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Better Foliage


JeffR
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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)

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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

 

@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

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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.

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It has been a long and hard way to get to this @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 @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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  • 5 months later...

@Nils, when you say edit the normals in your 3D application, what do you mean exactly? How do you do it in Max or another 3d app? Can the technique be used for hair and palm fronds etc? I have the same issue with several textures where transparent z-write looks so much better and realistic but the water in the background messes it up. Also, with transparent z-write on, my palm fronds don't drop shadows. Is there a fix for that?

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Hi @Scottie Sirius , you can edit the normals of any mesh/poly in 3ds max. Just add the "Edit normals" modifier in the rollout. You'll get it after a bit of playing around.


You can also add a bit off subsurface effect when the normals appear too dark with everything you do. Though it might look a bit strange during night time (too bright); we added a global scalar for that so we can adjust the strength when needed.

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  • 6 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I found another Cryengine tutorial with a slightly different approach on Youtube. I think it's interesting because it uses real world grass textures rather than computer generated stuff plus it shows some shortcuts to photorealism using NDO normal map generation. Also looking at the Cryengine workflow in this visual way highlights some of the similarities with the Torque forest editor settings. The end result looks okay too. I'm going to have a go at it and post some of the results.

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I found another Cryengine tutorial with a slightly different approach on Youtube. I think it's interesting because it uses real world grass textures rather than computer generated stuff plus it shows some shortcuts to photorealism using NDO normal map generation. Also looking at the Cryengine workflow in this visual way highlights some of the similarities with the Torque forest editor settings. The end result looks okay too. I'm going to have a go at it and post some of the results.

 

Please do, it will be interesting to see what you come up with!

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