226 replies · posted

COLLAB2021 - If You Wanna Have Some Fun - NATURE FG

Fore- and middle-ground nature Assets:

B: FG Bushes **                                                G: Rocks *

C: FG Flowers *                                                H: Creek **

D: FG Tree A ***                                               I:  Ivy **

E: FG Tree B ***                                               J:  MG Trees ***

F: FG: Grass ***                                               K: MG Bushes ***

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  • Hi folks, 

    happy to join the Spice Girl Nature Team :D
    Lot of Rockin Dudes here.

    Will do some Grass here. Never done it on such a scale. So lot to learn especially performance wise. Currently experimenting a little bit with the possible techniques.
    theluthier mentioned particles as one heavier way to approach this. Was thinking about trying Geometry Nodes on this aswell. Should be a more controllable result. Wondering if it has some better performance than particles. The final Result might be some combination of different approaches i think, particles or nodes and image planes anyways so good opportunity to try them all.

    What do you think? 

    • Welcome rstich!

      As far as I know, GN is not(yet)  more performant than Particle Hair, but it does have a lot more control and (once) you get used to it is easier to work with.. And GN, in it's first stage is made for set dressing, so it makes sense to try it out.

      Yes definitely try them all! Maybe  combine different techniques...Think of something new...Go wild, like a 15 year old girl at a SG concert ;)

    • First Batch of Grass in a Matter of Minutes.
      I need a little bit to figure out GN but if you allready know how to use them it takes more time to Model the Grass then to populate a Plane.

      If there is no Performance Improvement in favour of Particles i would go for the Nodes. 

      Combined with Image Planes and maybe even just Texture Painting in some low key Areas..... 

      I thought Grass would be harder but that gives me plenty of room to produce Super Deluxe Grass ^^

    • Just tried how far i can go until my System/Blender crashes.
      You cant use any of theHeavy Load Systems on its own thats for sure.

      Now the Fun Part begins.

  • Question , is there a fast way to duplicate the material info from one flower to all those others ?
    afterwards i realized i did not yet applied those materials so otherwise i need to select each flower and by hand select the correct part that has to be green.
    i know its not visible in the scene and perhaps this will take too many memory but who knows what is in the backside of the house :)

    any tips are welcome too :)

  • Hey everyone,  I'm joining your awesome team, hope to be of help, I'll be starting with the Ivy and hope to help more in the way. Do I have to post my wips in these thread or i have to make new one specific of what I'm working?

    • Hello chepetusa, you will want to create a new "Homework Submission" thread and name it "Collab2021 - WIP - chepetusa" and type a comment about what will be in this new thread. Then post your work there. I'm sure this thread will be fine for posts and opinions as well, but the WIP homework thread you make is the official place.

  • Hey guys! Hoping to join your team.  trying to sign up for the creek as soon as i can get the google permissions. Don't know that modeling is much of a factor for this asset so I messed around with shaders a bit and came up with this.  Please excuse the obvious seams.  Want it to be more painterly.  Trying to figure out the best way to go about that. Other troubleshooting involves screen space reflections, it will reflect the world but not other objects in the scene.  Did I miss a setting somewhere?  Also getting some kind of foam around intersecting objects.  As most of the intersections will be static I think we can get away with just hard-coding the foam once everything is placed. May not be perfect with a moving waterwheel though. Anyway, excited to be here (potentially) and would love to hear any suggestions/advice.

    • spikeyxxx  I came across this video in my research and wanted to use a similar technique for the water shader. You can skip to 3:30 to see the technique.  My question is how to setup texture displacement in blender without necessitating that the textures share the same mapping data. Is that possible?  Here is my current setup.  You can see that I used a displacement node but the only place I know to input it is in the texture's vector input which is where I would normally put the mapping info.  This disables my ability to scale and animate the textures separately.  Is there a better setup you know about? 

    • pprocyonlotor I didn't watch the whole video (although I looove that Nintendo style!), but I#d say: just use something like this:

      Don't use the Vector > Displacement Node!

      That is for displacing geometry.

      I haven't even tried your set-up, I am too scared to do something like that 😱

      And I probably wouldn't animate the rotation here, only location.

    • spikeyxxx Don't be scared!!!  Can't fix it if it ain't broke.  I think I found a solution after watching Bartek's video.  This gives me the distortion I wanted that makes it feel more painterly (I hope) and looks really fluid when animated.  Here is the new setup I landed on:

    • I do not know what you are doing here:

      The Noise Texture outputs a value between (about) 0.2 and 0.8 for all three RGB channels.

      Then you subtract  some value times 0.543 and multiply that by 0.342 and add it.

      What are you doing there and why?

    • The noise texture is being added to the object coordinates to displace the voronoi texture.  The sum is added to another value that animates the displacement.  The subtract node is probably unnecessary for a procedural texture, but Bartek put it in his video so it's there for good measure (it offsets the offset so your texture is still projected from the origin).  The animate value could routed through a combineRGB node to control the flow direction, but I haven't done that yet. I am sure I am doing a terrible job of explaining this so here is the video where Bartek does a much better job (with visuals and everything).  He gives more or less the same demo in the wood shader chapter of the shader forge series here on CGCookie.

    • I am a big fan of Bartek Skorupa!

      But your math doesn't make much sense to me (sorry):

      I don't say that it's wrong, but it feels like there is one Node too many here...

  • spikeyxxx 

    I know its probabla a bit early for the shader and texturing phase. Do we have to use baked texturemaps or can we go with procedrual textures? I have a nice setup but it is not bakable, hope that will work too. 

    here is my WIP so far.

    Collab2021 - WIP - benkroft - CG Cookie

    • Hi Tobias,

      I am not really sure, but I'd say that procedural textures can be used, as long as they are not too complicated (because Eevee isn't very smart and has problems with difficult, or large amounts of calculations (it's GPU based)). Your shader should be fine.

      However, I watched the ghibli tutorial today and it seems to me that that is heavy geometry, it looks great, but is it low poly?

      Keep an eye on your Vertex count, there are about 50 parts to be made (without the back and interior) and if one bush has for instance100.000 Vertices (I don't know how many you have), then that is actually quite a lot imho.

      Now with nature in general, it tends to be rather hard to keep the Vertex count low, so we must be clever here (I'm not sure how to tackle the (my) grass either...).

      Don't give up until you are convinced that you can't get a (significant) lower polycount ;)

      Luckily we still have a few days to go :)

  • @ the bushes, grass, or tree makers:

    Just courious how u guys handle polycount and to share my experience. What is your polycount?

    Did some testing for vertex counts with different modeliing. Hard to achieve low poly wiht details (it looks ok but still high vertex count) . In this example all objects are converted to meshes, no instances, no particle systems. I think instances will save lot of geometry for a small performance drop, so this is my way to go i think.

    Probably alpha planes are another option.

    • i actually like that second one but damn that amount of vertex is high xD still its soooo good looking

    • I'm doing the MG trees and am futzing around with leaf size to keep the number of leaves I have to have for that bushy look down and am using the sapling tree generator.  Maple style leaves are kind of large anyway, and if they can be just a little bigger than natural without being huge the # of leaves can go down quite a bit.  These are probably too big.

      I have a lot of work to do this weekend, but this is 3638 verts:

      The weird dots are because the stems aren't intersecting with the branches.  I can either make the stems longer or make the leaves overlap the Y axis a bit.

      It's not perfect.  I need the trunk to separate right in the middle for that Y detail in the image, and I do think the leaves could be smaller, but it's coming along.  I'd also like a more shell like distribution to the leaves.  If they were focused more along the edges of the branches I don't think I'd need nearly so many towards the core of the tree.

    • looks nice so far. you can use weight paint or vertex groups to make particles diasppear only at the thips of the branches.

    • Check out my WIP thread for an extremely light solution for bushes. You probably can use more polys than I can though.

  • i think ill keep it with these flowers (exept maybe a waterlily may be made this weekend depending if it could be used) 

  • been playing around with those brushes following that tutorial and its sure handy :D

    been testing out the instance collection and still not crashing of course still too high poly but its fun how we learn certain ways to create someting :)

  • spikeyxxx  Do you want me to post my model updates here or do it in discord and in my own collab homework submission?

  • spikeyxxx - I'd like to mess with geometry nodes just a little and compare the output the the sapling generator.

    I'm going to play a little myself, and look for some tutorials out there, but nodes is one of my weakest points so far in Blender.

    Is there a particular tutorial you'd suggest I check out?

  • hello guys, 

    today i worked on the waterlily but i got my whole file messed up and i cant figure out what i did. 

    i was pressing a button and suddenly everything exept the object i had selected is no longer visible (its not deleted but i cant see it anymore) 

    anyone know what could happend or how i could fix it ? 

    i tryed to unhide but thats not the case here .

    that object should be surrounded with several copies of that mesh and with the flower leafs but its nowhere to been seen :'( .

    • yyukinoh1989 you may have gone into local view. Try toggling “/“ on the numpad and see if that brings it back. 

    • pprocyonlotor thanks a lot it worked. was so scared that i lost everything xD 

    • Hey gang. I have been working on the Foreground TreeB. I have blocked out the branches, trunk, and roots. I have made a few leaves in their own collection in order to use the particle system and a vertex group to populate the branches. My copy of Blender 2.92 crashes every time I switch the particle system over to the "hair" setting. I will post a screenshot of what I have so far. I am wondering if others have had this issue with the particle system as well. 🤔

    • ullreym it isn't the Particle System per se; al least it doesn't crash on my PC when switching to Hair.

      If you could upload a link to your .blend file, I can see if it crashes by me...

      You could also use Geometry Nodes in stead.

    • Geometry Nodes sound great, I will need to experiment with this technique. I will upload the offending .blend file for you to play with. It is a strange thing, but I found adding the particle system while still in edit mode had better results.

    • Thanks, spikeyxxx I will send over the link to the file. It is a strange phenomenon to be sure. I think I have a workaround for the issue and was able to grow leaves on the branches finally.


    • ullreym I can't get it to crash Blender:

      Tried without and with the Vertex Group, Adding the Particle System in Edit and Object Mode... all worked fine.

      I think it was Ingmar, who also had crashes...when selecting things with LCS....

      I am using a 9 year old Linux machine....

      But the Particle System is quite old and maybe it's a system or OS related bug...( I guess your drivers are up to date?)

      Maybe try Geometry Nodes, as it way easier to control and randomize the leaves there.

      But if you've got a workaround...

    • Thanks for giving it a try. It was a frustrating experience to be certain. I’m using the 2013 Mac Pro that looks a bit like a rubbish bin you’d find in the Death Star. The OS is up to date, but some of the graphics hardware stopped working with Blender 2.8. 

      I will certainly look into the Geometry Nodes. 😃

  • lotus flower has finished what do you guys think ? any changes needed ?

    edit also created 2 leaf plants (not a flower but its still a plant :) )

  • Hello guys, my name is Dani,

    Glad to join the Team!!!

    I will be working on the tree A,
    I have tried  using the ghibli style trees, it was mentioned in the first stream as well, is that detailed enogh for this tree?

    and will it work with the lighting in the end?

    • Welcome, danitufi !  I can't wait to see how those ghibli trees do. I'm working on Tree E and making it with extruded edges and the skin modifier.... it is a bit more hands-on than the Sapling Add-on.

    • Hey Dani, Thank you for joining our team!

      I think that you'd be better off, using a different technique than Ghibli for the MG trees: 

      Is that the tree you are going for?

      I challenge you to make a tree like that, with a maximum of 3000 Vertices.

      Don't worry if you can't do it, but try!

  • For the foreground bushes, I've settled on using either instanced leaf geometry or alpha mapped planes. Here's a quick test render of the instanced leaf geometry bush:

    And one using alpha mapped planes:

    At this point, I favor the modeled leaf geometry bush as I feel it more closely represents the fluffy nature of the bush in the concept art. Still I'll continue testing both methods since alpha mapped planes may possibly offer improved performance in the real time.

    • nice work , the leaf geometry looks awesome , great work :D the second one is great too but i favor the first one

    • Thanks yyukinoh1989 

    • aartifact - I agree with Yukino, the first one looks quite a bit better.  Fluffier and aartifact beautiful.  The second one looks good, and there are some places where the shadows stick out more, but it looks a lot more jaggy than the first.

    • Thanks wardred  I felt the same. The reason I'm still looking into the alpha planes option is that it may possibly offer better performance given that the goal for the final environment is to run it in real time. But for this week's submission, I'm going with the leaf geometry option.

    • aartifact I don't know how much geometry you're going to save.  A simple hexagonal leave is only 6 verts, 8 if you have a couple running down the middle.

      A square with a cross running down the middle is 9 verts.

      It gets a little dicier if you're going for more complicated leaves, like maples, or adding depth to the leaf or the stem.

    • wardred I agree. The bushes themselves, even with modeled leaves, are unlikely to cause too much of a problem with performance. Still, given the real-time aim of the project, I feel it necessary to explore every option I can get to make the asset as performant as possible in Eevee.

  • Hey gang. I have been working on the Foreground Tree B. I have blocked out the branches, trunk, and roots. I have made a few leaves in their own collection in order to use the particle system and a vertex group to populate the branches. My copy of Blender 2.92 crashes every time I switch the particle system over to the "hair" setting. I will post a screenshot of what I have so far. I am wondering if others have had this issue with the particle system as well. 🤔

    • No problems with the particle system so far. But since I am just working on flowers, the load is not nearly as heavy on my machine than for you guys. So maybe you are onto something here.

    • ullreym - I'll let you know.  I think I'm going to use something very similar for the MG trees.

  • a question , for example my lotus flower and the waterfall of lily have a certain amount of verts because there are several duplicates, when i go optimize them next weeks would it be ok to do the next ? 

    instead of duplicating the mesh taking collection instance to reduce the verts ? what are the good and bad thing with this option ? still wanna make sure it will not give any problems  afterwards

  • This is what I've ended up with. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the look and feel of the bushes at this block out stage. 

    And quick rendered with basic materials:

  • I realy love the bushes!!

     I think it will look great on trees as well, how optimzed is it?

    would you mind sharing the proccess?

    • Thanks danitufi 

      No, I don't mind sharing the process at all. I tried to optimize the base geometry I used to distribute the leaves as much as possible, and I managed to get that down to 170 faces.

      To get the rough shape of the bushes, I started with metaballs. Once I had the shape I liked, I used the Remesh modifier to get an all quad mesh with roughly even quads. Next I decimated it with the Decimate modifier to lower the polygon count while retaining the overall shape and form. Then to get that to an even lower vertex count, I made a quick retopology manually using a combination of vertex snapping and the shrinkwrap modifier.

    • The leaf/twig model too is quite simple. I just needed a "good enough" leaf profile for this block-out.

      It looks like this from top-view:

      Then all that was left to do was use a very basic GN node setup to distribute the leaves over the base geometry:

    • Thanks, I will defently give it a try!!!

    • Your welcome, mate!

    • I'm using same method for my MG bushes, just instead of modelling leaves I use transparent PNG , with green dots and round cube for the base. Today Ill try Your way @artifact. and Ill model some leaves :) This join geometry node at the end is not necessary. Good job with Bushes, I like how they look:)

    • Thanks dyoc ! Seems I forgot to remove that join geometry node I got the leaf distribution I liked. My bad!

    • aartifact Really nice. This looks so good. How lowpoly is it? i have 2500 verts per bush.

      I did a similar leaf setup, but instead of geometry i use a handpained leaf texture with alphamask.

      Your shader looks aready good too.

    • Thanks benkroft  It's quite low poly: the leaf/twig geometry has 224 verts and the base geometry for distributing the leaves has 189 verts.  Like you, I also looked into using alpha mapped planes, and I'm still researching that technique incase it proves to provide better performance in Eevee. The leaf shader is a really simple setup I used to visualize the bush at render time:

  • Hi everyone,

    I'm super late to the party due to some internet trouble. I signed up for some flowers, will catch up this week. I was wondering if any choice has been made as to location and season of the setting? I would like to model flowers that would actually bloom in the specific place and time of year. 

    • I'd say, look at the artwork and let that inspire you:

      The short shadows suggest that it is summerly... but it's art, not stylized realism...there are definitely flowers that do not fit in this scene, but do not feel too restricted to what might realistically grow here.

      It has been said, that Melvin the magician sells his spices here, that get transported over the water by a whale???