I’m going to go over how we’re now creating vegetation, this first part will cover the creation of the textures and in a follow up later on I will explain how these are used to model the trees themselves.
So here’s the final result in BeamNG.drive:
The first step is to model the basic shape of the leaves.
Next we need some branches because placing every leaf we’ll need individually would be complete insanity.
1 isn’t enough, usually 4 or more is a good amount of variety for creating trees and bushes.
Now that we have some different types of branches we can build the different groups that will be present on the final texture. At this point I find it easiest to just duplicate the ones we just made and link them back to the original so that any changes we make will be reflected in all the branches we’re about to place.
This is fairly straight forward.
I’ll cover this later but I like to leave some gaps. This will allow us to split the final mesh up to be more complex and less flat (this is very similar to just using smaller and more numerous groups when modeling but with the big advantage that we can just collapse it back to a quad to create the level of detail meshes.
At this point you might see the pattern forming; create a bunch of variations, again usually 4 or more is a good amount. The key is to think about how you’ll use these groups when modeling. In this example you can see there’s a large flat group, a smaller flat group, two long side pieces and a very tiny branch for some detail.
Now we bake the normals and render out the image. I use a basic environmental lighting setup with ambient occlusion to get a very basic lighting setup.
Now import the 2 images into Gimp/Photoshop.
The basic colour probably won’t be correct so I usually do a lot of editing later on to get the right look. I’ve labeled some of the layers I’ve used. You can see that I’m not great at giving layers useful names.
The final textures are 512,512,256 for the diffuse, normal and specular.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading, you can follow the development of Italy on the forums here.
You can follow the discussion thread on the forums here.
Part 2 will come later on 🙂