3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

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March 20, 2010 |  by  |  Making-Of, Native, Tutorials
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Following a great thread in the finished works section of the forums, Chris (blowback) was very kind to send me a ‘Making-Of’ article about the 3D modeling of the ground cover in the architectural visualization of  ‘Jeff’s House’. I hope you’ll enjoy this article and learn from it as much as I did!

raw 8bt pst 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio MaxAuthor: Christopher Kowal (blowback)
Chris is a freelance 3D Artist & a 3D Instructor at the Vancouver Central College. Check out Chris’s personal blog at: kowalventures.blogspot.com

Preparing the ground.

I started the process of modeling the ground with a simple plane, adding a displacement modifier to it. To the bitmap slot of that modifier I then added a ‘Height map’ that I manually created in Photoshop. You can see the map I used below.

 

3d ground cover modeling height map 728x728 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

To further adjust the shape of the ground surface I added a FFD Modifier to allow for general and quick adjustments. For more detailed deformation work I applied an edit poly modifier and then used the brush tool to paint those details in.

To blend it all together I add, at the end of all the little adjustments, a relax modifier.

 

3d ground cover modeling ground plane with settings 728x407 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio MaxCreating the ‘Gravel Path’.

Once I got the ground shape I liked, I saved a copy of the un-collapsed stack, just in case, as a backup. I then converted it all to an editable poly. I did this so I could detach the poly’s that will make up the ‘gravel path’ part of the ground. This also allowed me the freedom to raise the poly count and paint in some finer landscaping
details and adjust the other UVW maps separately. It also gave me the freedom to add a displacement modifier if needed to a smaller area of the environment.

3d ground cover modeling ground plane poly path with settings 728x734 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

Creating the Steps.

Now that I had the ‘gravel path’ ready, I created the steps. The steps were made out of 3 copies of a chamfered box with some noise and varying settings that were then instanced around. I also added a few spheres for the massing of the larger leaf piles. Again, these were spheres with the FFD modifier added to them.

3d ground cover modeling stone steps 01 with settings 728x494 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

3d ground cover modeling path steps start 728x572 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

3d ground cover modeling rock path 728x516 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

 

Creating the Stones.

Creating the small stones was pretty easy. I started with a simple sphere, adding a noise modifier to it. I then add a FFD modifier, yet again, to drastically change the overall shape, making it look more stone-like. I made 12 copies of varying size & noise levels. Once I was happy with the small collection, I individually create VRay proxies of the stones, so they could be scattered on the path. I also created a few versions of the diffuse maps, just to stretch the randomness a little bit further.

3d ground cover modeling stone creation 728x396 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

3d ground cover modeling stone proxies 728x425 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

Using the Advanced Painter script.

Advanced Painter script (found here at the script spot) was used to paint / scatter on the ground surface. I loaded the objects I wanted to paint on the ground into the list, selected the ground as the surface to be painted on – and started to paint away!

You can adjust your settings according to your needs as you go along. The Advanced Painter script is really powerful… It has become a regular part of my workflow.

3d ground cover modeling stone paint 728x473 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

3d ground cover modeling stone paint settings 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

3d ground cover modeling stone scatt finish 728x477 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

Creating the Wood Pile.

3D Studio Max’s internal reactor system was used to create the wood pile. I am new to it but it was rather easy. First, I modeled the wood parts. I created three shapes and then copied them multiple times.

3d ground cover modeling wood logs 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

I then created a plane and added a rigid body collection gizmo into the scene. I added both plane and wood objects to the rigid body list. Setting the physical properties of the objects is done under the rigid body properties menu.

3d ground cover modeling reactor logs plane 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

Setting the Physics of the Wood Pile Simulation.

Most of the settings are default with just some adjustments on the col. tolerance. Now click on the preview in window tab to bring up the preview window. You can now play your simulation until you like the results, or reset and adjust some of the physical properties to your liking. Once I was happy with the output I updated it to 3D Studio Max. I then manually adjusted some of the logs for to add that final touch.

3d ground cover modeling havoc settings 728x706 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

3d ground cover modeling wood pile 728x509 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

Creating the Grass.

The grass was created based on Peter Guthrie’s great two-part grass tutorial (part 1 | part 2). I will not cover that here, but I recommend you all to read that tutorial and visit Peter’s inspiring blog.

Once the grass clumps were made, I followed the same procedure as I did with the gravel. I loaded them into the Advanced Painter script and painted them on the ground surface.

3d ground cover modeling grass scatter 728x354 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

Creating the Leaves.

Now that I had the grass in place I created 4 different leaves. These were made out of simple planes with a bend modifier and noise modifiers applied to them for variations.

3d ground cover modeling leaf versions 728x486 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

I then painted a couple different versions of smaller piles.

3d ground cover modeling leaf paint 728x420 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

The last step was to attach them to all together as one object. This is where you can randomized the material.

3d ground cover modeling leaf attach 728x402 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

These ‘leaf piles’ could now be scattered around the scene to cover up the ground. I also had some single leaves that I changed the pivot point on to scatter as well.

3d ground cover modeling leaf scatter 728x436 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

Overview of the model & finished render

All that was left to do now is to check all is placed correctly.

3d ground cover modeling scatter overview 728x459 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

Choose the camera POV.

3d ground cover modeling camera viewport 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

And render the final image.

3d ground cover modeling final color 728x849 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

Here is the always needed clay / wire render too…

3d ground cover modeling final wire mesh 728x849 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max

Original Finished Work Thread

You are welcome to comment on this article and ask questions using the comment box below!

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28 comments
ck_1138
ck_1138

The BG image is a photograph. ;)

Pizzaboy
Pizzaboy

Hey, how was the background forest made? Looks so realistic

LexxDaniloff
LexxDaniloff

forest pro - to make by it the similar quicker

blowback
blowback

Thanks Aris,

It's a little bit of both. Diff clouds and then some brush work.

Aris
Aris

Great work,

The heigt map you created in photoshop, is it all manually brushed with a clouds or difference clouds filter? I'm trying to make my own height maps, but could use some advice.

thanx,

Aris

Ronen Bekerman
Ronen Bekerman

Any ideas (plugins) about how to do the actual surface painting inside 3ds max?

siej
siej

Amazing result. Your technique is really impressive using Advanced painter and reactors, it shows your interest and hard work.

Funkdaddy
Funkdaddy

Any reason you used spheres instead of the more efficient, uniform poly size geosphere?

blowback
blowback

Thank you everybody for the positive feedback. I look forward to doing another.

Polysense
Polysense

It's a great tutorial. Thanks for sharing it with us.

LordBYTE
LordBYTE

Pretty amazing work dude, and your render is impressive! cool man!

Matt
Matt

Very nice tuts!

Thanks

Rozairo
Rozairo

Great work of art! & also powerful PC..:)

Ratulo
Ratulo

I agree very good tutorial and superb realistic result. Thanks

Roman Molina
Roman Molina

A really useful Making-of / Tutorial, thanks a lot for sharing it with us.

Pizzaboy
Pizzaboy

@ck_1138  Do you know any place I could find some realistic background forests images?

blowback
blowback

How do you mean Ronen? Are you referring to using the brushes in max and deforming the geometry.

blowback
blowback

Thanks. I am glad you like it.

Ronen Bekerman
Ronen Bekerman

No... Actually painting in color on the surface - Painting in the texture itself. I want to use it for Black & White masking of areas on the surface to later be used as control maps in Multiscatter.

3dbybrunolopes
3dbybrunolopes

Hello, nice tutorial...how did you combine the gravel path to the terrain?

yellowpinkfox
yellowpinkfox

Um, i know it's about a year ago you did ask this question, but as far as it hasn't been answered yet, i thought i'd reply- better late than never ;)

You probably know you could use a vertex color map within the ground texture as an instance in multiscatter distribution mask..

blowback
blowback

Off the top of my head..... I would unwrap the UV and paint the maps in ps and then bring it back.

ck_1138
ck_1138

 @3dbybrunolopes Thanks I selected & detached the poly's to the terrain when I start. I do not attach it back .

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  1. [...] The Advanced Painter script is really powerful… It has become a regular part of my workflow.via 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max – Ronen Bekerman – 3D Architectural Visualization Blog. About the Author: Randall Hand Randall Hand is a visualization scientist working for a federal [...]

  2. [...] 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3ds Max ° Hollywood Edge – New SFX Collections ° Real Flow Basics ° Archmodels vol. 76 ° NASA [...]

  3. [...] Это мой авторский перевод урока 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max. [...]

  4. [...] MERCAVA I think that is simple material with texture, bump and reflections. And here is a good tutorial, with that you will learn a lot. 3D Ground Cover Modeling in 3D Studio Max ? 3D Architectural Visualization Rendering Blog – Ro… [...]

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