Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Bryce landscape ... with Foleypro trees. Nice!

The Bryce landscape inspires the scene ... it started as a render of a morning on a hillside in an alpine region where you have blue rolling hills and pine trees, and mossy grass, and big skies ... and it's the perfect camping trip. Hence, our hunk of the moment is out there enjoying the fresh air ... looking a bit reflective; contemplating life in the big smoke, and maybe not going back!

The landscape at the beginning of all this was done entirely in Bryce 5.5: 

Here, you have one of the amazing Bryce skies ... and they are the easy part. Then the rest of it was built up in layers: 1) the blue rolling hills in the background; the dark ridge line in the middle distance; the wide, deep middle ground, with the mossy grass overlying a kind of sandstone that's breaking through the surface with rain-erosion ... and then the boulders and pool in the foreground. It's made of five BIG terrain objects, a water plane, the sky, about 1o little grassy plants, and then the magic: TREES!!

How long have I been saying, "What this needs is trees!" 

But on the other hand I'm not at all happy with the 3D trees which are added by Bryce. They just don't look even vaguely realistic ... whereas the Foleypro 2D trees do actually look realistic enough to use them quite close to the camera position, especially if you're going to use lighting effects. (Speaking of which, the Bryce landscape you see here is lit by two BIG radial lights ... and it took about three hours to render, even on a quad core!)

Result: gorgeous!

The other Big Thing that happened today art-wise, was an experiment. Dave has been playing around with a program called Terragen, which also creates landscapes -- it does it VASTLY differently. It does it much faster than Bryce. You can make terrains in a twinkling by comparison with the work that goes into doing a Bryce terrain...

And we discovered that Terragen will export a Lightwave Object model (.LWO file), and meanwhile (!!) Bryce will import an .LWO file. So:

This mountain lake was done in about 5 minutes flat! The terrain was done in Terragen ... it was exported to the .LWO file format, which was imported into Bryce. Then I applied the materials in Bryce, and made a water plane and told it to be crystal clear, calm and reflective ... and I did a nice Bryce sky (which is the easy part), and did a default-rez render.

Umm ... interesting, isn't it?!

But the thing I promised to talk about (save the best till last) is the TREES. I admit, I did give myself a bit of a panic when I unpacked the Bryce Materials Collection, because they unzipped into .OBP files, and being one step short of a newbie at Bryce, I was scratching my head ... what the heck do you do with an OBP?! Turns out, this is an "object preset," and you don't open them with the program, you install them into the program.  You go into your "Create" flyout menu, and click on "user." Basically, a large empty list appears ... you fill it by importing OBP files. Then, when you want to add one of your OBPs to a scene, go Create > User, select your file and click OK. Simple as that! Woof. Got that one figured out. Next?!!

Jade, 26 March

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