Terrain Experiments

Posted by Sam Hayes On Monday, December 12, 2011
It's getting to the point in our project where we need to start piecing things together to get more finalised scenes, for this we'll need a terrain to work with. I've been experimenting with different ways of creating the rocks, the first being a plugin into Maya which turned out to have too many problems (big render times, uncontrollable textures etc.) so the next option was to aim for high quality normal maps on simpler geometry.

Using Autodesk Mudbox I've been trying to sculpt a rock wall from a simple base mesh in Maya which will hold up in quality in the animation. The first resolved attempt is below, which should be a good starting point. We'll also need a large rock for the centre of the town which will come next. There is sure to be improvements and I expect a complete new model for the rock as better techniques are worked out, but it should be a good starting point to place our town alongside. I think maybe more references pictures are needed and a more refined colour texture worked out (Maybe even a bigger resolution map) but the using normal maps, the render times are quite short.

One trick I used was blending two normal maps together, one being the Mudbox sculpt and the other a normal map converted from the diffuse. The quality seemed to improve as the overall shape was derived from the Mudbox sculpt and the smaller details, such as fissures, from the colour normal.

2 Responses to 'Terrain Experiments'

  1. Jon Stewart said...
    http://samhayes101.blogspot.com/2011/12/terrain-experiments.html?showComment=1323695306011#c7505109060266377216'> 12 December 2011 at 13:08

    It renders well Sam. Are you only viewing it head on? If you'll see it from some angles you should probably switch on "preserve UVs" and start adding looping and extruding out seperate rocks or something to make the silhouette work from the side.


  2. Sam Hayes said...
    http://samhayes101.blogspot.com/2011/12/terrain-experiments.html?showComment=1323740313347#c3348693116294520271'> 13 December 2011 at 01:38

    Hey Jon, yeh it's only going to be seen from the front, not up close either, when it gets closer it'll be dark and barely lit, so I'm hoping this sort of quality will work.


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I'm a student studying CG Arts and Animation at the University for the Creative Arts, I'm living in Kent.

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