Work in Progress, Part 8

Fantasy Castle

Last time we looked at this piece I had switched to HDR Lighting on it.


The way I had arranged the vegetation on the mountain buttes didn’t sit well with me. It looked too sparse and purposefully placed. Something I wanted to try on this as well as using Maya dynamics, specifically emitting particles on my geometry for the plant life. This would give greater coverage of grass, shrubs, etc. I wanted was to still have control on where the vegetation grew.


I’ve created an emitter with the geometry selected, and click “emit from selected”. This creates an emitter and a particle to work with. I then add an “Instancer(Replacement)” so I can swap out my particle shape to a piece(s) of geometry I want (my vegetation).

I also wrote a couple expressions to randomize scale and rotation of the emitted particles.

Now to create a layout for how I want my particles to grow on my geometry I attach a Texture to my emitter under “Texture Emission Attributes”.

To create this texture map, create a new material, a blinn or lambert is fine. Then in the color output assign a 3d texture–Snow.


Change it’s Surface Color to Black and assign the shader to your geometry. Now do a test render.

What this does is effectively give you a slope map. Wherever the snow coverage sticks to your geometry is where your vegetation will grow (and you can change this with Threshold, Depth Decay, and Thickness). You will need to convert this 3d texture to a 2d texture map, so just select shader and geometry in Hypergraph, under Edit–Convert to File Texture. Select the size of your image map.


Now you can plug this map into your emitter under Texture Emission Attribute–Texture Rate.

What nice is you can do trial and error with the map and paint black and white pieces in Photoshop for more specific placement of elements.

Here is the main mesa only

Here is it with the emission map (slope snow map) applied

Now this is starting to feel more organic is vegetation growth.

I did this for rest of the land geometry and came up with this.

I liked how this felt overall, but I have also been feeling the castle group itself seemed off. I wasn’t sure if it was the scale of it or that rest of the mountains looked to desolate. So I tinkered around some more and came up with this arrangement.


I was really liking the scale and more complexity of the city. I did a further mockup with a sky I’ve been thinking of using in Photoshop.


Now I need to address some atmospherics, reflections, water details, and shader refinement to really plus this shot more, then I will add a camera move to it. These final adjustments will be shown in the coming weeks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s