Unique Material ID for Realistic Vegetation – Really cool way to create photorealistic looking vegetation with good variety of texture. Unique Material ID is a FREE script by CG Source for making realistic leaves distribution. Use it via “Run 3ds Max Script” and render it with VRay 3.0’s Power Shader Materials.
It’s pretty tricky to make vegetation look as photorealitic as it can be. That’s largely due to the fact that adding variation to the individual leaf textures is quite troublesome. But in this tutorial I’ll show you how you can do the same in simple steps. We’ll be working with a Bush model with thousands of leaf elements and applying a realistic variation in color.
Unique Material ID is a simple script for assigning a random material id’s to all the elements in an object. The leaves in all plant and tree models usually come attached as elements. This makes it all the more easier to use this script.
Since this process is a very computationally intensive task, the developers recommend dividing the plant into smaller objects. This will make sure that the system doesn’t freeze up and become unresponsive. First we’ll detach the branches from the main bush object. We don’t want the branch material to get mixed with the leaves. Select the branches from the Mat ID selector and press ‘Detach’.
Now do some area selections over the bush and detach them into different objects. Next, we need to create a Multi/Sub-Object material using the base material. The key to adding variation is by using the color correction tools of the diffuse map. Copy over the base material to new slots of the Multi material. By adjusting the hue, saturation, contrast and even gamma, we’ll get the variation we need from a single leaf texture.
I’ve added 5 such materials into the multi material and applied it to the bush objects. Finally, all we need to do is select the bush objects one by one, run the Unique Material ID script and press ‘Unique Mat ID’s per object‘ button. The script will randomly assign ID’s to the leaves. The multi material should now automatically update in the viewport.
In conclusion, remember not to overdo the color corrections to the different materials. Since a subtle variation in color is all that is needed to convey realism.
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