provide a glimpse into the post-production process, I have prepared a GIF file that demonstrates the various stages of editing. Please refer to the attached GIF to get a better understanding of the post-production steps. Kindly note that due to file size limitations, I combined multiple layers into one GIF to keep it concise and manageable.

The post-production phase


In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude for taking the time to read through my article. It was my pleasure to share the creative process behind my project, "Green Roofs from the Faroe Islands" I hope that you found the insights and techniques shared valuable and inspiring.

If you have any further questions, or comments, or would like to explore more of my work, please feel free to reach out. I appreciate your support and interest in my artistic endeavors.

Best regards

About the author

Bardhyl Morina

Aleksey Karetin

Awarded CG Artist

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