Old tree

Old tree

In den kommenden Wochen werde ich hier das Erstellen eines digitalen Baumes mit Xfrog 3.5 beschreiben. Da der größte Teil der Xfrog Anwender nicht aus dem deutschsprachigen Raum stammt, werde ich versuchen diese Serie zum Thema Baum Modeling mit Xfrog in einer englisch-ähnlichen Sprache zu verfassen.

I promised a while ago to write a new tutorial covering tree modeling with Xfrog 3.5. Now the time has come – at least almost.
Over the next few weeks I will post useful information about the creation of a digital tree. This won´t be a step by step tutorial. This won´t be an exact recipe. There is already such information available both on the web and also on the release dvd´s of Xfrog.
Of course you can exactly follow the steps I will tell you – but I would suggest that you take a close look and then start to play on your own.

As the title of this post suggests, this is just the preface. What do we need, to create digital plants? Exactly, references for modeling and references for texture creation. So I think it would be a good idea to leave the computer, step out of the door and look what nature creates in the real world.

So the first step is to step – out of the door and gather some photos and collect leaves for example. Do we need special high end equipment for that? No, a decent digital camera usually is enough. Higher resolution of the camera might be useful when it comes to cut out the leaves in Photoshop or Gimp for example. But don´t let you fool by the megapixel race of camera manufacturers. In my eyes a good lens is more important. A fast lens will help, when you don´t have access to a tripod or anti shake algorithms. Also because its better not to shoot in full light.
And this bring us to the next important point – some points you should think of when shooting photos as base for textures:

  • don´t shoot with dramatic lighting! It´s usually much better to take the photos with a uniform light, for example on an overcast day
  • do use RAW as image format if your camera provides this. RAW files enable you to do much more changes to the photo without producing artifacts
  • try to avoid wide angle shots, this usually results in a distorted look
  • shoot many photos, both closeups for details and the complete plant to capture the habitus
  • take photos from different angles, otherwise your 3d model might look 2D, because you concentrate on one perspective only

So keep in mind: for textures you don´t need beautiful pictures. Boring lighting works best in most cases. And if you need to create alpha maps for leaves, take the photo in front of a uniform background – or use a scanner.
I think that´s enough for a preface. The next posting will step into creation of textures. If you have taken your own photos – fine!
If not: I will provide some pictures for those people who don´t leave their computer, because they eagerly wait for the next step of this tutorial series ;-)
By the way, searching the web also could be a good idea – you will find many beautiful pictures! But probably it could be interesting to go for some scientific websites, let it be to gather background information, references or details about plant structures.

Continue with texture creation….