Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Forest Rendering Project resumes

It has been a while since posting to this blog, mainly because I have not been in a place to do any programming work for the past 6 months. Though as always, I have been thinking about improving this project to be more flexible and more able to represent various environments.

One observation is how essential geologic formations are to the character of different environments.

Rock Formations in Hylite Canyon near Bozeman, Montana

Previously I have adapted the forest system to handle rocks as a tree type, which is fine for static models but it became very tricky to have smooth transitions between forest and rock, and for differences in the static nature of rocks and the dynamic nature of vegetation... These environments would be both more flexible and realistic to separate vegetation, such as forests and terrain, such as rock formations.

Another observation is that this Forest Rendering System could be easily adapted to generate farm crops and grassy fields. 

Farm on the Gaspe Peninsula, Quebec

Rendering agricultural land is essential for almost every environment.  The groves and trenches in fields from irrigation systems and tractors could be embedded within one of the texture maps in a vegetation set, and then features such as roads and landings could be added similarly to forests using a modification map.

Another observation and thought about improving environmental rendering via height map displacement is possibility of using displacement to render 3D ocean waves.  Though subtle, this system could easily handle dynamic ripples and waves in the water as they could be rendered separately to a height map, which would be used to displace geometry representing the ocean.

Southern Gulf Island Coast, British Colombia

Using displacement for rendering ocean waves would be a subtle effect, but would potentially allow for fast rendering of an interactive ocean system that could be used in video games or simulations..

Finally, by either embedding structure objects in these environments or rendering buildings with vegetation textures, one could render complex and dynamic urban environments filled with grass, bushes and trees. 

Quebec City, Quebec

I have thought a lot about rendering towers and structures with vegetation on roofs, balconies and on walls.  Such 'green' buildings are inevitably becoming more popular in reality, and could also make for some interesting video game environments or anything depicting a more integrated and balanced future.

The above examples of rendering agriculture, complicated terrain, ocean waves and urban vegetation using both the Forest Rendering System and general Height map Displacement Filtering will be covered in the following posts.  I feel that by adapting this system to handle these features I will be able to render representative environments of most places on the planet, as well as a wide range of what the future may look like. 

Moving forward I am developing a system to support animation and video game environments.

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