By: admin                Categories: 3D Animation

This is video 6 of 10 from Andrew Gahan’s Maya in Minutes video series. In this lesson, Andrew reviews how to create vegetation in the 3D software Maya. Download all files used in this tutorial. For more info on the full 10 part series for Maya and 3ds Max, visit the links below.

Maya in Minutes is a series of video tutorials for Maya offering top quality, easily-digestible shots of Maya. The videos are designed to help trainees improve speed, workflow, and build good working practices. All videos offer help in bite-sized modules, so busy professionals can learn effective techniques fast – without having to sit through hours of filler, or wade through loads of documentation. All tutorials include a PDF summary of the lesson and Maya project files, so the artist can master techniques quickly.

Maya in Minutes:…

3ds Max in Minutes:…

Video Tutorial:

Tutorial Summary:
In this video we’ll look at common techniques used in the games industry to create vegetation.First we will look at the basic techniques of creating grass to be used in-game. Because most game engines can’t afford to model every leaf or blade of grass, the solution we will cover is how to apply texture maps with alpha maps or alpha channels to simpler geometry.

These alpha maps are black-and-white or grayscale images which, when used with a diffuse texture, show any elements in white as being opaque and black areas as being transparent. All gray values will create relevant levels of transparency. For example, 50% gray is taken as 50% transparent.

Figure 1

We will first take a look at creating some grass with this technique. We willexplore the process of how a diffuse or color map can be created from photos, scans of grass, or, in the case of the tutorial, using a render from 3-D geometry, which also gives us an accurate alpha channel.

Figure 2

If you prefer to use a photo to create the texture, we also cover the process of doing that.

We will take you through the process of painting the white area of the alpha channel by painting it manually. We will use the various lasso, magic wand, and other selection tools to select the areas and then paint them.

Figure 3

With the grass modeling techniques covered, we will progress to building more complex bushes. We will take you through the texture creation process once again and then move swiftly on to how to deconstruct the models before you start modeling to help you to create great-looking assets in the shortest time possible.

Figure 5

We will investigate how each plant grows and how the weight of the leaves cause the stems to start bending as they grow away from the center. In the sketch of the larger plant you’ll notice how the stems grow upward and then fall away from the center, back toward the ground, with the stems closest to the ground being more horizontal and the ones higher being more vertical.

We’ll start with the process of creating the small plant first, and step be step we will build up the various types of leaf construction we can use, as well as modeling and mapping the stems. We will discuss various optimization techniques to reduce the amount of alpha to be drawn, which is very important for a lot of current generation game engines.

We will then take a look at modeling the second plant and how to introduce variety in the leaves as well as complexity in the model without adding too many polygons to the model, all using the same techniques we’ve been using throughout the tutorial.

Figure 6

Finally, we will investigate how to build up a scene from the assets we’ve created. We will discuss which assets to place where and why and how to consider composition and placement from the player or viewer point of view.

Figure 7

Andrew Gahan is a leading industry expert in next generation consoles and digital gaming. His roles have included Senior Artist, Lead Artist, Art Manager, Art Director, Art Outsource Manager, and Producer. Andrew is an expert in all gaming tools for commercial game development, including: 3ds Max, Maya, Photoshop, XSI, Gen Head, Z Brush, Mud Box, and Poly-boost (as well as other 3ds max plug-ins). During this time Andrew has worked on 14 standalone published games as well as sequential spin-off products; as well as developing a number of military training systems for the Warrior – Armoured Fighting Vehicle, Harrier and Tornado aircraft.

In the last decade Andrew has been involved in recruitment and development of artists, including theoretical and practical training. Andrew has been a freelance consultant helping companies to develop and improve tools and applications that are used by artists in the digital gaming industry. Andrew is currently a visiting speaker and advisor at Liverpool John Moore University for the MA digital games course; and is an external advisor at the University of Bolton, supporting the development of their forthcoming 3D related courses.

Andrew has judged the Independent Games Festival for the past 2 years. He has been a visiting speaker at Liverpool John Moore University since 2005, and will also be a speaker at the University of Bolton for the forthcoming 3D Games Modeling course. Andrew Gahan has given numerous media interviews, of which a recent selection is given below: 15 December 2007. Interview with Gamasutra magazine Media consumption: MotorStorm’s Andy Gahan. Television interview for with Pete Smith (Executive External Producer, SCEE (Sony)) in San Francisco, during GDC (Game Developer Conference) in the Sony Store for the launch of MotorStorm. Television interview for GamerTV with Pete Smith (Executive External Producer, SCEE (Sony)) in San Francisco, during GDC (Game Developer Conference)

1 Comment

1 Comment

  •    Pandageneration said on May 25, 2012 at 6:19 am

    Thanks Andrew Gahan. I am a student at Santa Ana College. Pretty close to Disney in Anaheim. I haven’t looked at your videos yet, just been reading this page and I felt I should immediately share with my professors, as part of my network quota and routine, every once-in-awhile until someone is really blessed down the line with really getting it. I really like the summary idea, then the video. It helps to absorb. Love what your doing. Thank you!


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