[rendering] Digital Nature

It’s not exactly an easy thing, to digitally create natural elements. By comparison, buildings are easy. But for years we have been working to make a thing that allows us at SimpleTwig to deliver the highest quality natural scenes in real time 3D.

Part 1: In-house Studies:

Please watch in high definition.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRz80PPqMcQ&w=768&h=460]

Note: the above is a quick lower resolution study to run through the steps to create an animation, noting that the water and plants are also animated.  We often check out different software engines to determine which one suits are production methods and produces the best results.

Scope of Work: With the tools we have and tools we’ve created, we were able to assemble this in just 2+ days. First we had to create the terrain, then over the course of doing every thing else, modify and sculpt it to perfection. We added some 15 varieties of plant species, each a variation of the original creating thousands of variations, added sprites, bump and normal mapping, fog, time of day settings, clouds, sun rays, water, voxels (tunneling), animals (birds and butterflies), bridges, tracks, roadway, signs, buildings, undergrowth and much more. Just perfecting the video took almost an entire day with setting up the timeline, and creating a flow graph for it to function properly, the exporting/importing of images, editing of video.


This is a ‘live’ digital study, that is, one can, in real time, walk through this environment and see the water, plants, fish, butterflies and other environmental elements freely move through the environment or be influenced by the wind. It is very impressive. The negative of this program is that the user must have the software installed on their computer to view it in real time, so we are left with animations of what is capable from this program only, or for the client to do their ‘virtual reality’ walkthrough in our office, or have them purchase a computer and software to use it ‘on-site’.




What the above shows is a real time demo.  That is, you can see my cursor, hear me clicking to start, and again to launch a predetermined camera path, all while seeing real time updates of the water, shadows and animated natural elements.  Even the sun and clouds are animated in real time meaning eventually that sun will set below the horizon.  This engine cost is $100,000+.  Note that one does not need to use a camera path, but can just ‘walk around looking in the direction they choose.’




Part 2: Past Digital Nature

Represents a combination of modeled, and carefully placed digital vegetation.










Part 2: Future Work:

Represents a fully functional natural components, which can be animated and video recorded.  What it can not do is allow an end user to walk through it in real time.

Below are some examples of the robust computer system and software we now have, as a result of the study above.  Using 3dsMax, Vue, VRay, Scatter and other programs we were able to generate these very realistic landscapes without issue, featuring full volume metric clouds and fog, yes you can both walk through the clouds or have them move past the camera.







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