Creating a Series Pt 12 - Landscape Grass Coloring + Questions

Making Of / 27 mars 2019

Hello!

These last few weeks have been full of procrastinating (no shame): The Division 2, Devil May Cry , Sekiro.
A bunch of good games have come out so I've spent even less time working on my project and even then it hasn't been that much in the way of art but organizing and doing technical stuff which I'll talk about below!


Legacy Project Progress

This week I've been setting up a new region in World Composition, it'll be the desert region that I've been wanting to work on. So I've been properly setting it up and doing all the preperation work with folder-structure and shader-structure to get it up and running. Sadly I don't have anything super fancy to show.


So , I've been thinking about ways of coloring my grass more dynamically. The current way I'm doing it is by using a terrain color texture that the grass is sampling from. However I wanted a workflow that would take my Landscape Material Painting in my so I decided to try out a thing:


Landscape Painting Render to Texture

Here you can see the material painting being painted straight onto the texture that the grass later will sample colors from.


The grass (wavy, blurred area) is picking up the landscape materials colors perfectly


So even with this working, what are the main pros & cons?

Texture Sampling

PRO - Cheaper & More efficient to use a static texture

PRO - Texture Resolution is very true to the texture itself (ie the quality from texture to color sampling is detailed)

CON - Not dynamic at all, would have to export a texture for the whole landscape every time I want to see change


RenderTarget Sampling

PRO - It's all dynamic in real time

PRO - Works with any color pickup sampled from any of the materials I paint on the terrain

CON - Even at the same resolution as the static texture somehow the detail doesn't come through. This is important to me because I rely on having a colored noise in my grass colors so that you can see individual clusters of grass.

CON - Performance , it's quite expensive to do on every frame while you're working. Higher resolution textures are real VRAM hogs as well so using bigger resolutions you might end up crashing or have crazy slow-downs.


Static Texture Color Sampling - Showing that it picks up even the smallest changes in the texture.



Landscape Render2Texturer Sampling - Has the same resolution as above texture, but yet, ends up not being very detailed at all. 

(Maybe I've missed something here, I'll keep looking at it)

Summary:

Even though it's super neat to have it real-time and it picks up colors from any material I paint. I find that the lack of detail in the texture is annoying me since I don't get the same quality. That said, for other projects that have more detailed textured grass it would benefit them a lot to use a Render2Target texture for the whole terrain for dynamic color pick-up.


Questions

So I thought I'd spend one of these blog-posts answering some of the questions I've been getting. So If you have any questions please let me know and I'll try to answer them more in detail in future blog-updates!


Why do you only keep showing one time-of-day setting?

The main reason I keep showing one time-of-day or one weather setting is that I don't really feel the need to explore different times of days yet. I'm approaching this project like I would creating a full-game. Time of Day & Weather is pretty far down the list for me.

That said, I have time-of-day working in game currently, I don't have weather and if I were to show it I would actually want to implement a system for it rather than actually just faking everything which I usually do for portfolio pieces.

What texturing software do you use?

I use mainly Substance Designer/Painter and Photoshop. My texturing needs are quite light, I've never really felt like I need to expand my texturing to Zbrush. It does happen from time to time though but I try to stay away from it since it's severely hampering production times.


Teach me senpai!?

Ehm, I'm still learning as I go myself xD I do run a mentorship with The Mentor Coalition where I teach artist what I think they need to focus on to up their game. So far it's been very successful and I've seen my mentees start making art at a higher level.


Oh well, until next time!

Warping out!

/Chris Radsby