I'm trying to create a mountain in the distance that has a bunch of lights on it randomly to simulate populations of people. I'm using Blender's cycles render.

To do this, I'm using 3 different types of icospheres with a shadeless material to act as the light points.

Here is the nodes for the shadeless material, I have one in a yellow, white, and red variant.

The nodes for the material

I have these icospheres being used as children on a particle system on the mountain. So that they can be placed at random spots on the mountain.

I had assumed they would just be small points of lights on the mountains. Unfortunately, upon rendering, they come out looking like a bad texture applied to the mountain, rather than just the small points. They render fine on the first few passes, then on the last, it squashes them into the weird looking texture thing.

Here's an example. (The circled area is just where I had placed the parent icospheres next to the mountain to display how it SHOULD look).

Strange particle thing

I don't think it's due to the samples, although I have been rendering at a pretty low sample size (around 50) just for previews.

It might be a problem with the actual particle settings, I just can figure out which ones.

Here's an image of my settings. Particle settings

If anyone could help figure this out, I would be really grateful.


  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Is it possible you could upload your .blend? $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Jan 10 '15 at 23:41
  • $\begingroup$ Sure thing man, here you go. dropbox.com/s/ileoc3iy121czc3/Mountains.blend?dl=0 $\endgroup$ – Axi0m Jan 10 '15 at 23:58
  • $\begingroup$ The particles are underneath the mesh, is that what you want? $\endgroup$ – VRM Jan 11 '15 at 0:50
  • $\begingroup$ No, I'd like them above it. Was that the problem? $\endgroup$ – Axi0m Jan 11 '15 at 0:56

The issue is that you have the particle size set way too small. I changed it to a size of 1.00:

enter image description here

And got a result like this:

enter image description here

At a size of 0.020 the particles are less than 1 pixel across, making some of them invisible to the camera, and blurring others. By changing the size for all of the particle systems, I got this result:

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ I feel like such an idiot. I kept brushing over it like that was fine, and thought it was something else. Thanks for the help. $\endgroup$ – Axi0m Jan 11 '15 at 1:03
  • $\begingroup$ No problem! Always glad to help :) If this solves your question, the checkmark under the voting buttons is used to show that your issue is resolved and which answer was correct. $\endgroup$ – VRM Jan 11 '15 at 1:03
  • $\begingroup$ I'm still getting some issues, but it's nothing I cant handle now that I've figured out the cause. And yeah, I'll click that checkmark. $\endgroup$ – Axi0m Jan 11 '15 at 1:15
  • $\begingroup$ Is there any way I can keep the particles the same size as the original parents? As in the same size as the object that's defined as the particle. $\endgroup$ – Axi0m Jan 11 '15 at 1:43
  • $\begingroup$ I always just adjust the particle size. $\endgroup$ – VRM Jan 11 '15 at 1:44

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