For this grass tutorial I assume you have a general knowledge of
3D Studio MAX.

In the bottom of the tutorial there is a glossary where the buttons mentioned in the tutorial are listed in alphabetical order.

Grass Tutorial V1.5 For 3dsmax R3.x
Please notice that this is a relative heavy tutorial, when you are finished, you will have a scene with about 520.000 faces. But its only when you render, they are not in the viewport.

 

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Images with grass using the technique described in this tutorial. Click for larger image.

            
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Lets get going.

  1. Go to the "file/reset" and answer yes.
  2. Press the front window, and then "Min/Max Toggle" located in the lower right corner of the screen.
  3. under "create/shapes/line", uncheck "optimize" in the Rollout "General". Set "steps" to 4, go to "keyboard entry" Rollout, add points, in these coordinates: -3,0,0 and 3,0,0 and 0,200,0, when you have done that, press "close".
  4. Now press "Zoom extents", and then you should have a silhouette of a straw, seen from the front
  5. Now press "modify/edit mesh", You might have to press "more" under "Modify" to finde the Edit Mesh, now you should have the straw with 13 faces. You can check that under "file/summary info..."
  6. Now with the straw selected rename it to "Straw01". Which you do in the top of the "Modify".
  7. Now press "hierarchy/affect pivot only" and then first left click the "select and move" button, and then right click it, this will bring up the "Transform Type-In".
  8. Under Absolute:world, you type 0,0,0 and hit enter, then close the small window.
  9. Press the "hierarchy/affect pivot only" again, so its not activated any more.
  10. while you have your straw selected, press "array", set the array to move your object 200 units along the x axis, and set the array dimensions, to 1D and a count of 4. Press OK.
  11. Now press "Zoom extents", and then you should have four silhouettes of straws, seen from the front
  12. Now select "Straw01" (The one to the left) and add a "bend modifier"which is located under "Modify". Set the bend angle to 20, the bend direction to 90, and the bend axis to "y"
  13. Now select "Straw02" add a "bend modifier". and set the bend angle to 40, the bend direction to 90, the bend axis to "y", check the "Limit effect", and set the "upper limit" to 150
  14. Now select "Straw03" add a "bend modifier". and set the bend angle to 70, the bend direction to 90, the bend axis to "y", check the "Limit effect", and set the "upper limit" to 150.
  15. Now select "Straw04" add a "bend modifier". and set the bend angle to 130, the bend direction to 90, and the bend axis to "y".
  16. Now go to the "material editor". Default keyboard short-cut is "m"
  17. And make four materials with the names "Mat-Straw01", "Mat-Straw02", "Mat-Straw03" and "Mat-Straw04".
  18. "Mat-Straw01" should have the RGB color value 50,130,50 in the diffuse setting, just press the color box right to the text "diffuse". Set "Glossiness" to 50 and the "Specular Level" to 40, and check "2-sided".
  19. "Mat-Straw02" should have the RGB color value 110,150,0 in the diffuse setting. Set "Glossiness" to 50 and the "Specular Level" to 85, and check "2-sided".
  20. "Mat-Straw03" should have the RGB color value 60,110,40 in the diffuse setting. Set "Glossiness" to 50 and the "Specular Level" to 85, and check "2-sided".
  21. "Mat-Straw04" should have the RGB color value 70,140,70 in the diffuse setting. Set "Glossiness" to 50 and the "Specular Level" to 85, and check "2-sided".
  22. Now select the object "Straw01" you could do this by pressing the key "h". In the material editor select the material called "Mat-Straw01" press "assign material to selection"
  23. Do the same for the rest of the objects, just give them the material corresponding to their name.
  24. Now close the material editor.
  25. Now press the key "t" and the view is changed to top-view.
  26. Press "create/geometry/box" and under "keyboard entry" type in the following: X=-200, Y=200, Z=0, Lenght=400, Width=400, Heigt=1. Press "Create". This will make the ground for the grass.
  27. Press "Modify" and rename it from "Box01" to "Ground"
  28. Now press the "Zoom Extents" and use the "Arc Rotate Sub-Object" so you will have the ground and the 4 straws in the view.
  29. Now select "Straw01" press "Utilities" and then "Reset XForm" and "Reset Selected" then go to "Modify" and press "Edit Stack" and then "Collapse All" and answer "Yes". Repeat this process with all the 4 straws. They have to be Reseted and collapsed so they will be placed correctly on the ground.
  30. press "Create/Geometry" Press the "Standard Primitive" rollout, select "Compound Objects" and press "Scatter". Press "pick distribution object" and select the ground. (Selecting the ground can be done by pressing "h".
  31. Now set the following settings for scatter: Go to the bottom of the settings, Check the "proxy" and set display to 10. And check the "hide distribution object". Then go to the top and set the settings to: Dublicates=10000, Base scale=10, Uncheck perpendicular, Distribution using=area, Rotation X=10, Y=10, Z=360. Scaling X=20, Y=20, Z=20.
  32. Under "load/save Presets", type in grass under "Preset name", and then press save.
  33. Now select "Straw02".
  34. when "Straw02" is selected press "Scatter" under "Create", press "pick distribution object" and select the ground. now go down to "load/save Presets" and select grass, and hit load. Then under "uniqueness/seed" type in 12346.
  35. now repeat this for "Straw03" and "Straw04" with the only exception that "Straw03" should have "uniqueness/seed" 12347. And "Straw04"should have the number 12348.
  36. Now its time to open the material editor again. While the object, ground, is selected. Give it the material called"Mat-Straw01". After you have done this close the material editor again.
  37. Now we have to set up a camera. press "create/cameras/target" and then click and drag it at random place in the viewport.
  38. Now press the key "h" and select "camera01.target" and then right click on the "select and move" buttom. and type this in: -200,200,0 and hit enter.
  39. Select "camera01" and type this in: -200,6,26 and hit enter.
  40. Then close the small window.
  41. With the "camera01" selected go to the "Modify" menu, and enter type 30 in the "lens" box
  42. Press the key "c" to see through the camera.
  43. We also need some light. press "create/lights/omni" and place it in the lower half of the viewpoint. With the omnilight selected right click on the "select and move" buttom. and type this in: 66,-140,150 and hit enter. And close the window.
  44. Press "modify" and now on the right side of the scene, you should see all the settings for the omni, go to the bottom, and find "shadow parameters" and check "On", and change the "size" from 512 to 1024 Under the "Shadow Maps Params"
  45. To get this thing lit up, we need a one more light, press again "create/lights/omni" and place it in the lower half of the viewpoint. With the omnilight selected right click on the "select and move" buttom. and type this in: -220,-4,28 and hit enter. And close the window.
  46. Now!! try to hit "render".

 

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Glossary

Arc Rotate
Array
Cameras
Edit Stack
Create
Geometry
Hierarchy
Lights
Material editor
Min/Max Toggle
Modify
Render
Select and move
Shapes
Utilities
Zoom extents

            

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Now when you are done and hopefully got a good result, you can modify the settings yourself, so it will meet your specific demands. This tutorial is made on a single box, but if you want to have more details in your scene, it might be necessary to add more objects to duplicate the straws on. In my Football scene as you can see in my gallery, there is three duplication objects, one box for the front, a box for the chalk line, and a box for the background. For the scene you can see below, it could be a good idea to divide the box in two, because you don't need that many straws in the background, and because of this you won't get so many faces.

This type of grass is limited to be viewed as if you were just above it. If you for example need to see the grass from the top, you will need a lot more straws and faces.

If you manage to make some nice scenes from this tutorial, please mail me some images, because I would like to see if people actually can use this for anything, and if you gave me some responce, their would be a greater chance to see more tutorials from me.

This tutorial is written by:
Thomas Suurland | www.suurland.com | thomas@suurland.com

 

If you have managed to follow the tutorial correct, you should get a image similar to this one!
This tutorial is Copyright © 2000 Thomas Suurland | www.suurland.com