Self Motivated Project
Software Used: 3D Studio Max, Photoshop & UDK
My main motivation behind this project was my desire to learn more about the process of creating game ready foliage assets. I decided to create a hillside/landscape scene to alllow me to focus my efforts primarily on the foliage of the scene.
Composition, Terrain Edit & Layers
I started this project by creating a tesselated plane and importing it to UDK. I then used the TerrainEdit sculpting tools to get a desirable look while trying to lock off a camera view with composition in mind. Using the Terrain Layer Setup I then projection painted a grass & dirt texture (sourced from CG Textures) that I made tileable in Photoshop to the terrain.
Asset Creation & Application
I modelled my high poly foliage in 3D Studio Max, applied suitable materials and rendered them to a texture (baking: diffuse, normal and alpha maps). I then created the low poly meshes starting with a plane which had the baked maps applied to its material and made sure to preserve UVs under edit geometry (editable poly modifier). This allowed me to place areas of the maps directly onto the mesh without them warping or having to create sepereate UVs, providing a quick and non-destructive workflow.
To allow for variation in my foliage I used the Bend & FFD modifiers to quickly produce different shapes, sizes etc.
Materials & Asset Placement
I created a master material in UDK which can be instanced and applied to any foliage asset. The material adds a custom light model to the shader and specular channel as well as applies a 2D panning effect to mimic the effect of minor wind movements.
When it came to placing the assets in engine, I hand placed a few of the larger rocks to suit the rough composition I had in mind. I then used UDKs foliage mode to place the grass, add touches of flowers here & there and scatter out a few smaller rock assets.
It should be noted that the Rocks seen in this project were created by me but as part of a different project and reused to allow me to focus more on learning a solid foliage workflow.