Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tree Modeling and Texturing

Using my designs, I created two different trees that would populate the majority of my environment. For the pine tree, in order to reduce the poly count I created the texture with an alpha channel which would allow for parts of the texture to be transparent. This reduces the poly count as I don't have to model each individual leaf section.

When using textures with alphas, sometimes shadowing can appear as Maya can get confused as to which areas are transparent. I had this issue and in the image below you might be able to see the shadow that occurs. To get around this Shadow Attenuation needs to be turned off, which can be found in the raytrace options under each object. The images below show the pines trees with shadow attenuation both on and off. It can be quite subtle sometimes, however to me it was quite visible and it needed to be turned off.

Shadow Attenuation ON
Shadow Attenuation OFF

To give the trees more depth and detail I wanted to create a normal map for each. I used a piece of software called Crazy Bump where you can input a picture of your choice and it will automatically create a normal map for you. You are then able to adjust certain attributes to give your desired result. I tested out bump mapping and also displacement mapping to see if either could create a better result, however the normal map gave a more realistic yet subtle result when compared to the others. I created the displacement map through Crazy Bump, and the bump map was a greyscale version of my tree texture I created in Photoshop. The bump map, I found was too harsh in some areas and didn't create a very realistic result, whereas the displacement map was too subtle and didn't show up very well. I have used normal maps on my other tree and will be doing the same with the large apple tree as well. 

Bump Map
Displacement Map
Normal Map

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