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Creating Fabric Drapes in Bryce

Author: Zhan

Tools Needed

  • PaintShop Pro
  • Photoshop
  • Bryce

Introduction

Intro: This tutorial will take you through the steps necessary to create a 3D fabric drape in Bryce using terrains. This is the second in a series of easy to do terrain modification tutorials, to get an assortment of effects in Bryce. To prep for creating any type of fabric drape, I suggest studying how fabrics drape over and on different surfaces in everyday life.

Fabrics have different draping qualities depending on the fibers of which they are made, and how they are put together, woven or knit, i.e., cotton and linen weaves are mostly stiff because of the short fibers used, frailles are slinky because the fibers are crimped before weaving, silks can be either stiff or slinky depending on the 'weight' of the woven fiber, the list goes on but these are some examples. The image shows the finished drape that can be achieved with this tutorial…

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Step 1 - Getting started in PSP

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Open your paint program and create a new canvas on which to work, I choose to make mine 2272×1704 resolution, I like to work big. Although Bryce's terrain editor likes square images, i.e.512×512 up 2272×2272, I found the drape folds looked somewhat distorted after leaving the terrain editor then rendered. Make sure it is absolute black (0) as this will be removed when we get to the terrain editor later.

Select a small diameter 'paint' brush, and make your color absolute white (255). Now ou need to think about what your fabric is draped over and how it will look. I opted for the basic drape for this tutorial. With your brush make sweeping archs to define the outer folds, you can cross them, kink them, etc. but for a beginning drape keep it simple until you get the hang of it.

Step 2 - Define the folds in your drape...

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Now that you have your drape shape established, you can start to work on building it up to where it actually looks like a fabric drape. With the 'airbrush' and white, go over the lines of the outer folds, increasing their size and density gradually, until the original lines are no longer visible but you still have space between them.

Step 3 - Creating the fold recesses

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Now we'll start to add the recesses to the folds. Using a light gray, between your white areas, build up gradually, any sudden transistion will show when the drape becomes a terrain. Use a continous sweeping motion to keep the drape folds relaistic. When you have finished filling in go to the next step…

Step 4 - Building up the drape folds

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Select a medium gray, be sure to stay away from very dark gray as the darker the gray the closer to black you get. You won't need to make it that dark to get the effect we are going after. Paint this between the very white folds to create the recessed folds. Remember, black will be eliminated in the terrain editor, so keep this gray towards the medium range, but darker than the light gray in the last step.

Step 5 - Refining the drape

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Keep building the drape recesses, and outer folds, gradually defining it until you are satisfied with how your drape looks. You can add dips and creases if you want, if you find the white areas are starting to disappear, just go over them with long sweeping motions to increase their size and density. White areas will be the raised, or outward folds of your terrain drape.

Step 6 - Giving it a blur for the terrain editor

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Once the drape looks the way you want it, it's time to give it a blur, Gaussian blur is what we will use for this drape. The blur helps the terrain editor create smoother transitions on the terrain. Save your drape 'with' and 'without' a blur (to make changes easier), as a bitmap or with the BMP suffix, somewhere you can find it again. This image is called a 'grayscale' image.

Step 7 - Starting in Bryce

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Now we open up Bryce. Create a terrain, then go into the terrain editor. To do this, select the little 'E' in the Object Control icons to the right of the terrain. This will take us into the terrain editor.

Step 8 - Things to do in the Terrain Editor

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Now that you are in the terrain editor, there are several things you need to do. First make sure the 'Picture' tab is selected. Then we increase the terrain resolution to gigantic (1) and make sure our terrain is solid(2).

Now you are ready to import your drape (grayscale) image. In the Pictures dialog box (3) select 'Load' and browse to your drape with the blur, click 'open', then copy (under the first box), and 'paste' (under the second box), and then hit 'apply'(4).

You should see your terrain in the upper preview window and in the editor window. It will have a black background which you will eliminate by moving the clipping bracket (5) up until the black is replaced by red. Note: do not click in the gradient bar. This does not eliminate the background, the bracket is to the outside of the gradient bar, grab the little end and move it upward until the black is replaced by red. Click 'Apply', wait for the change to be made, the terrain will be crisp white with a red background.

Now go to the 'Elevation' tab (6&7), click it, and next to 'smooth'(8) click the bead once, do not click too much, as it will flatten your drape folds and make them look unnatural. Now you are ready to go out to the work area and make adjustments to size. Click the check mark in the lower right corner…

Step 9 - Final Adjustments

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You will probably want to make adjustments to the terrain drape as far as size (x, y, z) goes to fit into the image you are creating. Now is the time to do this.

Upright your terrain drape and position it so that you can see if the drape needs any other adjustments. Select the little 'M' in the Object Control icons to the right of the terrain. This will take you into the materials lab. In the mat lab click the 'diffuse', 'ambient'and 'specular' ovals to clear and reset OR select 'Simple and Fast' from the installed presets and choose the med gray. (The diffuse should be grey and the rest white, now the drape is a plain grey.) This will help you see where your drape may need work.

Step 10 - The Render

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Go out to the main window and hit 'Render' to see how the drape looks in an environment. If everything is satisfactory you can choose to use a material from the installed mats in the Materials Lab, or bring in (import) a picture texture to apply to your drape. I took the picture texture option. Apply your material and go out to the main work area and render to see how it looks. If it needs work, or you don't like it, you can redo the drape in your paint program (the reason you saved an un-blurred version) or start over creating a new drape.

That's all there is to creating gorgeous fabric drapes using Bryce terrains…!