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View Full Version : Tip of the day: Image2mesh


Vizfizz
01-29-2006, 09:10 PM
You know, I really should of had this plugin on the favorite plugins poll because this little gem can do sooo much more than just generate geometry. (Not to mention that its free)

Did you know that Image2mesh can be used as a displacement deformer for nearly anything in Electric Image? Any deformer can be used on particle systems to direct their flow, however you can use Image2mesh too. Simply deselect "create vertices" and check the displacement map option on. Parent the particle generator to I2M and any particles generated in Dante or PPPro will then follow the contours of the greyscale image displacement you've set up in image2mesh. There are some limitations of course, and in many instances using a standard deformer will work better. But there are uses for this technique as well.

I2M is also handy for creating terrains..but the fun thing about this plugin is, you can place objects on a flat mesh plane first, then activate displacement and all objects parented under I2M will then automatically move into position on your terrain without having to place them by hand. Of course now with the geometry constraint system, this isn't quite so necessary.

Reuben5150
01-29-2006, 11:14 PM
you can place objects on a flat mesh plane first, then activate displacement and all objects parented under I2M will then automatically move into position on your terrain without having to place them by hand. Of course now with the geometry constraint system, this isn't quite so necessary.

huh ? i didn't know that, thanks :)

Reuben

Vizfizz
01-29-2006, 11:35 PM
Yes.. before the advent of geometry constraints I had to create a sophisticated ski slope for the XGames. They wanted an integrated path and terrain for which the skier and camera would travel along and if I had to place all the trees, jumps and various objects into the terrain by hand it would have taken forever.

So instead... we used I2M. By creating a 2d grayscale map of the intended hillside we loaded that into I2M and reduced the elevation to 0, effectly creating a flat highrez mesh. We then placed all the objects, trees and buildings on the flattened I2M plane, parented the objects to I2M and then activated the displacement map option. All objects parented to the I2M plugin were set to inherit deformations. Once the displacement map was activated, all the trees, buildings and objects moved to match their position on grayscale map. If I remember right, the camera's path also deformed properly. (Though I'm having problems getting the camera path to deform in 6.5r2.) I'll check and see if I can get it to work...but like the light position deformation problem listed in another thread, deforming anything else but geometry seems to be having some problems. Matt Hoffman thinks it may be a bug.

Here's a pic showing the technique,

Brian

Vizfizz
01-29-2006, 11:56 PM
Hmmm.. very interesting.. I can't seem to get the camera path to deform like I did back in 2.9. Animation paths of geometry objects will deform properly under I2M but cameras will not. I definintely think that there is something wrong with deformation properties of non geometry objects.

I just did a test where I created an ubershape teapot and a b/w grayscale gradient map for I2M. The grayscale map created a gentle slope up a hill. With the elevation at zero and displacement turned off, I animated the teapot and camera along the flattened I2M plane... activating elevation and displacement created the hill and made the teapot skate along the new surface properly, but the camera animation did not inherit the deformation.

Reuben5150
01-30-2006, 07:00 PM
Here's a pic showing the technique,

Brian

Great stuff, i'll have to do some tests later, i remember when i first tried I2M thinking wow this thing is great, i seem to recall getting a pretty good animated ocean from an image sequence generated with ParticleIllusion.


Reuben

vislaw
02-01-2006, 03:41 PM
Vizfizz, on the EI froum I had posted a query about how to distribute objects on an uneven terrain (http://www.eitechnologygroup.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=6049) From your post here I am wondering if this technique could do what I want. Though I have to use real data for the terrain there are a number of methods I can think of to generate a gray scale elevation map. I've never used this tool, though. Does it sound like I'm on the right track?

Mark

Vizfizz
02-01-2006, 04:29 PM
Vizfizz, on the EI froum I had posted a query about how to distribute objects on an uneven terrain (http://www.eitechnologygroup.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=6049) From your post here I am wondering if this technique could do what I want. Though I have to use real data for the terrain there are a number of methods I can think of to generate a gray scale elevation map. I've never used this tool, though. Does it sound like I'm on the right track?

Mark



Hey Mark,

Yes.. there are many more "advanced" methods of placing geometry on terrain. Geometry constraints and Placer Deposit 2 usually come to mind. Using I2M still requires manual placement of objects, but you can do it on a flattened terrain, which is easier, and then activate displacement and watch everything automatically move into position. At the time I did that Xgame animation, there was no such thing as geometry constraints and Placer Deposit 1 was the only thing available. (I didn't have it). I2M is a handy, free way of creating terrains and displacements that work pretty well in a pinch.

Brian

vislaw
02-01-2006, 05:29 PM
I've got Placer Deposit but figured it wouldn't be good for my requirements because I have specific building footprints I must match using an aerial. I don't mind placing the objects by hand on a plane. The big problem for me has been the painful need to adjust vertical elevation by hand to get objects on the surface of the uneven terrain. That is why your description of being able to place objects on the plane and then have them rise with the elevation automatically appeals to me.

Let me show my ignorance about geometry constraints. Nobody mentioned this in my original post on the EI forum. I'll need to get out my manual I guess. From what I've described, could I use geometry constraints to automatically place buildings on an uneven terrain? Is there a good tutorial out there?

Thanks again for your excellent work here.

Mark

Reuben5150
02-01-2006, 07:16 PM
So instead... we used I2M. By creating a 2d grayscale map of the intended hillside we loaded that into I2M and reduced the elevation to 0, effectly creating a flat highrez mesh. We then placed all the objects, trees and buildings on the flattened I2M plane, parented the objects to I2M and then activated the displacement map option. All objects parented to the I2M plugin were set to inherit deformations. Once the displacement map was activated, all the trees, buildings and objects moved to match their position on grayscale map.
Brian


Well this seems to work, only thing is, i tried it with a rough terrain grayscale, and of cause my buidling suddenly became wrinkled and warped LOL !, haven't tested camera motion yet though..

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