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Grass in Bryce

Author: - esha -

Tools Needed

  • Bryce 5 (works in Version 4 too)

Introduction

Have you ever made an outdoor scene, and your Bryce lawn looked more like some green flooring than real grass? Instead of importing grass objects, here is another method to create a nice lawn.

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Step 1 - Create a Terrain

Open Bryce and click on the terrain icon (the mountain).

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Click on the small 'E' to open the terrain editor.

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Step 2 - Grow some grass

I find the real-time linking in the preview very useful, so I recommend turning it on (it is turned off by default):

In the top right corner of the preview window you can see a small arrow. Click it and choose 'Realtime Linking' from the menu.

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To get a flat lawn first we have to get rid of the mountain. In the editing tools palette click once on the blue button next to 'New'.

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The terrain canvas window will turn black, the preview is empty.

Now we want to 'grow' some grass: Click and hold the small green button next to 'Spikes' and drag slowly to the right.

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In the preview you can see how the grass appears. When it is high enough release the mouse button.

HINT: One short click on the spikes button makes the grass grow to maximum height. But dragging slowly gives you more control.

You can repeat this one or two times more to make the lawn more dense.

Since you don't drag exactly the same distance every time, the grass will have slightly different height which will look very natural.

In the preview you can see the lawn you will get (if you can't see anything, turn up the brightness of your monitor; the lawn is short, therefore it looks very dark in the preview).

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Click OK to leave the terrain editor.

A test render shows us what the lawn looks like. Of course, we'll need a good material now…

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Step 3 - The right material

Click on the small 'M' to open the material editor.

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Click on the arrow next to the preview to open the material library.

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Click on the arrow in the lower left corner and choose 'Vegetation'. In the category 'Leaves' choose one of the mats, I prefer 'Default Leaf 8'.

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Click OK to close the library.

Now we can optimize the mat for our lawn:

Switch off the specularity, it will not be visible on the single blades of grass.

Increase the ambience value to make the green lighter.

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Click on OK to confirm.

Now we have a nice small piece of lawn.

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Step 4 - Cover a larger area

Cover a larger area with lawn

Click on the small 'A' to open the attributes palette.

To make life easier I recommend to change the odd size value of 81, 92 to 80.

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Click OK to close the attributes.

Press Ctrl+D to duplicate the terrain.

Click 'A' again to open the attributes.

For 'Origin X' set the size value, in this case 80.

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Click OK.

Now there is a second piece of lawn exactly next to the first one.

Repeat the process (duplicate, open attributes etc.), but this time enter –80.

Now we have 3 terrains.

Hold down the shift key and select all three terrains. Click on the 'G' to group them together.

Press Ctrl+D to duplicate the group, open the attributes and set the 'Origin Y' value to 80.

Repeat this with the value –80.

Now we have quite a large lawn which consists of 9 terrains.

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Of course you could group the groups and duplicate and translate them again. If you want to do this, you have to enter positive/negative values of 240 for the origin, because you are handling a group of 3 terrains(3 x 80).

But keep in mind that from a certain distance you won't see the single grass blades anyway, so there will be no need to encumber your system with dozens of terrains.

HINT: In some places the grey ground plane may look through, this is because the blades of grass are not as close as in a real lawn. Apply a green material to the ground plane, and you won't notice it anymore.

Step 5 - Additional details

For close-ups you may need a finer lawn. You can create it by increasing the resolution of the terrain in the terrain editor.

Click on the grid symbol in the terrain editor palette and choose a higher resolution.

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If you now start creating spikes, you'll notice that they look much finer.

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Of course you can use the spikes on hilly terrains, too.

Use the same method as described previously, but in the terrain editor do NOT click on 'New' but apply the spikes to the existing terrain.

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Have fun,

esha