Forest Landscapes: Putting it All Together
By Rio

So you've learned what there is to know about each individual aspects of a forest; trees, shrubs, grass, and rocks. Now let's put it all together!

Putting it All Together
If you've read through all the Forest tutorials, there was a common theme that repeated itself which was basically: "Work in layers - background, midground, and foreground". Use the same concept when putting together your forest background.

Take this picture to the left. As with most CG's, they are done on layers. Can you dissect the image between front, middle, and background?

........

Give up? Answer:
Front: Tree and grass
Middle: River and bridge
Back: Forest and shrubs
Let's get a closer look into each one:

Foreground = Midground = Background

If you look closely at the background image, there's another set of layers going on between the slew of tall trees, young trees, shrubs, grass, and general foliage. That is what you have to achieve if you want a believable background.

Also, if you're very astute, you'll notice that the foreground image is much more detialed than the other background images which are mainly silhouttes. When drawing your backgrounds, make any plants close to the viewer as detailed as possible while leaving those in the background as general drawn shapes or color.

For example, if you were drawing a manga, you'll have to rely on tones, and black and white to distinguish the difference between the fore, mid, and back-ground.

For far views like the first image above, things in the distance are lighter in color than those up close. For close-ups, though, the opposite is true. Those close to the viewer is generally lighter and darkens in the distance.

This here is Deleter tone #SE-1039. Notice how they used a far-view color scheme with the foreground sporting a dark tone color and the farther background in a light-colored tone. Also, the closer tone has more detail with the leaves than those afar.

Summary:
Foreground - detailed
Midground - between detailed and generally shaped or colored
Background - general shape
Color - light to dark from foreground to background or vice versa depending on your view.