Procedural Vegetation Materials Breakdown
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If you're willing to compile it, Aseprite is a great option as well.

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Procedural Vegetation Materials Breakdown
15 September, 2017
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Bogodar Havrylyuk showed how he build his amazing vegetation substances. It’s next level, guys.

Introduction

Hey Everyone! My name is Bogodar Havrylyuk and I’m currently working as an Environment Artist at N-iX. I grew up in Ukraine/Lviv, where I’m still living. I first started painting when I was 4, depicting different kinds of nature. I got interested in computer games when I was 7. The first games that I played were Quake 1, Doom3D and Blood3D. After playing those games I was quite interested in creating games and fantastic worlds where you can use your own imagination. I think I was quite fortunate to know I wanted to make games from a very young age, so I spent all my time doing games. In 2010 I started learning 3D computer graphics and learned Solidworks and after that I began learning 3ds Max. Then, I started creating game models for Counter Strike. It was quite difficult, but I didn’t give up. I had a great opportunity to feel myself not only as a 3d artist, but as a developer too. Then, I began learning Source SDK tools, and it was really challenging, but at the same time very interesting.

A few month ago our N-iX Game Development team and I had a great opportunity to work with Silicon Studio that is based in Japan. We were working on Sky-Fi VR project and used the Xenko game engine.

I was lucky to work on this project as an Environment Artist and I created a lot of props and some environment stuff.

Procedural materials

I started learning procedural textures a few monthы ago. I was inspired by the works of Ben Wilson, Robert Wilinski, Rogelio Olguin, Mark Foreman, Hugo Beyer and Joshua Lynch.

This learning process was quite challenging, but every graph was easier, getting more and more interesting. I still spend more than 12 hours creating textures or new plant models. Usually, I start working in Substance Designer every Saturday at 10 am and continue my work till 10 pm without any breaks.

For me, the main advantages are flexibility, modularity, and the ability to reuse stuff. Procedural materials can also lead to faster workflow iterations over time (the initial cost of creation is still there, but updates can propagate across assets and variations can be created incredibly fast).

I still sculpt a fair bit in ZBrush though, mainly for detailed architectural textures or interesting patterns that I need to create by hand. I then finish those textures in Substance Designer by adding surface details and generating material response maps.

Plants

But today we are going to talk about procedural plants and how to create them using Substance Designer.

Dandelions

For example, let’s take a look at the way I created dandelions in Substance Designer.

Here are some references:

Before I start working on creating basic shapes I always divide my model into singular objects that can be tiled many times.

Finally we have a few objects that we have to create:

  • Leaf
  • Stalk
  • Flower
  • Bud

Creating leaf and stalk

Sometimes shapes have difficult forms and it’s easier and faster to create alphas or use SVG. In this case I created alpha in Photoshop.

Creating central vein

I always use simple shapes and modify them using blend, transform, levels and symmetry nodes.

Adding surface bumps and veins with surface details.

Here I added some hair on stalk.

Reference image with hair on the stalk.

Colorizing. Just a couple of gradient and blend nodes.

Creating flowers

First of all, I always create only one shape with little deformations, and only in final (ile/splatter circular) node I apply deform noises to destruct tiling.

For creating flower shapes I used Splatter circular node. Then I added some black/white gradation for better blending, after it I used blend nodes with max lighten blend parameter, and every upper layer of blend I made lighter than the previous one for volume and shadows. Before generating normal map, I always use Sharpen node, because it adds details. Even if you use a small texture size, you get a better result.

Creating bud

Just a couple of vertical noises and blends.

Creating the final atlas texture

Now we have all the atlas elements for creating complete UWV map. So here is a screen of blending materials into one large texture. This way is easier than creating all elements in one graph.

Adding some details into final graph such as water drops, dirt, damages e.t.c.

Water drops

Mixed Plasma node with uniform color (grey 128.128), blend mode – Divide. I always use Histogram Scan for adding details to final texture and exposure them all. You can always change the amount of dirt, roughness or any other parameter.

And adding some damages with exposure nodes.

So eventually we have a UWV texture with individual elements. The next step is to create basic mesh elements that we will reuse when we will be creating the final Dandelion game asset.

I applied final texture with opacity map, and then used Cut for creating individual elements.

Completed mid-poly assets.

Weed

The same way as I told before. We divide (weed) leaf into simple shapes and then combine final elements. I started from Ridged Bell shape and created a single leaf with veins and surface noise.

Then I made a weed leaf using a leaf from the previous screen.

Creating buddies.

Colorizing final texture with exposure parameters.

Clovers

I was inspired by Quixel Megascans, so I decided to create it in Substance Designer.

First of all, I created a single leaf as in previous examples, then I created the final clover triple-leaf.

And here I made a couple of clovers, but I wrapped them to add some variation.

Creating albedo map.

I set up a clover as two triangles (one for clover, second for stalk) for better optimization. Eventually, we have one large group of clovers containing just 120 triangles.

Bogodar Havrylyuk, 3D Environment artist at N-iX

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2 Comments on "Procedural Vegetation Materials Breakdown"

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Julian
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Julian

Awesome

George
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George

Inspiring work!

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