On to the vegetation
The vegetation was the hardest part in the project. How can you make millions of grass strands convincing, without blowing up you're computer, or render times. The answer I choose was simply using opacity maps. In the first tests I did used grass planes, which where simply planes with a grass texture on it. This texture was composed with 3 or 4 different grass strands from the total textures 10 cd, so I'm sorry I can't share the texture with you, because I think 3d total wouldn't like it very much.When I finally got the texture set, I started duplicating my grass planes, but when I rendered my scene I saw this wasn't working out with the lightning, since they are planes, they all looked very flat, and the light could not really interact with the grass. Sometimes it even made some awful bright spots on the planes when they faced a bit too much to the light. So I had to come up with an other way to fix this.
Finally I got the idea to make cylinders and then apply a texture to it so it's mapping 360 degrees around it. The cylinders where made using planes with 3 length segments and 12 horizontal segments, it was bended 360 degrees in X axis, so it actual became a real plane. I also applied a FFD 3x3x 3 modifiers to taper the upper part of the cylinder (so it has that bended grass look when it all comes together). Finally and very imported this time is to really apply a UVW map set to cylinder (fit), when you forget it this time, hell brakes loose when you're texturing it.
I came up with the the texture you see below which was the same as the first, only horizontally copied a couple of times. I came out with the one below.
The 3d total texture collections come with their own alpha maps, which provide transparency for the texture. But since my texture was modified, I had no alpha map for it, so I had to make one myself. This was the trick:
In Photoshop make sure you're texture is flattened (but save it first as a .psd). Then simply desaturate the texture, and then invert it. Be sure to desaturate it first, and then invert, or else it isn't going to work. When it's inverted adjust the brightness (make it brighter), then adjust the contrast which usually has to be more then the brightness, but be careful, you have to find a balance between them, or else the edges get jagged, and the opacity map will not fit correctly. When you have your opacity map save it as a new .jpg.
It's very important to keep your textures well organized, and I usually make a new folder when I start a new project
I usually have my textures named like this (with a grass texture as example):
for color maps: Grass
For bump: Grass Bump
For opacity Grass Mask
For specular level, glossiness: I usually use the Grass Bump
For specular color: I usually use the color map
You now have yourself a alpha map or opacity map (just pick the term that suites you most J ). And then, well you have to make yourself a material (standard) in 3ds max (or your software package). For diffuse, select bitmap and then choose your color map (In bitmap controls I usually turn the blur setting to 0,01). For opacity select your opacity map the same way how you did for diffuse (also blur 0,01). You now can add a bump map, for some more depth. This is pretty much the material for the grass. I almost forgot, but I cloned the grass materials 2 times and added a darker grass color map to the diffuse, and a lighter one. (this will create more randomness in the final result). Finally I cloned the grass cylinder 2 times, so I now have 3 grass cylinders with 3 grass materials, one dark, one middle and one lighter.
Now the really fun part starts. For placing the grass I didn't chose for scattering, since I knew I then would encounter many problems with the footpath, and the water. So I placed all grass cylinders manually. This really trains your nerves J. But remember keep the numbers of the cylinders with the 3 colors a bit equal, so one does not pop out of scene.
The grass now interacted much and much better with the light. Since the bright side of the grass and the shadow side of the grass now faded over in each other.
About the trees, they where made using the same method, only they where bended 45 degrees, and they had a higher bump value since they are much larger this gives the trees a bit more depth. Also here I added some different color maps (lighter and darker ones) to make the scene look more organic.
The plant climbing up the roof is not a real model, bit it's a plane folded over the roof. The plane has 8 length segments and 4 width segments. Its folded over the roof tiles like shown on the right. The material for this plant is a tiny bit different, because the plane uses the VRayDisplacementMod. You can see my settings, object and material settings below. The map you see (klimop.jpg, is just a desatured version of the color map I used. I hope this is enough, or otherwise you can always mail me for any questions;)
The texturing will be told in the next part of this making of
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