A few days ago, Ronen Bekerman posted some strangely hypnotic images by artist Lee Griggs. As Lee explains on his blog, these were modeled in Maya and rendered in Arnold. Lee used XGen, a technology license by Autodesk from Disney that allows the distribution and manipulation of large numbers of geometry primitives on a surface. I was burning to give it a try it. The problem: Autodesk has only implemented XGen in Maya and, as you may know, I’m a Max, not a Maya, guy. Which got me wondering whether a similar effect could be achieved in Max and V-Ray using ItooSoft’s Forest Pack, one of my favorite Max plugins.
The answer is yes, though I suspect the approach to the end result is slightly different. I’m posting these experiments below. Each scene uses one surface and one piece of geometry (cubes, hexagons, spheres, cylinders…) at a time. One texture drives the color of the distributed geometry while another (a B&W version of the first with some tweaks) drives scale and rotation. I’ve added some goodies such as V-Ray fog, clouds and water to emphasize the landscapy feel. These were quick renders, with DOF and other effects done in PShop. The lighting was done with a handful of Peter Guthrie skies. Thanks to Lee for the inspiration. Make sure to visit his site for more experimental stuff.