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Old 21-07-2008, 07:44 PM   #1
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Default Create Pine Needle Cover On Model

I'm modeling the shape of a character that I want to be covered in pine needles in order to make it look as if it's made of said needles (and some other random litter, but that's outside the scope of this post). The needles will need to range in their state of decay and not just be a uniform color.

I was thinking of making a high point density polygonal model of the character and writing a mel script to make a copy of a low poly needle at the position of each point with a random orientation and with one of several needle shaders. I have a few issues with this which are as follows...

1. Is this the best way to get these needles in the shape of the model?

2. I'm familiar with C and scripting languages, but have never written anything in mel and don't know where to begin to spawn an object on a per-point basis, or if the coordinates for each point of an object is even available to script against (although I'm pretty sure it is).

2. I'm going to have a few close up shots of this character, which is why I want geometry and not just a displacement map, however I realize no matter how conservative with the needles, they're going to add up to be a whole lot of polys. It needs to be geometry at render time or it'll never look right when the camera's up close, but is there a better way to do this?

I'm going to be looking for reference materials to solve this, especially problem 2, but finding that sort of exact information's hard, so I'd appreciate any help, tugs in the right direction, code snippets you can spare. Thanks, guys.
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Old 21-07-2008, 09:25 PM   #2
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I don't have a crystal clear image of what you need to do but I think you can get the look of pine needles with fur maybe even hair I dunno (assuming you have unlimited) and why don't you have 2 different versions, a close up version so you can concentrate detail where it needs to be and another version thats not as detailed for not so close shots?
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Old 22-07-2008, 11:08 AM   #3
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As GecT mentioned you could probably use fur or hair for this kind of effect.

Another way you could potentially do it (and how I would personally attempt something like this) would be to make your model a particle surface emiiter and instance various size needles on to the particles on the surface, you could then use per particle attributes and so on, could probably also do this for the scale of the needles.

Theres a general idea of how to go about it, if ya need some more help just ask and I shall see what else I can do.

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Old 22-07-2008, 11:21 AM   #4
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Default Thank You Both

Those are both really good ideas. I've been messing around with the hair and it looks like with the dynamics off it can potentially give me what I want once I learn all the parameters available. The particle emitter route sounds like a good option as well with some more fine control over the shape of the needles. I'll mess around with both and see what gives me a better look/render ratio.

Oh, and I was considering creating a lower-res model for wide shots, but I wanted to be able to push in on the character without doing anything hinky in post. Plus, the output will be at least 1280x720 and not SD, so the low-res version would have to be really...really visually similar to the full-res for it to look right in anything but very wide shots.
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