Hi Elliott, This is a great breakdown and very generous in sharing your process and insights, you came a long way from the vending machine days!
Are you planning on releasing the UE4 project to the public? Or only builds? I'd love to play around with it in the editor if possible!
Check out a useful shader for Marmoset Toolbag 3 by Chris Perrella, a senior shader artist at Insomniac Games. The pack features a shader extension for foliage shading and animation.
- Animation using vertex displacement based on Crytek procedural animation. Vertex color provides information to the Detail Bending settings in the material.
- Red channel is used for stiffness of the leaves’ edges.
- Green is used for per-leaf variation.
- Blue is overall stiffness of the plant.
- Documentation is available here.
- Custom lighting for foliage materials, using a physically based half-lambert diffuse shading model with variable light wrap and shadow opacity.
- A sample scene with vertex painted meshes is provided. (Textures not included with the download).
- Download “foliage_tb3.zip” from Gumroad
- Unzip file to your “C:\Program Files\Marmoset\Toolbag 3\data\shader\mat\custom” folder
- Launch Toolbag 3
- Select a shader and scroll to the bottom section of the material attributes tab.
- Click the triangle on the right and select “Custom”
- Click the triangle next to “Shader” and select “foliage_shading.frag”