Better Foliage

Level design, models, animations, physics, etc.
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Nils
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by Nils » Fri Feb 13, 2015 3:48 am
Ha yes, @
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JeffR
, probably you're right about that.

I found that changing the normals is really about giving those the right angle, not just abruptly all straight up. That would just kill the normals on the mesh and make it look completely flat. In T3D there's a threshold; beyond 90° (see pick) normals do look much better.

edit_normal.jpg
edit_normal.jpg (11.52 KiB) Viewed 1647 times

You'd want to change them all at once to avoid having normals that don't look normal ;)
Perhaps giving the artist the possibility to put in an angle?

Steve_Yorkshire wrote:@Nils Looks nice! Any video?
8-)

@
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Steve_Yorkshire
We're working utterly hard to create a teaser video.
More soon! :D :D :D
Chieling
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by Chieling » Fri Feb 13, 2015 4:36 am
What is the performance/comparison between the normal billboard grass and this style?
Nils
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by Nils » Fri Feb 13, 2015 7:55 am
@
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Chieling
Rendering 3d shapes is obviously much more costly then billboards. It takes at least twice as much performance decrease; whole depending on the amount of vertices, LOD's and render distance. For that you gain groundcover that will not turn with the camera and can be seen from any angle; also from top.

Art-wise, you can't go on using billboards in 2015 without a clear purpose or some kind of style or statement (a 90's retro look for example). Billboards would do fine on low-end hardware like tablets and such though :)
Chieling
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by Chieling » Fri Feb 13, 2015 2:26 pm
Oh, i completely understand the need to keep up with the art, but this is also a question of resource allocation and how much, what kind of cost, etc that i need to plan for.
AndyWright
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by AndyWright » Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:08 am
The problem I always had with grass is the way torque seems to handle its transparrent textures, Whenever I had grass that I was happy with in a screenie like Nil's one above, it always used to get funky when looking at water or the sky behind it, Z ordering problems i believe
Nils
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by Nils » Sat Feb 14, 2015 10:44 am
AndyWright wrote:The problem I always had with grass is the way torque seems to handle its transparrent textures, Whenever I had grass that I was happy with in a screenie like Nil's one above, it always used to get funky when looking at water or the sky behind it, Z ordering problems i believe


Make sure you have "Transparent Z-write" turned off (Material Properties > Advanced)
AndyWright
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by AndyWright » Sat Feb 14, 2015 12:32 pm
Well thats the annoying thing, always felt it looked better under normal circumstances with that turned on, however it bugged it out when water or sky was visible behind it. But turning it off fixed that, but the grass didnt look the same to me with it off
Nils
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by Nils » Sat Feb 14, 2015 2:18 pm
AndyWright wrote:Well thats the annoying thing, always felt it looked better under normal circumstances with that turned on, however it bugged it out when water or sky was visible behind it. But turning it off fixed that, but the grass didnt look the same to me with it off


@
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AndyWright


If you edit the normals in your 3d application (or change it in the future with the suggested feature) you don't need the buggy Z-write.

If you use billboards you can use BeamNG's fix; it will set all the normals upwards. The billboard shapes will look a bit flat then so you might want to add some faked shadows onto the diffuse maps. In any way you can finally say goodbye to the faulty z-Write :D :D :D

Edit: sorry the link to BeamNG's patch: http://upload.beamng.com/patches/foliage.hlsl.patch :P
Ron Kapaun
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by Ron Kapaun » Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:18 pm
Gotta say Nils.... your graphics work is top notch!

As for the 'issue' posted here. It's a non-issue. No offense to anyone here but, Crytek, UR4, T3D or whatever engine you use has it's own 'way' of doing things. (graphically).

The issue boils down to this (and I AM TERRIBLE at this), those of us that do a fairly decent job on the art side of T3D need to get better at sharing HOW we do what we do.
Now, I am not all that good. (compared to Nils and his project.... damn, I hope to be at his level someday) but, I know a thing or two that I have not shared simply because I am not exactly sure how to present it. Anyway, this thread reinforces the fact that T3D can do some really good stuff (visually) but, just like programming, scripting, etc etc, it takes a large bit of time and effort to get there. Maybe I should start a T3D art 'master class' thread or something.
Nils
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by Nils » Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:17 am
It has been a long and hard way to get to this @
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Ron Kapaun
, even that long I'm afraid to switch to a different engine sometimes ;)

The main point to get things out of T3D is to first get to know its weak spots and try to work around it or do it completely different. I found at some point always a solution for T3D's shortcomings. It's strange to say, but the weakness of T3D is also its strength (sounds like a cliché :lol: ) The success of the game isn't about graphics; that's what we all know, right? Surely graphics are helpful to get that crowd funding campaign bringing some $ though. To make a success out of T3D you have to let it be that it's not a top notch engine.

I'm sorry I'm always that busy to not be able to write more resources, tips & tricks. The most things I learned are pretty generic though; you can find it all over the internet. and really; my graphics aren't that top notch. There's so much more to learn to get in level with the specialists on the market; but while also utterly busy with the audio, scripting, animation, GUI, story telling, documentation, marketing & crowd funding campaigns (very lucky to have @
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Timmy
on board to keep the engine running & evolving :mrgreen: ) is that pretty hard to achieve; and frankly not so good for ones health sometimes :D

To come back to the topic; If the editing of normals is too hard and waiting for a new shader or engine is not an option, you can turn on the sub surface property in your material editor rollout ( Material Editor > Material Properties > Lighting Properties > Sub Surface ). Note that this will look OK with daylight levels and if you want to use this in combination with night time you might need to script this property to switch off.
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