I use Maya 7 with a Dell Precision workstation (Athlon Duron processor, 949 MHz, 768 megabytes of RAM). This image took 2.00 seconds to render at 640״80 resolution.
First, let's create a simple scene. Create a plane (either NURBS or poly I'll use NURBS for this tutorial) and sculpt it a little to give it variations in height. This will be our terrain.
Now, let's explore Paint Effects. This is what the Paint Effects shell looks like.
Some of the icons are for selecting different brushes; others are for configuring the brush, or for painting with the current brush, or using the Visor. I will not go too deep into the options here, so feel free to experiment on your own. This is what the Visor looks like.
And, of course, we have the Paint Effects panel in the Rendering set. This is an important feature, it lets you copy the configuration of one brush to another so two brushes can work simultaneously.
As you will see, you can create a little piece of grass and a large section of it. You can then configure the small part of grass and update the larger piece's configuration. This speeds up rendering tests considerably.
Now go to your Visor and select a Grass brush. Let's start with the grassBermuda.mel brush, this will be our first kind of grass. (I told you before that we need at least two kinds of grass to get a realistic image.
Now we can start the fun part. Make your terrain paintable (from the Paint Effects shell and the second icon or from the Paint Effects menu option "Make Paintable"). Then, adjust your brush size and start painting on the terrain. Create two parts, one really small and another the final size; we will configure and test-render the small part until we are happy with the look, and then share brushes between the two to update the large section.
You will need to create a simple material for the ground. I used a bind with a bump and a single mapped texture something like this.
Don't worry about the light and the shadow at this stage. Focus on the shape of grass that we want. Here's what we have so far.
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