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Thread: speedtree architect

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Nov 2005

    S. Gru.
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    United States

    Default speedtree architect

    well i ended up buying speedtree architect. with this version you cannot hand-draw branches. although they say you can follow a procedure to create a bitmap from a branch with leaves on it, you can't follow the procedures they post on the tutorials. however you can still render a fairly good image by saving the viewport.

    there are some cool things, you can convert a branch to be a hand-drawn object and access the sub-object spline and move points to shape the branch (or trunk). you can isolate a branch or trunk and move them individually or rotate or even delete them.

    one thing i'm learning about trees... using flat other curved geometry for leaves to help reduce poly count, takes some knowledge of materials to have them render nicely - in my case in mentalray or iray (haven't tried the new 2017 render engines yet - not installed).

    my problem was that a large plane or piece of geometry casts a lot of shadows that shadows out other leaves/branches. so my render with global illumination and daylight systems appeared rather dark. there's also the opacity map rendering with raytrace that takes extra time.

    i ended up trying different things. for the longer render times with mr it was easy enough to flag the leaf material as opaque... that just makes the shadows the shape of the plane/geometry instead of the opacity mapped leaves. effective for reducing render time but not good for getting a lot of shadows that you don't want in closer views.

    another thing i did was to set the leaf material, which is an arch&design, to have a final gather/GI multiplier of 5.0 (the max) and that helped a lot! another thing was to right click on the tree geometry and un-check the receive shadows option.

    i export the trees using the standard FBX export options instead of the custom 3ds max mentalray export option, and import them like any other FBX instead of using the speedtree mentalray FBX import script. then i re-wire the materials from being "standard" max materials to mentalray... another thing i do is recreate the bitmaps in photoshop to be JPG files instead of TGA. there is an option to export a separate alpha map for leaves. i convert that to a JPG as well.

    there's supposed to be blending / smoothing but i don't fully understand that and it uses vertex color... again not fully understood.

    i've attached a few images regarding the "darkness" that comes along with low-poly leaves.

    the first image is export from speedtree and then converted materials from standard to mentalray arch&design with jpg instead of tga.

    the second image is changing the leaf material so that the FG/GI multiplier is 5.0 (the max)

    the third image is right-click the tree object and un-checking receive shadows.

    a final option not pictured, is to lighten the leaf bitmap in photoshop with curves or levels. curves can be used in the bitmap editor inside max as well.

    finally, for iray, with few options, i've applied translucency and that has helped "lighten" up the leaves.

    EDIT: the small broadleaf trees are 4400 polys each. the large conifer is 6900 polys. they are meshes. the more advanced versions of speedtree allow for making all leaves and branches quads and does wind animation etc... too bad they don't allow for quad meshes in the architectural version.

    Attachment 54319Attachment 54320Attachment 54321
    Last edited by SgWRX; May 13th, 2016 at 07:51 AM.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member beestee's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Benjamin Steinert
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    United States

    Default Re: speedtree architect

    An old trick for speeding up leaf opacity map calculation was to disable map filtering for the opacity map. Haven't used MR for quite some time, and never tried using it to render a lot of vegetation, so YMMV.
    Ben Steinert

  3. #3
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    Francisco Penaloza
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    United States

    Default Re: speedtree architect

    Opacity ma will always render slower than geometry, the best way to get leaf is modeling close to the final shape and use opacity map only for details. Like Onyx trees.
    Also use glossiness on the leaf so they bounce more light and you can use translucency, it does not increase much your render time.
    With translucency you won't have to increase so much the GI/FG material value to compensate your shadows.

    Also render a leaf ID mat and in post you can adjust the contrast on threes
    "It is good to renew one's wonder"

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