Blender 3D News and Training

Complete Rock Stream Beginner tutorial for Blender

Posted by Aidy Burrows on Jun 30, 2016

After this quick environment project you’ll know about…

● Rock creation methods

● Procedural texturing tricks

● Procedural modeling tricks with modifiers

● Isolating ‘up’ or sky-facing polygons to treat those differently

● Isolating occluded/crevice areas to treat those differently

● Not isolating friends and family by occasionally taking a break

● How to create a quick adjustable mist pass

● A sense of completion for reading all the way this far down the bulletpoint list

● Useful addons – Node Wrangler, Auto Tile-Size.


End Blend file can be found here.

After doing a few of these beginner projects the goal is to get you to a point where you’ll not be able to consider yourself a beginner anymore.

So welcome to this complete project in blender where we’ll be creating this rocky waterfall stream environment.



blender cycles tutorail


blender cycles tutorial nodes





 blender rock stream tutorial


Try this!

In the above image i’ve tweaked 2 things, instead of the transparent shader the water plane shader is mixing between a GLOSSY shader set to a mirror-like shine. And! I added bump node for that glossy shader and plugged what we were using for the streaky parts into the height socket. I also added an extra mix shader for the gradient texture that we used so we can still have it be transparent at the edges.

If you get stuck check out the node layout below!

I’ve also set the world to ‘use nodes’ and i’ve plugged in an ‘Environment Texture’.  You can find great environment textures here…

That should give the mirror like glossy shader something more interesting to reflect and emit some more interesting light detail across the scene.


blender tutorial


blender cycles tutorial


Feel free to post images of any results you get from trying these methods, I’d honestly love to see what you folks can do! Plus any comments or if you get stuck simply post below!

Aidy. 😀

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Comments (12)


Thank you


I was following this tutorial using Blender 2.79 and when I got to making the plane for the water then pressing shift and space bar I returned to the three windows. The plane did not appear in the camera window but was present in the window above it. I really could not progress any further as there was not visual of the plane in the camera perspective. This could be a bug that needs ironing out or is is possible that i am missing something?


Thanks for your reply, next time I will use the forum. I was using the Blender 2.79 Build and then when it was released I downloaded it and when I open my waterfall file everything worked so was not able to try out your suggestions. But thanks for getting back with me.

Greg Jameson
Greg Jameson

Hello, how would you manage the topology from being too high? Halfway through I noticed my wire frames were tightly knit and that my computer was slowing down when I copied all the rocks into the streams, while as your wireframes were more like frames. I don’t know what step made it happen.

Greg Jameson
Greg Jameson

This is what I got though for it. Thanks!comment image

Anthony Calderone
Anthony Calderone

Bless you, Ctrl+ Wheel for scrolling the film presets is a huge time saver.

Aidy Burrows

Hey Anthony! I was sure I responded to this, but glad you checked it out and got something from it! I’ve got some interesting experimental stuff coming very soon! 😀 Aidy.

Anthony Calderone
Anthony Calderone

“interesting experimental stuff”

You have my full attention Sir.

Aidy Burrows

haha! Well the realtime PBR overview is the first experimental thing, but there is more! 🙂 Aidy.

Gaber Abdo
Gaber Abdo
Thank you Aidy, Got very nice tips from that min project, I like the way you defined some details and make it easy for watching the creation and helping the viewer get the most out of it. Thank you again ^_^ Here is my fast result. The best tricks I got from this nice project – A nice use of the modifiers to generate nice geometry procedurally. -New information about mist I had no idea before never used a mist pass. -Nice organization tips I got from you going from step to another. -I understand some nodes in cycles now… Read more »
Aidy Burrows

Awesome! You’ve definitely got the basics down! 😀 Aidy.