Matthew Ullrey (ullreym)

38 replies · posted

  • Assets: Nature E: FG Tree B My Work in Progress

    • I started the tree with a vertex and manually extruded the trunk, branches, and roots.
    • I added the Skin modifier and adjusted the vertex width with CTRL+A to taper the branches.
    • I collapsed the modifier stack to make the tree "real" and then created a collection of leaves. 
    • I then selected the ends of the branches where I would like the leaves to sprout and made a vertex group from the selection to use in a particle system.

    I have had a little bit of a "hiccup" with the particle system, though. My copy of Blender 2.92 crashes as soon as I switch the modifier from Emitter to Hair. So, I downloaded a fresh copy of Blender and it still crashes. I will try some other things and see if I can populate the branches with some leaves before the due date. 


  • Homework Submission - Week 1 - FG Tree B


    Assets: Nature E: FG Tree B My Work in Progress

    • I was able to learn what caused the crash and not do that anymore.
    • I am still uncertain as to why it crashes.

    While the tree geometry has vertices selected in edit mode, I added the Particle system in object mode. This is not a problem, but once I selected the hair particle type.... crash. To avoid this problem, I enter edit mode, create the vertex group I need, deselect them and then add the particle system with the hair type while still in edit mode. If I add the particle system in object mode, it crashes once I select the hair. Anyway.... here is the FG Tree B with leaves. 🙄🌳🍃💥

  • Nice job, Matthew!

  • ullreym it looks amazing!

    and, to my understanding, it's modelled "manually" (?) which makes it... even more so!

    : )

    inspires me to learn (foreseeable future) in this general direction (organic stuff, opposed to my 'comfort zone' of predominantly manmade artefacts)...

  • rationalrats Thanks Peter! I felt that to get the tree to do what Vadim had painted I needed to manually place the tree limbs. The Sapling tree generator is great and makes fantastic procedural plants, but I needed more control. I then used the particle system to place the leaves and quickly lost that control. Ha ha.
    Going organic in Blender is not as expensive as it is at the grocery store. It also has a certain freedom that comes from the random nature of the subjects. The sculpting features of Blender are so much fun too. I’m still amazed to have the modeling power of Maya and the digital clay of Zbrush all in one free package. 🤯

  • ullreym you are the second person I noticed, living in the past ;)

    It's 2021 (title!)

    • Yikes! I must have had a spasm while typing the two and the one. Ha ha! Okay, it is now fixed and I am in the current decade. :-)

    • Thanks, that is a lot easier on my eyes :)

      (I should have noticed it earlier, but with so many WIP threads, I tend to just open them, without looking at the title, because I want to see them all!.)

  • Assets: Nature E: FG Tree B My Work in Progress

    • The chaotic topology left by applying the Skin Modifier was reworked to clean up the model.
    • The addition of some viewport coloring to the trunk and leaves brought better visibility to the Tree.

    I spent some quality time simplifying the "geometree." 🙄 I separated the parts of the limbs that the Particle system uses to emit the leaves on the branches. I also added some large simple shapes to fill in some leaves in the upper branches. I duplicated the tree and used the vertex group for the limbs in a decimate modifier to further reduce the number of vertices. Now I am all set to switch over to sculpt mode and start carving some details into this TreeD model using the Multires modifier.

    • Here is a work-in-progress shot of the hand-painted texture being used as a stencil for the Sculpt Draw brush.

    • crew

      FINALLY getting around to your submission ullreym! It's no surprise that you did awesome work for week 1; more than expected. You've earned full points+ extra for the effort 👍

      I was going to suggest filling out the leaf volume a little more (rather than being limited explicitly to each branch) but you've already updated your week 1 version with this implemented. So cool to see you draw a simple tileable bark texture on the left for sculpting on the right! That's brillinant! My puny brain would have required me to download one from the internet. I'm going to remember that technique.

      My only note is that the sculpted bark feels a little to realistic. I'd like to see it stylized with less fine frequency detail - more emphasis on crevices and "mildly sharpened growth patterns" if that makes sense. Here's some pictures worth 1000 words:

      Does this direction make sense?

    • theluthier Thanks for the kind words and all the experience points! Those examples looks so good, I’ll start simplifying the texture and post some more screenshots.

    • Hey ullreym,

      that bark may not fit in this scenario, but I'd still like to compliment you on this one. It looks so awesome to me and very realistic.
      Since I don't understand how you did that, could you explain it to me? Or maybe give a link to something where it get's explained?


    • Hello ttobles,

      In the video example, Kent used a Voronoi texture to add a hammered look to the metal of the wall lamp. I figured that if I painted a rough greyscale image of bark in Blender's image editor, I could use it the same way as the Voronoi texture on the Sculpt Draw Brush. I tried the Anchored  Stroke Setting, but I found using the Texture Mapping as a Stencil and Stoke Method set to Space, allowed me to rotate and scale the painted texture as I needed to in order to add variety to the bark.

  • Assets: Nature E: FG Tree B My Work in Progress

    • Using the stylized samples, I smoothed out the bark of the tree with a combination of the scrape brush and smooth brush. 
    • The Draw Sharp brush came in handy adding creases and gouges by alternating with the CTRL button.

    The process of sculpting has a calming effect as I created the twists and swirls in the tree trunk. I took inspiration from the sample art that theluthier provided in my critique. I am really looking forward to the finished product once the UVs are created the texture painting is complete.

  • Homework Submission - Week 2 - FG Tree B


    Assets: Nature E: FG Tree B My Work in Progress

    • I used the provided art direction to alter the style of the sculpted detail. Knocking down the higher frequency cracks and crevasses, I used Smooth, Crease, Draw Sharp and Scrape Brushes to achieve this goal.
    • There is a bonus woodland creature hiding in the hollow of the tree unseen by the render camera.

    I had to do some traveling this week and was working on the project remotely. The little squirrel is the result of four hours on the airplane. I do not recommend 3D modeling with the trackpad emulating a 3 button mouse. It will work, but it is extremely difficult. When I wasn't in the air, I found the time to do the sculpting with the graphics tablet. This I highly recommend. 😁

    • crew

      Now THAT tree detail is what I'm talking about! Way to go, sir 👍 The only thing to look out for is the polygonal artifacts. Smooth shading could solve it. If not they you'll need to subdivide again to smooth it out. Those will show up in the normal bake if not resolved.

      Outside of week 2's scope, the leaves you have look amazing individually. However they're going to need to be much more cheated for the final effect. Currently they're structure like the real world: Tons of individual leaf objects growing on every branch. It looks great and reflects the reality! Unfortunately this structure will heavily bog down our final assembly scene.

      At last I managed to find some time over the weekend to play with such tree leaf illusion techniques. I'll be talking about it during the stream tomorrow. Hopefully that helps point you in the right direction!

  • The squirrel looks great in there!! 👍😃 I love little hidden additions like that

  • Homework Submission - Week 3 - FG Tree B

    theluthier and jlampel 

    Assets: Nature E: FG Tree B My Work in Progress

    • I finally was able to produce the two maps from the high-resolution geo. Yay!
    • I learned why to create the UV map first in a project like this.
    • The UV map shows some unused texel density real estate. That is for the vegetation and occupants of Tree B. 

    Long story: I had to do some time traveling this week. 🤨  After the week 2 live stream I was so eager to start the sculpting process I skipped a vital step in the production of the Dirty Vertex Map. Yes, the UV map is a necessary step in the process. I had to go back through my saved revisions of Tree B and collect the pre-applied Mulitres high-res model and go back and try to find the base model that had a matching vertex count.  I could not, unfortunately.

    To produce the Normal Map I needed the UVs on the lo-res model, but I made those after I had decimated the base model the high-res was based on. Because the high-res model didn't need its own UVs for the baking process, all was well.

    To produce the Dirty Vertex Map all was not well. The high-res detail needed to carry with it the UVs so the baking process could know where to put the images. Ugh! No UVs on the high-res model. I could not copy the UVs because the decimated lo-res tree and the Base model of the Multires tree had mismatched vertex counts.

    Short story: I had to recut the UVs of my base model, duplicate and up-res it, append a high-res tree, and use a shrinkwrap modifier to capture my lost high-res detail. The blend file swelled to over 11GB with the different duplicated high-res trees in it. My computer crawled for many hours and took long breaks while trying to accomplish what I was demanding of it.

    Leaves: I had made an attempt to use instanced collections as particles, but I was making instanced collections of collections and it didn't work for me. I had to join the collection as one object and that made the difference. I used the color swatch for the texture painting process. I used the three colors provided and added variety with blending modes with the paintbrush. I made a top and bottom part of the leaf as well as a blossom. This is loosely based on the Magnolia tree in my front yard.

    Arboreal Dwellers: I thought that if there was time I could add some squirrels to the tree just out of view of the render camera. The texture painting part was so fun. I enjoyed using the smudge tool to blend the furry effect. I created a simple rig for the creatures and posed them as best as I could with just forward kinematics.

    • crew

      ha ha, love the chipmunks, sorry squirrels ullreym , looks like road kill in the texture map. Tree looks amazing, I had a look at the file, the leaf shape and color are perfect.

    • crew

      What a fantastic asset ullreym! The addition of the squirrels - come on! Such a nice touch. Honestly I think you can call this one done 👏

      After linking it into the assembly file, I tweaked the tree a little bit. Namely I dialed down the contrast in the leaves to fit better with the existing trees. With the contrast of each leaf so strong it was hard to visually understand the leaves as a whole. So I mixed them with a randomized color to lessen the effect while maintaining its charm.

      Also I changed how the leaves were populated and the shape of the population source. Instead of populating the surface I changed it to populate the internal volume of the mesh. This gives a fuller, slightly more random population pattern. Likewise moving around the individual leaf islands made for a fuller, less repetitive pattern.

      • Overall very small finishing touches on an excellent asset. Feel free to look over the tweaks in the MASTER file: SPICE-VENDORS-HOUSE/SCENES/MODELS/MASTER_nature_FG-tree-B_ullreym

      A couple questions I have for you:

      1. The file is saving at 406 MB which is quite large for what it is. However I can't find what's heavy in the scene. Can you look through it and see if there's any stray multires objects or something?

      2. The branches of the normal map have some significant artifacts. I noticed a "fixed" version in the scene but disconnected from its local counterpart. Could you save the fixed version to the TEXTURES folder if I'm interpreting that right?
    • ullreym Those squirrels are great! 👍 It's probably beyond the remit of the Collab, but I think if we could say have some of them strategically place around the scene popping in and out, like the non-playable characters in Mario Kart, it would give the scene just a little bit more life to it. 🦉 And maybe a stray low poly owl sweeping passed the camera at some point? 

      Sorry, my inner Cecil B. DeMille is showing again.

    •  Also I changed how the leaves were populated and the shape of the population source.

      theluthier I would love to see these steps. Some of the particle settings are still a mystery to me. I knew I wanted the leaf clusters to point in a certain direction, but I could only find 'random' settings. I will also seek out why the file is yet so large and tweak the normal map and alleviate those artifacts.

    • looks like road kill in the texture map

      adrian2301 It does! Poor little fella. I'll name him Rodney RoadKill and his friend Peapod.

    • 🦉 And maybe a stray low poly owl sweeping passed the camera at some point

      vincav81  The broom would definitely help him keep his balance whilst riding his unicycle. Haha!

  • Homework Submission - Week 4 - FG Tree B

    theluthier and jlampel 

    Assets: Nature E: FG Tree B My Work in Progress

    • I was able to reduce the file size from over 400MB down to 6.6MB
    • I also did some creative NORMAL map corrections to get rid of the artifacts.
    • The UV map and the other two texture maps have a couple of new items that fill in the empty texel space. 

    The new Tree B base mesh that helped restore the UV's still retained its unusually high vertex count. Once I knew that I didn't need the Mulitres modifier anymore I was able to create a vertex group that contained the upper branches and twigs of the tree. I used the Decimate modifier with the vertex group and significantly lowered the vertex count where detail was not needed.

    Because the sculpt version of the tree bark was so dynamic parts of it did not stay inside the target Low res copy. This overlap caused lots of large and small artifacts. I took the Normal map into Krita and used the clone stamp tool like a spot remover and tidied up the image.

    I gave an acorn to Peapod the Squirrel 🌰🐿 and added strange chocolate chip cookie-like mushrooms to the base of the tree. 🍪🌳🍄 I visited a botanical garden recently I took lots of photos of the plants and trees. One really cool arboreal specimen's bark had these half-disc-like growths that looked like cookies. So I made a plan that if there was time that I would include this detail. Look out for the chocolatey morsels, they may be trippy.


    • crew

      ullreym , this tree is incredible! Top notch work sir, and that would be the case even if the squirrels weren't a fun surprise on the other side. Full points for week 4 and then some! 

      One minor issue I see is a pretty clear seam where the trunk forks right above Peapod. My guess is that it was caused by some of the manual fixing in Krita, and it should be fairly easy to fix in Blender. You can just grab the smudge tool and smear each texture across the seam:

      Once that's sorted I think you are golden. Nicely done! 

    • jlampel What a cool technique! Smoothin' the UVs is so fun! I went through and found other seams that I could even out as well. Thanks!

      I have sync'd the new updated files to Google Drive and connected the textures to the geo.

    • crew

      Awesome, looks like that did the trick! It may be necessary for the cavity map as well but I think the color one was fine. 

  • Homework Submission - Week 4 - FG Tree B - Turnaround

    theluthier and jlampel 

    Assets: Nature E: FG Tree B My Work in Progress

    • I created a small piece of land for the tree to sit on and gave it some rocks, plants, and clouds to keep it company.
    • Thanks to Adrian Bellworthy adrian2301 for the use of the SPICE WORLD environment.
    • I got some use out of Blender's compositor and video sequence editors as well. 

    It has been a marvelous month working with everyone and having an excuse to dig into Blender some more. I certainly do learn better by putting the knowledge into action with these projects. Thanks, CG Cookie!