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"Alice in Wonderland"
Added on: Mon Aug 06 2001
Page: 2 3 4 5 6 

While the techniques discussed and terms used here are largely specific to 3DS Max, this article may still be of some general interest and use to those who use other programs. Also, take note that I have skipped over many of the more basic details and procedures, hopefully the result is not entirely incomprehensible.

When building the environment for the scene I started with a large, flat plane, to which I applied a noise modifier, thus giving it a lumpy, uneven surface. The paving stones were built from a chamfer box that was cloned many times then given a fairly complex material made by mixing various sand and dirt bitmaps as well as procedural noise. It is best to never use straight noise as a texture, as it appears too simple and lacks the
kind of subtle variation that makes real objects appear interesting.

Also, I always try to keep materials subtle, too many objects with strong, saturated colour will result in a chaotic, unpleasant looking image. Too much contrast between dark and light in the textures will drown out the object�s form, making it appear flat and indistinct in much the same way that a zebra�s stripes break up its form to make it more difficult for predators to hunt.

It was also important to make sure that each of the paving stones was not exactly the same, thus I transformed and rotated the UVW mapping gizmo slightly for each of them so as to avoid clear repetition. I then carefully moved and rotated each of the paving stones so that they followed the form of the underlying ground plane. I gave the ground plane a dark brown texture though in the end it is so covered in grass and pavement that I think it can�t be seen.

The blades of grass were built from very tall, flat pyramid primitives with a few height segments a slight curve from a bend modifier. This grass blade was then used as the source for a scatter compound object, and the ground plane used as its distribution object. I turned off perpendicular, gave the blades some random rotation and variation in scale, turned on "hide distribution object", and made only about two percent of the grass visible. I made the number of blades 30,000, this means fairly slow renderings so it is important to keep the scatter object simple. I also gave the grass some variation in colour by giving it a UVW map and a green, grasslike bitmap in the diffuse colour

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