Itoo Software Forum

Author Topic: How to mask an area with trees for animation.  (Read 1723 times)

satoer

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 20
How to mask an area with trees for animation.
« on: March 20, 2014, 05:26:35 PM »
Hi all,

First of all, I really like the speed of this plugin. Finally I can paint trees in 3D max like paint effects in Maya.

I’ve a question though. Hope someone can point me in the right direction to solve this. What I want to create is a Jungle with flying helicopters over it. The Jungle part is not a problem. Also I understand how I can animate the trees… But is it possible to animate the trees directly under the helicopters so they react to the downwash of the helicopter? I’ve already seen in tutorials the trees can interact with other objects. Is it possible create a animated mask over an area and animate the trees inside the mask (fading outwards?)

Thanks for reading. Cheers Michel

Michal Karmazín

  • iToo Software
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1483
Re: How to mask an area with trees for animation.
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2014, 06:09:55 PM »
Hi,

Thanks a lot for your kind words about our software. Hope you are enjoying it.  ;)

This can be done having two Forest objects. You can link a spline to your helicopter and in first Forest object use it as Exclude Area. In this one the trees animation will be disabled. Copy this Forest object and now use the spline as Include Area, the main surface should be disabled not to duplicate the trees on the rest of the terrain. This Forest object will be animated. Please check attached screenshots illustrating it.

Hope it´ll work for you.

satoer

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: How to mask an area with trees for animation.
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2014, 10:59:21 PM »
Hi Michal,

Thanks for the fast and detailed response. This really helps me.

But I’ve still some “troubles” using this approach. I’ve made and rendered a test scene. The problem is the border between still and animated trees. When the spline mask is non animated it’s all okay, but when I animate the mask the new animated trees suddenly pop in. there isn’t a transition zone from still to animated.

Here’s a low res render, but you can see the “popping” : http://youtu.be/eY6Ml2a7Xh8

Using this same approach I could use more than one spline mask. Circle in a circle in a circle.. and give each outer ring a custom animated tree ranging from smooth to heavy. Anyway, it’s becoming much too complicated.

Wouldn’t it be cool if there’s an animation option like this build in Forest pack?
I’ll explain:

I’t needs to work a bit like the Morpher modifier. Create one static object (a box for example) Duplicate (copy, no instance) that box and animated it (with a twist modifier or something). Put a Morpher modifier on the static object and point the target/ channel to the animated version. Thick “Automatically reload targets” and you’re done.
Now press play en while the animation is running increase the morphvalue… How Higher the value, the heavier the animation becomes…

In the forrest pack there is a falloff value on the border…
Use a comparable option with that falloff value in the new animation option acting like the morphvalue in my explanation above, and the animation smoothly transistions in.

I think this option is not only handy for the problem I have currently, but can create a lot of fun other possibilities animating with forest pro when using other objects than trees.


Any ideas?
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 09:12:08 AM by satoer »

Paul Roberts

  • iToo Software
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1551
Re: How to mask an area with trees for animation.
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2014, 10:57:19 AM »
Hi Michel,

Thanks for the suggestions, we always value feedback from our users.

Using this alternative approach it may, to a certain extent, be possible to do what you describe using Animation>Frame From Map. A new feature introduced in the current beta. Using this it is possible to control an instance's animation using a grayscale map. If the map is animated from black to white  - the instances will run through the animation frames specified in the Start & End value boxes.

Creating these maps could be done in an external package and imported as a animated bitmap. Or depending on your renderer it may be possible to create them procedurally. In the file attached you will find an example that uses the VRayDistanceTex Map. To recreate it you can follow these steps.

  • Use a surface as a scatter area. I find that V-Ray VRayDistanceTex maps gives better results with solid objects so I'd also add a shell modify to the surface if you can
  • Create a sphere (or other shape). This will be used to determine size and shape of the area of trees to be animated. Open Object Properties and turn off Renderable. I've also set it to Display as Box to better see the effect in the viewports
  • Go to theAnimation rollout of the Forest object and turn on Frame From Map, Set the Start and End values for the animation range you wish to use on the animated item.
  • Click on the Map slot and then select a VRayDistanceTex map. Instance this into the material editor

  • From the VRayDistanceTex Objects rollout, click Add and select the sphere from the scene.
  • The Far Colour is used in the area outside the sphere and the Near colour is the area inside. the Distance value controls a falloff between the two.
  • In this example the far colour is white so anything outside the sphere will be locked to the last frame of animation.
  • For the near colour to make the animation play, animate from black to white. If you want it to repeat open the curve editor and set the Parameter Curve Out of Range Type to Loop

  • That should be it! - wherever the sphere instersects the ground plan you should now get animated geometry, with a controllable falloff.

I hope that helps.

Many thanks,

Paul
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 11:04:01 AM by Paul Roberts »
Paul Roberts
iToo Software

satoer

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: How to mask an area with trees for animation.
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2014, 12:42:28 PM »
Hi Paul,

Again, thanks for the support. I'll try your alternative solution. Sounds good.
Hope the Beta is as stable as the current version.

Ill post my experience. Thanks for sharing a example file.

satoer

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: How to mask an area with trees for animation.
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2014, 03:50:56 PM »
Thanks Paul,

The "frame to map" is a great addition to the plugin and really solves my problem. I've never used the VRayDistanceTex map so I did some studying how this exactly worked. Real smart solution to animate the near color to repeat the animation if the "mask" object is static. I've used a cylinder instead of a sphere to get the inside also animated. The only "problem" I have is that the timing of the animation starts at the same time. it would be nice if the start of the animation could randomize between the "start" and "end" points. Don't think its a real problem for my case but it would be a nice extra feature.

Learned a lot from your approach. Like how I can animate tree branches by selecting the outer vertexes with a soft selection and animate that with a noise.

Anyhow, as I said, great addition... this way you also can let the grass interact with footsteps without complicated and resource hungry collision detection.



Paul Roberts

  • iToo Software
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1551
Re: How to mask an area with trees for animation.
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2014, 05:11:36 PM »
Hi Michel,

Thanks for all the kind words, we're glad the new features are already proving useful :)

Regarding the problem with the animated instances all playing in sync. It might be possible to use a black and white animated noise map in the Near map slot of the VRayDistanceTex map, that way the instances would all be slightly offset. It didn't occur to me before but it should work.

Many thanks,

Paul

Paul Roberts
iToo Software

satoer

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: How to mask an area with trees for animation.
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2014, 06:22:12 PM »
Again... real smart solution! I was thinking to use a Z-distorted object to generate a offset VRayDistanceTex map. But your solution is way better and simpler. Yeah, keeping things simple is the hardest way to do ;-)

Works great!