Thanks for the feedback on the Volcanic Archipelago project. I think the dark gray “shadow” you are seeing is supposed to represent the wet sand along the water’s edge. The alpha mapping makes the reflection subtractive from the diffuse color. I now use a more subtle effect that’s less drastic.
On your most recent upload I agree with Horo. Right now there is plenty of pleasing indirect light but there is no key light. What we need perhaps is the default sun bright enough to provide the key lighting and shadows.
On making grass. I wrote out the tutorial earlier but I did not provide pictures which are probably necessary. From what I can see you going for you will indeed benefit from what I am proposing. I have written the tutorial this time with visual aids. Let me know if anything is yet unclear.
1. Here are a series of grass blades I created in Truespace. The blades are already UV mapped. All six blades share the exact same UV map. Make sure that in the attributes that each blade is set as neutral or positive, not negative or intersect. The material applied is default gray and must remain that way for many good reasons I will explain below.
2. I select the ground plane to paint upon. I go into the IL (Instance Lab) and I then disable Instancing by clicking on the icon indicated in the image below. I don’t want to paint instances, I want to paint real geometry. Trying to export a group that has instances in it will CRASH Bryce. More on that in a second.
3. I then go into the Brush Editor and I assign the six blades as sources. I also ensure that I have applied rotation and scaling variance for each blade. Most times set these parameters when loading the first source and the subsequent sources will also have the same scale and rotation settings. Click onto the pie chart to select which source you want to edit.
4. Now back to the Painter Screen. Paint a small clump of grass, then exit the IL.
5. Now you have the group Unnamed. You need to Un-group it, then re-group it. It’s new name is now Group 1.
6. Export Group 1 as an .OBJ. Because the blades all share the same default gray material the export is lightning fast.
7. Open Free UV Mapper. Load Group 1. Ignore the notification about an error loading materials, it is irrelevant. Ensure that the blades UV mapping hasn’t gone screwy which I doubt that it would. You will notice that the UV map is upside down, because there is a bug with Bryce where it flips UV Maps vertically when it is exporting.
8. Export Group 1 using the settings indicated below. Keep the same name Group 1. What you want to make certain of is that the option to export materials is disabled. If your UV map has been flipped by Bryce during the export then you might want to enable Vertical flipping as you export from UV Mapper so that it aligns properly once back in Bryce.
9. Now back to Bryce. Import the Group 1 you just sent from UV Mapper. When loading an OBJ, Bryce gives certain options. You want to use the Materials only option.
10. Now the magic happens. Bryce needs a second to import the mesh. But you will notice that indeed the multiple blades has re-imported as a single mesh. Name this mesh Clump 1.
11.. Now we rinse and repeat. Go back into the IL, but this time instead of loading the separate blades as the source, you will instead load the Clump 1. You will paint Clump 1 onto an area then you will exit the IL. Remember that we already disabled instancing painting so you are painting copies of real geometry.
12. Just like before, you are presented with a group called UnNamed. Export it to UV Mapper. Then export it out of UV Mapper again with materials disabled and with Vertical flipping enabled.
In this way you should be able to create tiles of grass as large or as small as you’d like.
13. Here is an example of my grass tile’s relative scaling compared to an imported M5. Using my finalized grass mesh, I can paint grass as far as the eye can see in all directions at once without running our of memory. Tiling is tricky because if the terrain has a lot of bumpiness in it then your tiles will need to be much smaller otherwise you will see the edges of the tiles floating above the ground. For Volcanic Archipelago The terrain beneath the veggies is almost perfectly flat so my tiles rest along the ground from center to edge, Had the terrain been more dynamic, I would have needed much smaller tiles. Is this making sense? You can paint instances along vertex normals by pressing ALT while painting. You can then alter the Navigation tool to Object, and then you can sink the grass clumps into the earth so that nothing floats above.
So in my case I start with a single blade, I then create a couple of clumps and I export those clumps as objects. I then re-import those small clumps and repaint them to create larger clumps. Then, when ready, I export the clumps as a super clump. Once I get a clump pf a reasonable size, I’m good to go.
Almost forgot. You will notice that the grass blades I am using have extremely long stalks. This is because when painting tiles over a dynamic terrain some parts of the grass tile will touch the ground while other parts will appear to float above the ground. I have found that one might need to slightly submerge the tiles into the soil, and for that to happen one needs to have the length from the grass blades.
MEMORY ISSUES TO KEEP IN MIND:
There is a bug, a nasty one. After a scene has been saved and reopened memory usage will soar. As Horo suggests always keep the Task Manager open while working. Watch the way memory usage increases each time you paint more instances. Know that if you paint what appears to be 100mb of instances in the original session, once closed and re-opened the memory usage jumps to about 500mb. There is a roughly 500% mark-up for instances. The reason is because the link between materials is broken after saving and reloading. For example, during the original session if you alter the materials of the source the child instances would update automatically with no cost on memory. But after saving and reloading, you will find that altering the materials of the source does not affect the child instances as it should. Instead one must manually alter the materials for the instances. This results in much more memory overhead and is the equivalent of a memory leak. Its as if the whole idea of instancing becomes partially broken, the instances become partially real at least in terms of the way the material lab views them. Before you save again you must make certain that the source and their instances share the exact same material settings. Though the materials link is broken, if you don’t ensure they share the same material before saving the internal logic of the scene will fail and the save will fail.
One last tip. The Undo Buffer holds the last 15 actions. Large actions, such as painting instances use up more memory than small actions. The only way to truly clear the buffer is to close then re-open Bryce. But that isn’t always what we want. You can reduce memory occupied by the buffer by replacing memory intensive actions for those which are easier. I tend to create a sphere, I then resize it about 15 times, then I delete it. I find that on the 15 re-size the memory usage for the scene will drop dramatically, often by hundreds of mb.