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JSiegel

Better Rendering Site & C4D

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Hi All,

How can I make landscape elements ie. grass look less like green painted concrete and more like grass? In plan the grass shows as a texture but totally flattens out in a perspective/camera view. Also, is there a C4D expert out there interested in making this rendering photo realistic?

TY J

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Hi Jeremy

You could add a bit of Bump to it, but ultimately, the closer your view is to the surface, it will remain flat.

CINEMA 4D has a Hair and Fur facility that can fluff up your grass.

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Hair and Fur is only available in the Studio bundle, not Visualize, which is the bundle that is marketed for VW users, and has the special side-grade pricing. You would also need the cloners only available with the MoGraph plugin, which also isn't part of Visualize. MoGraph is also needed for the realistic, random distribution of trees and plants (unless you have Surfacespread, which I do, and is great - better than MoGraph for landscape modeling). But there are other things MoGraph is needed for. I'm thinking of upgrading my copy of Visualize to Studio before the sale ends tomorrow - just for those two capabilities (plus Cloth). I plan on doing a lot of Architectural and Landscape modeling, and without the ability to do realistic grass and trees/plants, I feel a little hobbled.

But be aware, modeling grass with Hair will create huge render times, and may be more than most computers can handle. But there are tricks (using clones and xref's) that make it doable. Certainly your scene is very doable.

And a very nice house, by the way. I really like it. And your scene isn't too far off from looking very nice even within VW. Just add a few trees and plants and I think you'll be fine.

And good grass is one of the hardest things to achieve in any rendering program, C4D or VW. I've just started experimenting in VW and am getting OK results with medium distance, texture based grass. Similar to your scene's setup. But it's a challenge.

Monadnoc

Edited by Monadnoc

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I could probably help this render get to the more photorealistic point. If you're interested, drop me a line:

grant@gvzmedia.com

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Jeremy,

One thing that you could do to achieve a more photorealistic render would be to use an HDRI background for lighting. Also, I have found that the rendering engine in VW2011 gives much more realistic results.

With regard to grass, look here:

http://techboard.vectorworks.net/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=110114&Searchpage=2&Main=23492&Words=%2Bgrass+%2Btexture&Search=true#Post110114

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Jeremy & Grant

I use a standard texture called Nature Grass - it tends to tile in large areas, but looks to me like roughly (badly?) mown grass, so it's reasonably realistic.

I distribute plants at the sides of the house to hide the horizon, so the house looks contained within a garden. Some people use fences as well.

I'm still on VW12.5, so later versions should have more and better textures.

Edited by D Wood

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That looks realy good David.

I also use that texture.

Atleast I'm not the only one still in the dark ages. haha.

Jeremy. If you are using a grass texture and it is showing up like that in your render, I'm thinking that the texture is not mapped correctly to show it's actual texture. It could be the persentage or the view that need to be edited.

There are a view grass textures out there that work really well

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That link billtheia posted is a very good one for insights on creating grass in VW. I think Ray Libby's comment in it about a flat surface is a key one ("no matter how good a grass texture is it will never look good on a flat surface"). All lawns/fields have hollows and crannies, and fields of modeled grass always look better on rolling hills.

For medium distance shots I think a procedural grass shader can look halfway decent, and for a bird's eye view is probably the only one that won't look tiled. Dave Donley has a link in that same post to one that he created called "Granite grass". You should see if that works better for you.

And Tamsin is right, adding a strong bump should help a little. I sometimes use 200% bump for grass, even %300 - %400 in some cases.

Also, the larger the real world area covered, the better. Your grass texture should be at least 20' x 20'. I think 40' would be even better, but I haven't found any that large yet from photos.

I am currently experimenting with some techniques for good grass. Most are trying to simulate some of the capabilities C4D has that are missing from Renderworks (namely shader layers) and using noise in a few different channels. It's still early on but here's an example. It's all done within VW. And it's all image based textures so far. It's also done on a perfectly flat plane. I figured if I could get a decent look on a flat plane, it will look even better on a modeled surface (I hope). This is my first project in VW2011, and this is my first attempt at a half-serious render. But I'm just starting, so be gentle. And this is my daughter's 150 year old farmhouse remodel, so the lawn is hardly a manicured lawn, thus the English Daisies scattered throughout.

After I nail down a good technique for image based grass, I'll try out some procedural based ones. And then some pseudo-modeled and compare all three.

This is a WIP (Work In Progress), that still needs a lot of work. Foundation Plantings are still needed, as is some site modeling. The first image shows a background and some trees, etc. and has a more finished look. The second is just to give you a different angle on the grass. But you also can see how having no background elements really takes away from it. Kind of gives you that "falling off the edge of the world" feel.

Monadnoc

Edited by Monadnoc

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Very nice!

One technique I haven't tried is to use decals, with varying image, sizes, and rotations. The transparency for each decal would be some fraction of 100%, and the mask could be varied as well from just a straight plain transparency value. This is time consuming because decals are applied per-object, but maybe the object could be saved as a flat plane symbol, and be resized or edited to suit each model.

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Thanks. The tree line in the far distance was from a link you gave in the Textures Resources area, for free trees and backgrounds. It worked pretty well, I just had to drop the saturation of it a little in Photoshop to give it that "far way" look.

I thought about using decals somehow too. But I haven't delved into it yet. Mainly because I first wanted to create something that is tilable over large areas but not look tiled. I do think decals could be very effective for adding little finishing touches throughout. I'll probably be in touch with you to pick your brain when I get to that point. Which will be a while. Right now I'm just dabbling in VW part time after work. Hopefully that will change in the near future.

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The thing that bugs me about VW rendering is shown very precisely in Monadoc's presentations - the stop-start pattern on the wall sidings and the interference pattern on roof planes.

I have had to resort to avoiding the issue by using plaster finishes or shingles on walls (I have found one timber texture that looks a bit like boards) and sheet metals on roofs, but weatherboards (sidings) and profiled roof textures are out, they simply look awful.

The only way around it I have found is to export an image file, rack up the resolution and print on to photo paper.

If anyone knows how to get rid of these unsightly effects I will be eternally grateful. It doesn't appear to be any better in the latest version of VW - please tell me I'm wrong!

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Thanks for the info Dave, I did not know that. I went into Custom Renderworks and set the Anti-aliasing to "On" and "Very High", and I also set the Indirect Lighting and Environmental Lighting to "Very High". Although I think it would only use one or the other, depending on your lighting setup. It added quite a bit of time to the render, but I think it's worth it. It seems to have gotten rid of the moire pattern/interference on the roof as well. At least when you're looking at it at 100% zoom. When it's zoomed out it's still there, but that's just a screen display issue I think.

I had been using Final Quality Renderworks, is anti-aliasing turned on for that? And at what level?

Thanks. This list is very, very helpful. A great resource.

I'm posting the two re-renders, but leaving the originals up so I, and anyone else who's interested, can see how they compare. I wonder if it looks different displayed in a browser window?

Monadnoc

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Wow, that's more like it!

God knows what anti-aliasing is or what it does. VW12.5 has anti-aliasing but it's either on or off, there are no degrees, maybe progress has been made after all.

There are some faint diagonal lines showing from some window corners - I wonder what's causing them?

You could also adjust your roof thicknesses or eaves mitre so you get the same vertical eaves cut on each roof slope.

HTH.

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Thanks. The tree line in the far distance was from a link you gave in the Textures Resources area, for free trees and backgrounds. It worked pretty well, I just had to drop the saturation of it a little in Photoshop to give it that "far way" look.

I thought about using decals somehow too. But I haven't delved into it yet. Mainly because I first wanted to create something that is tilable over large areas but not look tiled. I do think decals could be very effective for adding little finishing touches throughout. I'll probably be in touch with you to pick your brain when I get to that point. Which will be a while. Right now I'm just dabbling in VW part time after work. Hopefully that will change in the near future.

Thanks alot.

Have been looking for something like this for some time now.

The renders look really great, something I can work towards for my outside gigs/setups of stages.

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Monadnoc & All,

You have put together some really great information here. And your renderings are quite nice. I am almost ready to re-post my rendering but for (1) critical piece of information. "The Tree line in the distance from the texture resource area..." can you re-post that link, or better yet the .vwx file, here as I can't seem to find it. Additionally, is it then used as a renderworks background or is it applied as a texture to some infinite extrusion? I am not sure how that piece comes together.

TY J

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Hi Jeremy

In VectorWorks Resource - Textures you need to change the Show Topics in the Display Options box at the bottom of the page. Display all dates.

http://techboard.nemetschek.net/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=153526#Post153526

http://techboard.nemetschek.net/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=111362#Post111362

The links will take you to the site where you can download the tree backgrounds.

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The (white) diagonal lines that extend from the window corners didn't show up in Final Quality Renderworks until I improved the quality of the renderings, but I'm sure they were there, just not noticeable. Because when I tried doing my elevations using any Artistic Renderworks mode they were showing as big black lines. So I had to do those as FQR with Hidden Lines foreground instead. It's like it divides the wall up into a bunch of polygons wherever a window penetrates a wall or a skylight penetrates a roof. I've tried everything but couldn't get rid of them. I thought the answer was just use a render style that wasn't Artistic. But I see they're back. Does anyone know how to get rid of them, or is this a bug? Maybe Smoothing Angle?

Carl explained how to reveal the hidden texture link. I hope it still works. The tree line was created as an Image Prop and positioned in the background. I first trimmed off the bottom half in Photoshop (which was a field). But you could also just "sink" it into your ground plane until you got it to the level you wanted. Also, since there is no Atmosphere or Environment in Renderworks, except for Fog I believe (at least I don't know where it is yet), I dropped the Saturation in Photoshop too, just to give it a slightly hazy look to simulate it being in the distance.

As for the roof thicknesses, either they are the original roofs, matching up to the original roofs, or were determined by the builder and my daughter and the local codes. The shed roof is built from trusses due to the snow load and therefore quite thick. The air-lock entry roof is built from 2x6 stock (if I remember right), but I've been bothered by that too. I think they should be beefed up to match the shed roof thickness. But it's not my house, it's theirs.

Edited by Monadnoc

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I don't have time to post a file for the tree line right now (got to get to work) but I will later tonight or tomorrow morning. I notice you are on v10, and I'm on v2011, which I think saves down to v2008, but I don't know how it will translate between the two different rendering engines. The tree line is pretty basic, so shouldn't be a problem. Also, it will just be the tree line as the grass textures are still an experiment in progress, and I don't want to post them until they're finished. It's more the technique than the textures, anyway.

All the trees were just the Xfrog image props that came with v2011 (some tweaked for size and color).

Monadnoc

Edited by Monadnoc

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I could not upload a VW 2011 file of the tree line image prop, as the file with just the image prop was 28 MB. But I think you're better off just importing the original image from the Texture Resources/Buzz Box link into whatever version of VW you have, and creating an Image Prop out of it.

Also, here is a link to a tutorial showing how to add grass in Photoshop after the scene has been rendered. Sometimes this is not only faster, but gives better results:

http://www.3d-realm.com/grasstut.html

Monadnoc

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There is a lot of useful information in this thread. Thanks all. Attached is another progress image. Is there anyway to soften the horizon line in Vectorworks?

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Hi Jeremy.

What does an HDRI do to the horizon, cuase as I see the sky is very harsh.

I should also help with the lighting and so reduse it to be more soft as you say

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Wow! Great improvement. All the background elements really make it nice.

I haven't figured out a way yet to soften the horizon line either.

And I'm not even seeing a sky in the image, the sky area is white/blank. Is that the kind of sky you used? Or is it just not coming through for some reason?

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