…or trees, ornaments, abandoned cottages and everything that has a surface 🙂
A couple of days ago some of my artist friends recommended Ivy Generator, this free software that has one goal: to grow ivies onto any kind of .OBJ models you import into the viewport.
This may sound as simple as the appearance of the viewport, but actually it’s more complex than it seems. As you can read on its website: “The ivy grows from one single root following different forces: a primary growth direction (the weighted average of previous growth directions), a random influence, an adhesion force towards other objects, an up-vector imitating the phototropy of plants, and finally gravity. This simple scheme reveals that the goal was not to provide a biological simulation of growing ivy but rather a simple approach to producing complex and convincing vegetation that adapts to an existing scene. ” You can control all of these forces with sliders, you can determine how far the ivy should grow, and you can also set the size of the leaves, the thickness of the branches and the leaf density/probability as well.
When you’re satisfied with your ivy, you can export it in .OBJ format, import it into the 3D application you work with, and adjust it to the object. It is important to know, that Ivy Generator exports only the ivy (without the object), so you need to load the object and the ivy separately into your 3D application and put them together.
The software pack includes two (a young and an adult) leaf textures and a branch texture. Of course you can make your own textures and change them if you want, but it requires some extra work. 😀
Important info & tips for Vue users:
- For some reason, Ivy Generator doesn’t want to accept .OBJ files exported from Vue, so in order to load them into Ivy Generator, you need to import and re-export them in another 3D application that supports .OBJ import and export, like 3ds Max or the free DAZ Studio.
- Since 3D applications use different units, chances are you need to adjust the scale of the ivy imported into Vue.
- When importing into another application, pay attention to the axes. Vue’s vertical axis is the Z axis, so you might need to change the vertical axis to Z in the application when importing.
- Ivy Generator’s ivy textures are basically only images without any additional detail. Although they look pretty cool as they are, you can further improve the appearance of the leaves with some tweaks in the material editor. In the basic material editor, add bump map using the color map, and reduce bump scale to 0.8. You can also use the inverted color map as transparency map, this makes rendering go a bit faster. In the Highlights tab, change the highlight color to a bright grey tone, and in the Effects tab, add backlight (95-100%). These simple steps make your ivy look more realistic.
(Many thanks to Michel for sharing these tips: :))
You can download Ivy Generator here. To save some (I mean a lot) of time and experiments, it is highly recommended to download the video tutorial by Mark Dunakin as well. You can find the download link scrolling down on the site, under the images made using this tool.
And finally, let’s see what I created in my first experiments:
In this scene (titled Hands of Time) I used 12 ivy .OBJ’s, all made in Ivy Generator. You can see how the ivies follow the curves of the ruin model, although I used a lower adhesion weight, so the ends of the branches don’t get stuck to the surface so strictly.
If you like this ruin model, you can purchase it here at Renderosity. It has really good textures, and it comes in .vob and .OBJ formats (though this .OBJ cannot be loaded into Ivy Generator, so I needed to re-export them from DAZ).
Well, I’m sure this was not the last time I used Ivy Generator; I hope you got interested in it too and I hope you enjoyed reading this little product feature. Thanks for reading! 🙂