Vue: Ecosystems with Masks

Load a simple grey shaded material. This is how the mesa with castle imported looks.

1b_render_w_grey_shader

We want to have eco-paint grass over this mesa in specifics areas (the flat level areas where grass would grow easily.

1c_render_w_grey_shader

To easily figure this out. We’ll load a new map to our material. Switch from Procedural to Mapped picture.

1a_assign_grey_shader

We’ll use a uv grid map. This will help us figure out what regions we want to have our grass grow.

Image converted using ifftoany
Image converted using ifftoany

Load this image file to your material.

3a_load_as_material

Now your material is using the uv grid.

4a_assigned_as_material

Here you can see how the uv grid lands on your mesa.

4b_render_w_uv_grid_shader

Here’s a down view of it as well.

4c_aerial_render_w_uv_grid_shader

Here is a black and white image we’ll use as our map for the grass. I created it in Maya using a 3d snow shader. Basically the snow (white) would only land on areas flat enough to stay on it.

Image converted using ifftoany
Image converted using ifftoany

Now if we place our UV grid image behind it. You’ll see where the snow is going to cover on our mesa.

5b_snow_shader_w_uv_map.jpg

We can now add our ecosystem. Under Simple material, switch to add an EcoSystem.

5c_add_ecosystem_to_material

It will add an additional layer into your Material.

5d_popup_eco_layer

Now multiple tabs are created with the Ecosystem. We’ll only care about General and Density for now.

5e_ecosystem_tabs

In the General tab, we’ll find the “Patch of Grass” plant species to populate our mesa.

5e_plant_species_grass

Change its scale to 20 for our scene’s size.

5g_grass_scale

Now go to the Density tab. Click on Variable Density and right click on grey sphere. Choose Edit Function.

5h_variable_density

This opens the Function Editor. All we care about is the Density node and clicking on the “Projected Texture Map” node.

5i_Function_editor

Hook up the Density to the Projected Texture Map, by grabbing the left round button on the Density node and dragging it to the other node. A pop-up appears, select grayscale output.

5j_greyscale_output

Select the Project Texture map node. Now below we will load in our mask.

5k_load_mask

Find our mask.

5l_goto_folder

Once loaded you will see an icon of the mask applied.

5m_mask_loaded

Now we can do a render. (I made my density percentage to 83%).

6a_render_w_grass_eco_w_mask

And aerial view

6b_aerial_render_w_grass_eco_w_mask

Now you can trim your snow mask if you want to conserve memory and render time for your shot’s specific coverage. Just paint out area we don’t see to be pure black.

7a_trim_mask_for_shot

This same technique can be done to add more populations like trees, shrubs, or rocks for example.

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