So what makes a good BG Scenery good looking… let’s find out…

October 15, 2010

So the question is…

So what makes a good BG Scenery good looking?

I decided to do a quick test to see and find the answer to this elusive question. I choose Clannad Anime since it is very relevant to my favorite medium and that is Visual Novels. I usually watch Anime from Youtube but for this test we needed higher resolution so I uh… got it from somewhere on the internets.

After watching it… I took screenshots of scenes that gets my attention… you know scenes that makes you want to go to that particular location or something. That beautiful place. That is very pleasing to the eye… you know what I mean…

After careful analysis, I noticed that nearly all of them have “something” in common…

HAH! I knew it!… It’s those trees and plants! Most successful VN’s have them. Even anime has them… Railgun, Index just to name a few…

But this demands a test… here we have a scene made up of components downloaded from Google 3D warehouse using the keywords “old factory” and “wall” and layer rendered in twilight (note: It’s Friday and I’m too lazy to set up omni light so I just brushed that ambient light in photoshop… Lol!)

And now we copy and paste a few tree textures directly from the Clannad screenshots and here is the result.

Hmm… this demands further scientific study… what do you think?…

Edit: Decided to “slightly” enhance the image above using good old Photochop and here is result…

Oh by the way, you can freely use this BG-CG in any OELVN projects or whatever may suit you best.

I go now… Lol!




  1. I suppose it could be be that people associate nature with positivity and a lack of nature dips slightly into the uncanny valley.
    Then again, I don’t know what I’m talking about.

  2. I think its better to strategize a little bit more the placement of trees
    The thing is people don’t realize hoe common trees are in the world
    However i don’t think putting trees in every outdoor scene is a good idea
    Sometimes they can change the mood and confuse the localization of the viewer

  3. While I think it’s probably true that trees are common in BGs because they’re common in the real world, I think the real reason they made your test BG look better isn’t “because they’re trees” but “because they fill in the skyline”.
    In the ‘before’ shot without the trees, there’s just a big empty sky behind the buildings, making it look like they’re in the middle of a large flat space with nothing else for miles and miles (especially the view through the wall in the top-right, the point that all the lines in the image lead to)… which is more than a little unlikely and disconcerting. Putting trees in helps fill this void, stop the viewer’s lines-of-sight at a believable distance and so on, and I suspect that other buildings would have done the job just as well.

  4. I think trees work well in BGCG because they give this illusion of having more distance and depth than the scene actually does, and provide this effect more easily than some other solutions. You could do the same thing by drawing buildings, fields with varying surface heights, rocks or far-off mountains, but trees are easier to draw than many of those things and also give the picture an air of freshness and life. They’re handy!

    If you look at your old factory BG, for instance, the original version is technically good, but it just presents the viewer the street, which makes it look a bit deserted and confined. When you add the shadow of a tree in the front, you have created an illusion of the world behind the viewer, and when you add the trees behind the buildings, it creates the illusion of the world behind the buildings.

    To sum it up, elements (like trees) that go in the front and behind of the main elements (like your buildings there) make the picture look vast and deep without you actually having to draw the continuing scenery in detail. For interior pictures, windows are used for the same effect.

    People actually even knew the said effect during the renaissance. The artists back then just loved putting things in different positions to each others, like drawing textiles that go over the edge of a building or so. It didn’t really matter if the composition made sense, as long as the elements had been arranged in a complex way that created depth in the painting. This was the way many renassaince artists showed off.

    Another thing I recommend paying attention to is the colour perspective in the Clannad BG’s you’ve put up here. Far-off things actually are lighter and cooler in colour in real life. You can use this effect to develop a wonderful look of depth, and make the scenery fade off into the distance.

    By the way, I’m taking a class of perspective drawing currently, uncle Mugen. It was actually your work that inspired me to take this class. I doubt I will ever become as good as you are, but let’s hope I’ll learn something!

  5. I second Jake here, the buildings seemed like they were flat before, the trees add perspective.

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