In the world of Architectural Visualization, the use of normal or bumps will only get you so far. You probably know what I mean, right? While normal and bump maps helped create fake details during yester years, we’re seeing a new trend.
With ever increasing CPU processing power and RAM, we can now fearlessly choose to create details with actual geometry. This is especially crucial for interior scenes, where photorealism needs to be absolute. Normal maps, on the other hand, can’t simulate actual shadow casting and realistic variations and unevenness. Worst of all is the tiling effect created by the use of a simple textured floor. So as to get that peak level of realism, why not create your floors with real geometry as well.
Don’t worry, I’m not asking you to create them manually by hand. Doing that would be tiresome, unless you had a special script for that. Oh wait, you actually do, and it’s been around for a long time. Most of all, it has now been updated to version 2.0, with many new features. Now with just the tweak of a few parameters, you can create realistic wooden floor boards or tiles for your scenes. And if you’re wondering about how to add textures to each element, you can easily use the free companion MultiTexture Map for that.
So let’s get started and explore what Floor Generator can do for us.
First of all, you need to create a free account at CG Source. This will allow you to download either the free version of Floor Generator or buy the full-featured version. Go ahead and download both Floor Generator and the MultiTexture Map script. To install, just put them in the plugins directory of your root 3ds Max folder.
Now just launch 3ds Max and follow along with these instructions to get a feel for this tool:
- Create any shape or 2d geometry. This can be anything, from a rectangle, circle, custom shape to a plane object. Since ver. 2, you can create these in any orientation, and not just horizontally.
- Go to your modifier section for your object and choose the Floor Generator modifier. Note: If you’re using ver. 1, then you need to open and run the script while keeping the object selected.
- And there you have it. Your shape has been transformed into a floor geometry with individual planks.
- To apply a different texture to each of the planks, use the MultiTexture Map in the diffuse slot of your VRayMtl for this object.
- Within the map options, you can open and select multiple textures which will be assigned randomly to the individual planks.
- If required, you can buy these high quality wood textures from CG Source itself.
To get in depth with this tool, let’s look at its different parameters.
Features and Controls
The Floor Generator plugin gives us the option to add a lot of variation to our floor boards using these controls:
- Board Size: You can set the max and min length, width and grout (spacing between the boards), extrude and bevel amounts, and also the pattern offsets here.
- Variation per Board: These options add variations applied differently to each board for creating the imperfection for realism. You can set individual rotation, offsets, overlap but most importantly the tilt will give you that old creaky board look.
- General: These options provide quick controls to getting the entire boards to look the way you’d like. Simply scale them to the size you want, change the direction the pattern flows, change the seed value for one click variation, or offset the boards in X or Y-axis. A nifty control is for setting the Weld threshold for close vertices. These settings apply to the floor generator object as a whole.
- UV Settings: You can set the UV channel for this object, and also flip or randomly offset the automatically generated UV mapping for the boards.
- Other useful settings include Save/Load feature, Updates, and a warning setting to avoid accidently creating enormous amounts of floor geometry that can slow down your system.
Now that you know how to create real floor boards, you can even experiment and create tiles with this plugin. No longer will you have to rely on bump or normal maps for your floors. If you want to try out other floor patterns like Herringbone, Chevron, Basket Weave and Hexagon, you can buy the full version for 20 Euros.
If you liked this tutorial, be sure to check out others, and don’t forget to share and comment. Later, guys.
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