<![CDATA[Envisaged - Blog]]>Tue, 10 Sep 2019 04:52:31 +0100Weebly<![CDATA[Translucent Leaves]]>Thu, 29 Aug 2019 11:50:06 GMThttp://envisaged.co.uk/blog/translucent-leaves
One of the most important things to get right if you want a render to look convincing is having tree leaves act translucently.

A few years ago the only option for illustrators was to use photographs of real trees, inserted post-render using Photoshop, in order to get quality looking plants in their images due to the very large file size of such complex objects, and limitations in tree modelling.

Now, however, tree models are so convincing, can cast accurate, soft, shadows, with much faster computer rendering, that using complex models for trees and plants is the best way to create truly impressive and accurate images
When you buy trees and plants from a model store, however, you will often see that the leaves render obscurely - but when you look at real leaves with the sun behind them they get a lovely translucent green quality.

If you want to use tree models, and you want to recreate a translucent leaf effect, here is how I did it (3dsMax Mental Ray settings):

  • Use the arch and design material. 
  • Set the diffuse map to the leaf you want to use with no reflection map with a white colour set to 0.3 reflect setting.
  • Use 0.3 glossiness and check the 'Highlights + FG only' button.
  • Use 0.95 transparency with a white colour + the leaf map - keep the leaf map bright.
  • Use an IOR of 1.
  • Set translucency to 0.95 (with no weight map) and a bright green colour (no leaf map).
  • Choose 'thin walled', use transparent shadows and backface cull in the advanced transparency options, don't use any bump maps.
  • Turn blur to 0.01 on all maps (this is required for any texture map).
  • In 'special purpose maps' use an opacity map for the leaf cutout map (black = clear, white = opaque) you can make this in Photoshop using the original leaf image you are using for the diffuse map.
  • In 'mental ray connection' use shadow map (deselect the lock) and use a translucency map. In surface material use a white colour with no map. For diffuse use the leaf map and a blue colour. In transparency use 0.5 + opacity map (black and white. Set FG quality for leaves, grass etc to 0.5 (50%).
  • Finally remember to deselect 'real world scale' on all maps and deselect filtering in all leaf maps as well for speed of rendering.

Note that this is only relevant for deciduous trees because conifers etc don't have noticeably translucent leaves - their needles are too thick.

These settings should create vibrant leaves with sunlight glowing through them, and even will cast a glowing shadow on the ground that will look far more realistic than simply obscure non-light transmitting leaves.
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<![CDATA[Scarborough Premier Inn]]>Wed, 21 Aug 2019 13:57:02 GMThttp://envisaged.co.uk/blog/scarborough-premier-inn
Envisaged are helping with the design of a new Premier Inn hotel in Scarborough. The project involves the conversion of the old Scarborough Conservative Club on Huntriss Row into a new 90 bed five storey hotel to extend the existing Premier Inn hotel building. A whole new floor is to be added to the building, with the retained listed brick and stone facade, including the original oriel bay corner tower, extended in height. Construction is primarily using a metal lightweight frame, but with a steel and concrete structure to the front section of the hotel to help restrain the retained frontage. The project has started on site this month and expected to take one and half years to complete with a project value of around £6m.
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