GrowFX Manual: Mesh Builders

Mesh Builders

Mesh Builders rollout

Meshes list group

Allows to manage the list of Mesh builders.

Create Mesh builder

Creates a new Mesh builder.

Delete Mesh builder

Deletes selected Mesh builder.

Copy Mesh builder

Makes a copy of the selected Mesh builder into the copy buffer.

Paste Mesh builder

Pastes the Mesh builder from the copy buffer.

Paste as instance

Pastes an instance from the copy buffer.

Make unique

Makes the Mesh builder unique.

Also, you can move the Mesh builder items up and down by using the drag and drop feature.

To the left of each Mesh builder, you can see the bulb icons that allows to enable or disable Mesh builder.

Name

This field allows to specify the name of the Mesh builder.


Clicking button opens the following menu for choosing the type of the Mesh builder:



Types of the Mesh builders

Cylinder mesh

The cylinder mesh builder is intended for creating trunks (stems), branches with a simple shape. This builder is fairly fast and suitable for creating many branches where there is no need to stitch them seamlessly together. For tree trucks, larger and more visible branches, you can use Meta mesh.

Radius

Specifies the radius of a cylindrical surface, button opens the Radius Graph dialog.

Sides

Specifies the number of cylinder faces. This parameter is available when the Optimize faces option in the Optimization group is off.

Min radius

Specifies the minimal radius.

Min sides

Specifies the minimum number of faces, but not less than 3.

Auto radius

This parameter allows to enable the automatic radius reduction mode depending on the Cylinder mesh or Meta mesh radii of the parental paths. If the parental path has several customized Cylinder meshes or Meta meshes, then the first enabled builder is chosen.

Radius < Parent radius

This parameter creates radii, which are always smaller than the radii of the parental path. This works even if the radius is set to be bigger than the radius of the parental path. The exception can be the restriction of the minimal radius - Min radius.

Optimization group

Allows to optimize mesh.

Optimize faces

Enables optimization.

Face size

Specifies the polygon size during the building process. If the circle cylinder length is more than this value, then the number of faces will be calculated from this value. If the circle length is less than this value, then only three faces will be built and the face will be less than Face size.

Override steps

This parameter allows to enable the override steps, so it allows the user to change the number of polygons along paths.

Steps

Specifies the new step of the current path. This parameter is available when the Override steps option is on.

Advanced parameters group

Represents extra settings of a cylinder body, its start and end.

Mat ID body

Specifies the material identifier of a cylinder body. The button opens the corresponding Chaos Material ID parameters.

Planar cap start

Creates a flat cap start of a cylinder.

Spherical cap start

Creates a spherical cap start of a cylinder. A cylinder is built in such a way that the resulting sphere comes as a continuation of a cylinder.

Mat ID start

Specifies the material identifier of the cylinder's cap start. It is available when you have chosen Planar cap start. The button opens the Chaos Material ID parameters.

Planar cap end

Creates a flat cap end of a cylinder.

Spherical cap end

Creates a spherical cap end of a cylinder.

Mat ID end

Specifies the material identifier of the cylinder's cap end. It is available when you have chosen Planar cap end. The button opens the Chaos Material ID parameters.

Surface displace group

Allows to adjust the radial offset of the cylinder, or apply the displacement maps.

Radial offset

Specifies the radial displacement. There is an opportunity to use only the Graph dialog, so the Radial offset Graph allows to adjust the value range of the displacement along the circumference.

Scale offset

Specifies the general scale offset. While using the Graph dialog, the graph itself will vary the scale along the path's length.

Displace map button

Assigns a displacement map from a selection dialog. After you make a valid choice, these buttons display the name of the bitmap or map. This button is labeled "None" until you choose a map.

UVW

This button opens an additional parameter rollout for customizing the UVW-coordinates for displace map of received surface.

Vertex color

Allows to configure the Vertex color parameters. The button - opens the corresponding Vertex color parameters.

UVW Mapping

Opens an additional parameters rollout of UVW-coordinates of received surface.


Meta mesh

The Meta mesh builder is intended for creating trunks and branches with a complex shape by stitching them to each other smoothly to create a single surface.

Global Meta Settings

This button opens an extra window with global Meta mesh parameters.

Radius

Cylinder surface radius, button opens the Radius Graph dialog.

Min radius

Minimal radius.

Min sides

Minimal number of sides in a circle, no less than 3.

Auto radius

This option allows to enable the automatic radius reduction mode depending on the Cylinder mesh or Meta mesh radii of the parental paths. If the parental path has several customized Cylinder meshes or Meta meshes, then the first enabled builder is chosen.

Radius < Parent radius

This option creates radii, which are always smaller than the radii of the parental path. This works even if the radius is set to be bigger than the radius of the parental path. The exception can be the restriction of the minimal radius - Min radius.

Meta parameters group

Allows the user to set up a particular behavior of part of the meta surface that belongs to the current path.

Meta ID

Surface identifier. A single GrowFX object can simultaneously build several independent meta surfaces which do not come into contact with each other. For this separation of meta surfaces, you can use this parameter, entering different values for the identifier. Accordingly, when you enter similar values of this parameter for different paths, their surfaces combine into a single meta surface.

Face size

Nominal size of a face during building. The actual size of a face can be smaller if the radius on this area of a surface is less than this value.

Operation

Type of operation on surfaces:

- adding surfaces. This mesh is added to the common meta surface.

- subtracting surfaces. This mesh is subtracted from the common meta surface.

Meta weight

This parameter allows you to specify the weight of that part of a meta surface that belongs to the current path. This parameter is available when Build simple cylinder is disabled.

UVW weight %

This parameter can be used to specify the UVW weight of that part of a meta surface that belongs to the current path, i.e. the higher the value, the more adjoining faces get UVW coordinates from the current path.

Build simple cylinder

If the option is on, a simple cylinder as in the Cylinder mesh algorithm will be built on all those areas that do not come into contact with anything. This feature allows you to minimize the time of building the entire tree considerably.

Override steps

This parameter allows to enable the override steps, so it allows the user to change the number of polygons along paths.

Steps

Specifies the new step of the current path. This parameter is available when the Override steps option is on.

Stop stitching

This option allows you to stop stitching as soon as a surface of the current path loses contact with other surfaces. Basically, it is used for branches that grow from a trunk and must not come into contact with anything else. This option is available when Build simple cylinder is enabled.

After pos %

When using Stop stitching, specifies the position on the path in percent after which it is possible to stop stitching.

By Radius

When using Stop stitching, specifies some radius. If the mesh radius is less than this value, the stitching at this area will not performed.

The latter options can be used to optimize and build a surfaces much quicker. For example, the radius of a branch decreases by length, and when the length reaches 70%, the radius is so small that it is impossible to notice stitched surfaces with other branches. Consequently, if you set After pos to 70%, you disable further stitching of this tree with others.
Stop stitching By Radius allows more easily optimize the calculation of metamesh.

Stop stitching for children

When on, the children branches are not stitch together, when stitching is stopped on the parent branch.


Surface displace map group

Displace map button

Assigns a displacement map from a selection dialog. After you make a valid choice, these buttons display the name of the bitmap or map. This button is labeled "None" until you choose a map.

UVW

This button opens an additional parameter rollout for customizing the UVW-coordinates for displace map of received surface.

Displace size

Specifies the general size of displacement. While using the Graph dialog, the graph itself will vary the size along the path's length.


The Advanced parameters group, Vertex color and UVW Mapping are the same as for Cylinder mesh.


Some examples of using Meta mesh parameters:

Build simple cylinder is off:

Build simple cylinder is off:

Meta weight for subtracted part is set to 1.0 (default):

Meta weight for subtracted part is set to 5.0:

UVW weight for the trunk is set to 100% (default):

UVW weight for the trunk is set to 200%:

Stop stitching is off:

Stop stitching for branches is on:

Stop stitching is off:

Stop stitching for the trunk is on and After pos is set to 70%:

Stop stitching for the trunk is on and By Radius is set to 1.0:

Stop stitching for children is off:

Stop stitching for children for the trunk is on:

Global Meta Settings

Max iterations

This parameter can be used to set a maximal number of iterations for building a meta surface. If there are not enough iterations, a surface remains incomplete. The value is also important for the progress bar of building a meta surface.

Min size faces

This parameter allows you to specify the minimum faces size. This helps protect the system from extra small faces, which may lead to system crash.



UVW Settings group

Allows setting up the algorithm of creating UVW Mapping.

Generate UVW Mapping

This option allows you to on/off the algorithm of creating UVW Mapping.

Rebuild extralarge faces

When on, the algorithm rebuilds very large triangles in UVW space. They will be created based on optimal sizes of triangles in this area.

Rebuild extrasmall faces

When on, the algorithm rebuilds very small triangles in UVW space. They are also created based on the optimal sizes of triangles in this area.

If some faces have a very distorted texture, you can try to use these options.


Leaves mesh

Angle across

Specifies the starting angle of an imaginary path across the main path.

Angle along

Specifies the starting angle of an imaginary path along the main path.

Angle axis

Specifies the general orientation of the leaves.

Sides

Specifies the number of faces on imaginary path's length. This parameter is available when the Optimize faces option in the Optimization group is off.

Width

Specifies the width of leaf, or the imaginary path's length.

Scale proportionally

When on, the leaf width is directly proportionally to its length. The initial length is taken as a path length. Accordingly, reducing the leaf length using Affects, its width will also decrease.

Optimization group

Allows to optimize mesh.

Optimize faces

Enables optimization.

Face size

Specifies the face size during the building process.

Override steps

This parameter allows to enable the override steps, so it allows the user to change the number of polygons along paths.

Steps

Specifies the new step of the current path. This parameter is available when the Override steps option is on.

By Width Graph Points

With this option, the number of polygons along paths is equal to count points on the Width Graph. This parameter is available when the Override steps option is on.

Without central edges

When on, the central edge will be deleted.

Incremental angle group

Allows to set up the angles of incremental imaginary paths.

Angle across

Specifies the incremental angle of animaginary path across the main path.

Angle along

Specifies the incremental angle of an imaginary path along the main path.

Angle across map

Assigns a texture map from a selection dialog. After you make a valid choice, these buttons display the name of the bitmap or map. This button is labeled "None" until you choose a map. These settings help to create the unevenness on the edges of the leaves.

UWV

This button opens an additional parameters rollout for customizing the UVW-coordinates for the incremental angle map.

Scale angle

Specifies general scale of incremental angle. When using the Graph dialog, the graph itself will vary the scale along the path's length.

Surface parameters group

Allows to set up surface parameters.

Mat ID

Specifies the material identifier. The button opens the Chaos Material ID parameters.

UVW Mapping

Opens an additional parameters rollout of UVW-coordinates of received surface.

Vertex color

Allows to configure the Vertex color parameters. The button - opens the corresponding Vertex color parameters.

Flip normals

It flips the direction of leaf surface normals. Accordingly, the front side of the leaves becomes the inside side.

2-Sided leaves

Generates a two-sided leaves. Used mainly for game development.



This builder creates the surface in the following way:

Imaginary paths grow in two opposite directions from each node point of the path. The paths grow at the particular angles (a) and (b) with a definite step (f) or (if Optimize is off) (e/d), turning at the angles (h) and (i) and moving as far as the distance (e). If Override steps is on, the steps (g) will be recalculated.

By setting up the appropriate parameters, the user can build a great variety of leaves.


Some examples of using Leaves mesh parameters:

Scale proportionally is off:

Scale proportionally is on:

Examples of using By Width Graph Points:

Instanced geometry

This builder allows to use the custom objects taken from other objects as instances.

Position %

Specifies the object position on the path in percent.

Scale

Specifies the object scale in percent.

Random scale %

Allows to set random scale of objects in percent.

Current time

Sets time for an animated object and allows shifting objects in time.

Objects group

Allows to manage the objects list.

Pick

Click this button, and then click to select an object in your scene.

Remove

Deletes a selected object from the list.

Extract

Extracts an instance of the selected object. Choose an object in the list to enable this button.

Count rate %

Specifies the count rate in percent for each listed object.

Use hierarchy

All objects from the hierarchy of a selected object are used.

Combine meshes

This option helps to combine received meshes into one mesh. When off, the objects are displayed separately. On the one hand, calculation will be faster. On the other hand, too many objects will be displayed slower in Viewport. For faster display, it is recommended to enable Display as bounding box or One BBox for hierarchy.

Deform along path

Deforms an object along path directions.

Vertex color

Allows to configure the Vertex color parameters. The button - opens the corresponding Vertex color parameters.

Display as bounding box

Displays objects as boxes in Viewport.

One BBox for hierarchy

Displays objects for the entire hierarchy as a single box.

Generate MultiMaterial

GrowFX collects all information on materials on objects, creates a new multimaterial and assigns it to itself.

Update button

Updates this multimaterial. Updates must be performed if:

  • - structure of object hierarchy has changed;
  • - number and structure of material identifiers of each object have changed;
  • - other material has been assigned to an object;
  • - number and structure of material identifiers of a GrowFX-object has changed.
Reset button

To reset changes and return to the previous material that was assigned before a multimaterial was generated.


The Current time parameter can be used in the following way:

  1. Create an animated object, for example, a blossoming flower. Let's assume the time required for the flower to open is 20 frames, i.e. the flower will be animated from frame 0 to frame 20.
  2. Select this flower using Pick, enable Current time and set the value to 20.
  3. Let's assume the flower should open depending on the length of stems at different times. You should create an influence from the length of stems on the parameter Current time.
  4. Enable the graph for the parameter Factor and create an upward curve from 0 to 1. The value of Current time, multiplied by the value of this graph, will give a change of Current time from 0 to 20, depending on the length of stems. It means that for short stems the value Current time will be equal to 0 and for long ones - 20. Accordingly, the growing flower at an early stage of blossoming will be on short stems and fully open flowers will be on long stems.

Obviously, it can be used not only in animation but also in creation of static plant models, creating flowers at different stages of blossoming. It looks much more realistic.

Generate Instances button

Generates instances in the current frame. Instances becomes as independent objects.

Standard leaves

This builder allows to build simple leaves.

Size

Specifies the leaf size.

Length/Width

Specifies the length/width ratio.

Position %

Specifies the leaf's position on the path in percents.

Mat ID

Specifies the material identifier. The button opens the Chaos Material ID parameters.

Vertex color

Allows to configure the Vertex color parameters. The button - opens the corresponding Vertex color parameters.

Type leaf group

Allows to choose the type of the leaf by pressing the corresponding buttons. The number on the button demonstrates how many polygons the object of the given type has.

Flip normals

It flips the direction of leaf surface normals. Accordingly, the front side of the leaves becomes the inside side.

2-Sided leaves

Generates a two-sided leaves. Used mainly for game development.


UVW Mapping

U-Coords group

Sets up parameters of U-Coordinate or circle length coordinate for Cylinder mesh or Meta mesh, or leaf's width for Leaves mesh.

Absolute width

Enables the usage of the absolute width value of the texture map. The Width parameter will be available.

Width

Specifies the absolute width value.

Tile

The number of times the texture image is repeated along the width.

Flip

Reverses the direction of the map along the width.

Offset

Specifies the width offset.

Align width

Activates the alignment texture along the width of the leaf. At the beginning and at the end of a leaf and also in its narrow places the texture is shrinking. Available for Leaves mesh only.

Along edge

Activates the alignment of the texture along the edge of the leaf. The texture is not shrinking here. It is available when the Align width is on, and also for Leaves mesh only.


V-Coords group

Sets up parameters of V-Coordinate or coordinate along the path's length.

Absolute length

Enables the usage of the absolute length value of the texture map. The Length parameter will be available.

Length

Specifies the absolute length value.

Tile

The number of times the texture image is repeated along the length.

Flip

Reverses the direction of the map along the length.

Offset

Specifies the length offset.

Scale length by Radius

Enables scaling of texture coordinates by length depending on the radius of Cylinder mesh or Meta mesh.


Sample of using Align width and Along edge:

Source texture:

Align width and Along edge is off:

Align width is on, Along edge is off:

Align width and Along edge is on:

Sample of using Scale length by Radius:

Chaos Material ID

These settings allows the user to manage list of material IDs.

Add Material ID

Adds an additional material ID to the list.

Delete Material ID

Deletes the material ID from the list.

Mat ID

Specifies the material ID.

Count rate %

Allows the user to specify the count rate in percent for every identifier in the list.


Vertex color

VC: Coloring elements rollout

Allows to configure the color for the entire element of the mesh surface, it maybe the trunk, branch or leaf.

On

Turn the Coloring elements on or off, making it active or inactive.

[blend mode]

Use the drop-down list to choose how the color of this setting interact with those in overlying colors. The following modes are supported:

  • Normal The current color completely overwrites the base color. This is the default setting.
  • Darken Whichever color is darker, the current color or the base, is used as the output.
  • Multiply Each RGB channel is moved towards zero, depending on the current color. The result is at least as dark (never brighter) than the original. White is transparent in this mode.
  • Color Burn Emulates the effect of "burning" a color print in a darkroom; the result is at least as dark (never brighter) than the original. For each RGB channel, if the current color is zero in that channel, the output channel will be zero. Even if the current value is above zero, the output is still be strongly darkened in that channel. For example, a medium-red current color will significantly reduce blue and green brightness in the output.
  • Linear Burn Same as Color Burn but with less contrast.
  • Lighten Whichever color is brighter, the current or the base, is used as the output.
  • Screen Each RGB channel is moved towards full brightness, depending on the current color. The result is at least as bright (never darker) than the original. Black is transparent in this mode.
  • Color Dodge Emulates the effect of "dodging" a color print in a darkroom; the result is at least as bright (never darker) than the original. For each RGB channel, if the current color is at full value in that channel, the output channel will be at full value. Even if the current value is less then full value, the output is still strongly brightened in that channel. For example, a medium-red current color will add a significant red brightness to the output.
  • Linear Dodge Same as Color Dodge but with lower contrast.
  • Overlay The color cast is shifted towards the current color and contrast might be increased. It's useful when you want to make an object appear a different color but in the same lighting conditions. A fully bright or dark channel is never affected however, so if Red=100% and Green=0% in the base color, then neither the red nor green channels can be affected by the current color.
  • Soft Light Very similar to Overlay, but even more gentle, and it does not tend to increase contrast as much.
  • Hard Light More like Normal mode than Overlay, it will change color cast somewhat. It is fairly destructive like Normal mode, especially with bright current colors.
  • Vivid Light Brighter current colors produce a Color Dodge effect, while darker current colors produce a Color Burn effect, although the effect is generally weaker than Dodge or Burn.
  • Linear Light For each RGB channel, if the current color is more than 50% bright in that channel, the output will be brightened, and if the current color is less then 50% bright, the output will be darkened. As an example, if you want the top of your image to be twice as bright, and the bottom to be half as bright, use a gradient from 75% gray to 25% gray, top to bottom.
  • Pin Light Replaces colors depending on the brightness of the current color. If the current color is lighter than mid-gray and the base color is darker than the current color, then the base color is replaced with the current color. If the current color is darker than mid-gray and the base color is lighter than the current color, then the base color is replaced with the current color.
  • Difference For each pixel pair, subtracts the darker one from the brighter one.
  • Exclusion Similar to Difference but with lower contrast.
Move Up

Moves this rollout up towards other rollouts. This will change the order of blending colors. This button is disabled when the rollout at the top.

Move Down

Moves this rollout down towards other rollouts. This will change the order of blending colors. This button is disabled when the rollout at the bottom.

Weight %

Sets a weight for this colors. It's like a transparency, when mixed with the color from VC:Coloring elements. The button opens the Weight Graph dialog.

Position %

Specifies the position in percent between Main color and Target color.

Chaos pos %

Specifies the chaotic offset from position to the main color.

VC: Coloring along paths

Allows to configure a colors along paths by using gradient, for example along the trunk, branches or leaves.

On

Turn the Coloring along paths on or off, making it active or inactive.

[blend mode]

Use the drop-down list to choose how the color of this setting interact with those in overlying colors. The blending modes are the same as in the VC:Coloring elements: Normal, Darken, Multiply, Color Burn, Linear Burn, Lighten, Screen, Color Dodge, Linear Dodge, Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Vivid Light, Linear Light, Pin Light, Difference, Exclusion.
The default setting is Normal.

Move Up

Moves this rollout up towards other rollouts. This will change the order of blending colors. This button is disabled when the rollout at the top.

Move Down

Moves this rollout down towards other rollouts. This will change the order of blending colors. This button is disabled when the rollout at the bottom.

Weight %

Sets a weight for this colors. It's like a transparency, when mixed with the overlying color. The button opens the Weight Graph dialog.

Gradient

Allows to configure the gradient colors along paths. The effect of the gradient moves from down (start point) to up (end point).
By default, two flags appear along the left edge of the gradient. Each flag controls a color. The gradient can have any number of flags.
The user can add new flags, drag and change color for existing flags. To add a new flag, left-click on the color field. To change the color, double-click on the flag. The start and end flags cannot be moved. To remove the flag drag it outside up or down of the gradient.

VC: Inherit from parent

Allows to inherit the vertex colors from the vertex colors of parent paths.

On

Turn the Inherit from parent on or off, making it active or inactive.

[blend mode]

Use the drop-down list to choose how the color of this setting interact with those in overlying colors. The blending modes are the same as in the VC:Coloring elements: Normal, Darken, Multiply, Color Burn, Linear Burn, Lighten, Screen, Color Dodge, Linear Dodge, Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Vivid Light, Linear Light, Pin Light, Difference, Exclusion.
The default setting is Normal.

Move Up

Moves this rollout up towards other rollouts. This will change the order of blending colors. This button is disabled when the rollout at the top.

Move Down

Moves this rollout down towards other rollouts. This will change the order of blending colors. This button is disabled when the rollout at the bottom.

Weight %

Sets a weight for this colors. It's like a transparency, when mixed with the overlying color. The button opens the Weight Graph dialog.

Coloring elements

Inherited color will be applied to the entire element.

Coloring along paths

Inherited color will be applied along the path, as a continuation of the parental colors.


Display options

Display colors

Allows the user to see the vertex colors in the viewport. It is like a Display panel > Display Properties rollout > Vertex Colors.

Shaded

When on, shaded viewports add shading to the vertex coloring. When off, colors are unshaded.

How to work the VC: Coloring elements:

Some examples of using Vertex color parameters:

Example of using the VC: Coloring elements:

Example of using the VC: Coloring along paths:

Example of using the VC: Inherit from parent Coloring elements is on:

Example of using the VC: Inherit from parent Coloring along paths is on:

TOP