SketchUP V-Ray Proxy Grass

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April 15, 2014 |  by  |  How-To, Native, Tutorials
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Creating 3D Grass and Scattering it all over the place inside 3dsmax was featured here plenty, but with V-Ray for SketchUP becoming better and better it can be done inside SU too with great results and little effort as David Brufau showcases in this short how-to. Follow his process and feel free to jump in with questions or suggest your own methods of doing this inside SketchUP.

David Brufau SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass32 twitter SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass32 facebook SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass32 googleplus SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

Author: David Brufau

David Brufau in an Architect and Architectural Visualization Artist based in Barcelona, Spain. He started his own practice, specialized in ArchVIZ back in 2010 and he uses SketchUP as his main tool for that… along with V-Ray for SketchUP as his render engine of choice.

Modeling the single Grass Blade

You could easily start with a ready made mesh and texture like the one that was provided a few days ago here – Free Grass by Mischa Winkler, but my aim was to do it all solo inside SketchUP so you can see how simple it is.

It similar to how Peter Guthrie is doing this inside 3dsmax as featured on his blog – V-Ray Grass Tutorial Part 1 and V-Ray Grass Tutorial Part 2.

To start, we can easily push-pull two shapes into one another. The resulting intersection will be the base for our grass-blade.

dBrenders proxy grass 001 728x350 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

This is the resulted shape. The segments here are the result of the initial curve detail drawn up above.

dBrenders proxy grass 002 728x346 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

With a quick scale we can make this blade as thin as needed.

dBrenders proxy grass 003 728x346 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

Creating the Grass Blade Texture

You can easily find a ready-made blade texture, but the point of this exercise was to do this solo. To start, I create a new blank canvas in Photoshop.

dBrenders proxy grass 004 728x420 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

After a quick search in Google Images, I find a good color base to work with for the grass blade texture.

dBrenders proxy grass 005 728x431 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

I paste it onto the empty canvas inside Photoshop and blur it out since I only need the general colors.

dBrenders proxy grass 006 728x419 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

Adding the dark / light gradient form the bottom of the blade texture.

dBrenders proxy grass 007 728x417 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

Doing the same with the middle fold of the blade from inside outwards.

dBrenders proxy grass 008 728x419 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

Apply some falloff to this fold so it is less strong up above.

dBrenders proxy grass 009 728x418 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

Adding the blade detail with a simple black and white streaks mask.

dBrenders proxy grass 010 728x419 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

And there you have it!

dBrenders proxy grass 011 728x416 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

Applying the Texture

Next thing is to apply that texture onto the blade model. I’m placing the texture so it fits one face and then I just capture the texture and paint it over the rest so it all flows smooth.

dBrenders proxy grass 012 728x349 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

This is how the blade looks like without the fold modeled yet.

dBrenders proxy grass 013 728x348 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

Adding an additional line along the center will allow…

dBrenders proxy grass 014 728x348 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

A scale operation to be made and get the fold locked in the model itself too.

dBrenders proxy grass 015 728x348 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

Scattering and Export to VRMesh

For the scattering I’m using the Make Fur plugin by Tak2hata which can generate grass, or any other object for that matter, using a variety of parameters to distribute them randomly over an area.

See this video for an overview of what can be done with it and follow my process right after.

Here is my small patch of scattered blades using the Make Fur plugin.

dBrenders proxy grass 016 728x350 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

 

Next thing is to convert it into a V-Ray Proxy object. Clicking on the toolbar export button and picking a folder to save into.

su v ray proxy export SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

dBrenders proxy grass 017 728x348 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

Replace the full version with the proxy version, and also control the amount of triangles if you like. This is not critical as we are going to simply this even further.

dBrenders proxy grass 018 728x348 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

Replacing V-Ray Proxy with Simple Geometry

I’m taking a very simple approach to using proxy stand-ins inside SketchUP. We don’t even need the small triangle amounts generated by the proxy export process… All we need is the patch boundary – This could be a simple line circle. Considering the amount of proxies we are going to scatter, this will help a lot to reduce the load on the viewport.

dBrenders proxy grass 019 728x348 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

I’m picking the triangles and hiding them away, as well as the base circle face – all we need is the circle.

dBrenders proxy grass 020 728x345 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

Or any other shape that defines the patch you created. In this case I made two. I also add a small line point upwards to indicates that so we don’t flip them by mistake during a scatter operation.

dBrenders proxy grass 021 728x348 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

Quick Test and making the Lawn

I’m doing a quick test render to make sure the proxies are working ok first.

dBrenders proxy grass 022 728x348 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

Next, to demonstrate with a lawn, I’m creating the plane on which we will scatter the proxies.

dBrenders proxy grass 023 728x348 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

I’m using the Make Fur plugin again, this time with the Crowd scatter feature which allows loading of several SketchUP components for the process.

dBrenders proxy grass 024 728x347 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

This is how it all looks after the scatter :

dBrenders proxy grass 025 728x347 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

Zoomed in…

dBrenders proxy grass 026 728x344 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

And test rendered too…

dBrenders proxy grass 027 728x347 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

This is how it looks in the end!

dBrenders proxy grass 028 728x412 SketchUP V Ray Proxy Grass

Not too complex and all done from within SketchUP!

In the following how-to you’ll see how I made a more complex scene based on the same method showcased here.

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19 comments
juanjovargas
juanjovargas

So useful tutorial, thanks you very much!

ShivaBagga
ShivaBagga

sir, in bridge SKETCHUP model, which plugin u used to make the land undulated.

it would be helpful as i am new to sketchup.

JoshuaDeacon
JoshuaDeacon

Excellent tutorial.  I'd love to see a similar description of the the river and bridge tutorial.

Santiago RIzo Z
Santiago RIzo Z

Great tutorial! I have only one problem with it, I cant seem to get the proxy to keep the texture map when I load it again in to the model.

Dom Zaps
Dom Zaps

I need processing power, cause I can just do flat grass or photoshop fake it.

juanjovargas
juanjovargas

Thanks you so much for this tutorial, i'm gonna try this as soon as possible :D

aptoverde
aptoverde

i don't use sketchup, but this is a nice tutorial... i have a question: why do you use vray proxy with a small grass clump? i believe this is totally unnecessary... thanks

ronenbekerman
ronenbekerman moderator

Here's a screen shot of the above bridge SketchUP model... 

ngchristianson
ngchristianson

@Santiago RIzo Z  I am having this same issue with all my proxies. I've tried so many solutions and nothing has worked. Someone help!

macker2021
macker2021

@aptoverde  Then you do not understand how proxies work.


If you were to scatter thousands of individual clumps of grass, each one would have to be individually loaded into RAM, creating a huge amount of unecessary RAM usage.


With a proxy, the clump is only loaded into RAM once, then referenced/called up whenever a ray hits it.

ronenbekerman
ronenbekerman moderator

Check the related posts section below these comments - You'll find plenty about MAX ;)

bejb
bejb

@ngchristianson @Santiago RIzo Z  If I remember correctly, proxies dont maintain material information. they load generic colours as placeholders to be replaced. The alternative is to set up the proxy in its own file with the proper materials in play, then save that sketchup file. And to use later simply import through sketchup as normal

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