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Old 03-04-10, 16:21   #1
Titak
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Default How to make custom plants

How to make custom plants
by teme9 and Titak


Plants must be one of the hardest things to make properly because they should look natural and alive.

NOTE:
This is not a tutorial on how to use Metasequoia or STRPix. All we are giving you are some tips and tricks on how you could make a natural looking plant or tree.


CHAPTER 1
Below are some steps you can go through to find a suitable plant for your environment and to find textures for it.

1.
Get to know your environment and find out what sorts of plants or trees grow there.

2.
Choose one of the plants which grows in that specific environment
Example: caribbean --> palms, and more specific: what kind of palm?

3.
Google the plant: how tall it grows, how big it is, what the leaves look like, if it has flowers or not and if it does have flowers, what do the flowers look like, what's the general look of the plant, etc.
(latin names can come in handy here)

4.
Find suitable textures for the plant.
For this you can also Google the plant, but this time also use Google Image Finder for it. If you have home-made photographs of the plant, then you can also use those. Remember that you can make your own textures from photographs.
www.cgtextures.com also has a lot of plant textures.

5.
Once you have found all the information you need you can start making the plant mesh in Meta, make the textures for it in some paint program and textures your plant in STRPix.
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Old 03-04-10, 16:22   #2
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CHAPTER 2

Here are some examples of how plants were made.

Fancy shrub in a pot
by teme9

JOB: to do a Shrub, typically used in fancy manors.

Start by googling plants and when you find one which is good for you, google it again with it's native name (in Finnish: Sypressi, in English: Cypress, in Latin: Cupressaceae) Googles picture finder is good, but for good textures www.cgtextures.com is good too. I used google picture finder in this case, because I did not find good textures on www.cgtextures.com.

I found this:


After editing that red block out of the picture I was able to get this kind of texture set:

The picture says what some of the textures are for. In this case I made some "greener" textures to simulate new growth.

After that and looking how the Cypress looks like I started modelling:


Here you can see how I started with a cylinder and a cube. The cylinder was extruded into shape and the very top vertexes were connected together. I deleted the faces under the cylinder, since they don't show in-game.

Then after they got their shape, I made a normal plane and divided it into two pieces. After that I copied it and inverted it and then used paste to paste exactly the same top of the inverted one. Now I joined their vertexes and folded them into the desired shape. (it has now faces on the both sides)

After that I copied that piece. I scaled and rotated many of them around the cylinder. That way the plant would have alot of branches and leaves.



After importing to STRPix I textured it. I used the "Greener" textures at the top to make it look like it is growing. I used all the other textures elsewhere. After it was textured it was time to light the object. I choose that the light would come from the top right corner. Then I used ligher values of light at the side where the light was coming from and darker values where the were no light. Ta-da. It is done!
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Old 03-04-10, 16:22   #3
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Tropical plant
by Titak

I took pictures of this plant in the butterfly garden of the nearby zoo.
I took pictures which show the entire plant so I could see it's structure and I also took closeup pictures of the leaves and flower bundles.
(If I ever find those pictures again, I'll add them to this example.)

The plant in Meta.
In this case I used simple nearly flat faces for the flowers on top.
I used ths method because the plant has a bundle of small flowers at the top and making each little flower seperately would be too much and it often makes things looks stiff. And a plant shouldn't look stiff.



Sometimes I turn of the lines and vertices to better see if the plant is organic enough.



The plant all textured in STRPix.



One very important thing to do in my opinion is to add shadows and highlights to the plant with STRPix Light Editor.
Adding this makes the plant look more organic and alive.
And like teme9 already said, keep in mind where the light comes from.
So in this case I made the bottom of the stems darker and I added brighter highlights to the top leaves and flowers.

IMPORTANT NOTE:
For the lighting to work you must import the plant object as "static" in STRPix.
If you import it as animating and you add shadows and highlights, it will crash your game.

It is ofcourse possible to import a plant as animating.
It will then react to the ambient lighting of the room it is placed in.



And last but not least, ingame.
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Last edited by Titak; 30-12-14 at 12:03.
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Old 03-04-10, 16:23   #4
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Tree growing in cracks in the rocks
by teme9

In this pic you can see some basic leafy tree. Not the best tree, but really simple (uses 2 different textures).

You can see some of its structure.
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Old 03-04-10, 16:23   #5
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Plant for an egyptian style room
by Titak

The greenhouse in my Croft Manor is a bit in Egyptian style.
So besides the plants I had already made for it I wanted to also add a typical Egyptian plant. Preferable a flowering plant with colours not yet present in the greenhouse.

So I first googled for "Egyptian flowers" and found these images.
I saved these particular images because I could clearly see the entire structure of the plant in them AND I could use them for making the textures.







Then I modelled the plant in Meta.
First I made the long green leaves, then I made the stems for the flowers and then I made the flowers and seedpods.
Instead of making all leaves one by one I used my first leave and copied and pasted it many times. I then rotated, remodeled and scaled the copied leaves. Same with the flowers.




After making the textures I imported the plant into STRPix for texturing.
My textureset for an object isn't always complete when I start texturing in STRPix. Along the way I notice I need to remodel the textures or need new ones to make nice transitions for example. I then make new additional textures or remake textures in a paintprogram which I then import into the wad with WADMerger.




Since the light is coming from above, through the glass roof of the greenhouse, I made the lower parts of the stems darker and the top flowers and leaves lighter.




And this is what the plant looks like ingame.



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