Carey House Tutorial 02 - Landscape cont.

Following on from the previous tutorial detailing how the basic rough grass was made using Forest Pack Pro this tutorial aims to interrogate in more detail the Carey House scene and look at how the rough grass was layered up with other Forest Pack objects and blended with other surfaces such as the gravel drive.  The complete scene is now available on The Boundary Store

Carey House driveway

To create the basic surfaces for the gravel drive and the grassy verge two separate planes were created and intersected at slightly opposing angles and overlapped by about 1m.

Drive and verge surfaces intersecting

The rough earth plane on the left is the one previously described in the first Carey House tutorial.  The gravel drive plane is generated in much the same way using a high contrast version of the texture's bump map instanced into a VRayDisplacementMod.

Displaced surfaces with override material

The two different types of displacement intersecting one another gives a nice rough join to the geometry as a base and the overlapping also allows any scattered objects on either plane to bleed into one another quite effectively. The material is a simple gravel material downloaded from CG textures with a procedural noise map in the roughness slot to give some additional texture variation.

Gravel base material

Gravel surface displacement

Original gravel bitmap from CG Textures

Forest Pack was then used to scatter gravel across the drive.  As with the plants there are many places to buy ready made gravel and in fact Forest Pack now has some presets for just this thing which can be a useful starting point.  In this case we used gravel objects which we had modeled for previous projects.  We used about 10 pebble objects for this scene but you can get away with considerably fewer particularly if you create greater variation in the transform rollup.

Gravel and pebble geometry

A few more Forest Pack techniques were utilised in the scattering of the driveway gravel than in the rough grass example including custom distribution maps, exclusion splines and density and scale falloff.

Once the basic gravel objects had been scatted on the surface a noise map was used as a distribution map rather than one of the standard presets so that we could gain a bit more control over the patchyness of the gravel.  to create the tyre tracks several splines were created and attached to create one object.  This was then added as an exclusion area.  This spline must be set to exclude in the Areas rollup and given a thickness to control the tyre track width.  To prevent the gravel simply stopping at the edge of the tyre track, a 10cm fall off curve was enabled for both scale and density in the Falloff (global properties) section of the Areas rollup.  This creates the feeling that the gravel at the edges of the tracks is partially crushed.  Unlike in the grass example Translation is enabled in the transform rollup to lower the gravel slightly and embed it into into the surface a little bit blending the displaced surface with the scattered geometry.  This can also be useful if you have a displaced surface which isn't shifted back in the VRayDisplacementMod so ends up in a slightly different position on the Z axis when rendered.

Viewport illustrating the tyre track exclusion splines

Falloff curves

Falloff curves in this case are linear but with the scale falloff only dropping to about 80% so as not to end up with any really tiny pebbles which would be swallowed by the displacement. 

Next we take the rough grass that we made in the previous tutorial and apply it to the rough earth plane forming the verge.

Forest Pack grass settings

As before you can play around with area falloff for each Forest Object to create the best transition from one surface to another.   Again exclusion splines have been used to control and vary the edge condition.

It is then a simple a case of layering up the scene as much as you like to create greater and greater complexity to produce a more natural feel.  In this example we added ferns and spider plants to the main body of the landscape, dead leaves to the edges of the drive and grass clumps to the centre of the drive.

A few further features of Forest Pack Pro were used for the finishing touches of the scene which are just worth mentioning.  For the grass clumps in the centre of the drive an inclusion spline was used rather that the previously adopted exclusion spline.  The thing which is different about using a spline as an include area rather than an exclude one is that the surface area must be turned off, otherwise the inclusion will only include what is already visible. Slightly strange but once you get your head round the idea it's fairly intuitive.  It's also worth remembering that when using Include Areas only use the Include Parameters in the Falloff (global properties) section not the Exclude ones.  

There are many other features in Forest Pack Pro which can be used to add greater complexity including paint Areas which can be used to add more leaves for example, perhaps in a tight corner having been blown there by the wind!  We will cover this and other aspects in future tutorials.