Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Palaeo-Environment Project

I have started the rather ambitious (but overdue) task of trying to recreate a prehistoric environment in my computer.

This effort is still in its infancy, but please pop over to my post and let me know what you think thus far.

I also throw this question out to you, what are the key elements and steps you would to take to recreate an ancient palaeo-environment?

So stay tuned as more updates on this rather large project will be coming your way...

1 comment:

Evan Boucher said...

I'd say, as with building any environment, you want to first plan out the composition of the shot/camera angle you are looking for. Especially when it comes to dense geometry like trees, you really don't want to just start placing objects around everywhere, as you risk over-burdening the system (depending on the resolution of the objects of course). My suggestion is after planning out your shot(s), to use Matte Paintings for the far backgrounds, to get a lot of added detail without having to physically model more objects and place them in the environment.

Also, you can add variety to the various plants procedurally, via scripts, or generating L-Systems for branched trees, instancing objects, or even just by selecting multiple objects and scaling or rotating them arbitrarily. This is all depending on the tools you have available to you, of course.

I don't know if you're familiar with Houdini or not, but here's a cool tutorial that goes over some fun and relatively easy ways to generate a procedural forest. Even if you have no intention on using anything close to this technique, it's pretty cool to check out, and see what sorts of things are out there:
Introduction to Houdini's Node Based Work Flow

And one last thing, another major trick with creating digital environments is finding a way so that ground textures don't appear tiled...sometimes you can get away with creating a massive image file to attach to the geometry, or, depending on your camera angle, you can make sure what's closest to the camera doesn't contain seams, so that the tiling isn't visible in the shot. There are also ways to procedurally generate shaders so that they do not appear to be repeating.

I hope this has helped to give you some ideas or inspiration. Good luck with the project!