Ultimate Scatter for Maya

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  04 April 2017
This thread isnt about getting vrayscatter to work so please keep on topic.

Personally for scatter tools, I want stability, the ability to easily swap instanced geo, randomisation tools and the also for the scattered objects to have collision so you dont end up with geo ontop of geo.

Also I don't mind paying but please make it affordable.
  04 April 2017
i bought vrayscatter but having issues with 2014 vray 2.40 it works but wont pass textures so far
  04 April 2017
Originally Posted by thehive: i bought vrayscatter but having issues with 2014 vray 2.40 it works but wont pass textures so far

Please make a separate post. Hijacking threads makes life a lot harder for people looking for answers.
  04 April 2017
Getting back on track,

I think we would all love to use your tool, Ryan Nolan. At least to try it out. Anything that would make the workflow easier, more streamlined, or more tweakable could only help us as artists. Maya can be so tedious in so many ways, as to hamper creative freedom and especially with large scenes.

I'd love to give your tool a spin sometime, especially if you can implement a "paint" type feature as well.
Commodore 64 @ 1MHz
1541 Floppy Drive

"Like stone we battle the wind... Beat down and strangle the rains..."
  04 April 2017
Hey Guys,
Really apologize for disappearing for the past few days. Had some family stuff come up that I had to take care of and required most of my attention. As well as needing to take care of taxes at the same time...yay.

Anyways, I am happy to see some people are liking the tool :).
(There's an overall update at the end of the post, if you'd like to skip to that stuff)

I'm happy you found this thread :). I was curious to see if you were still using your scatter tool or another commercial tool. Your tool is definitely a great one and I've used it on a few projects of my own :). Just needed something more optimized for production.

I have used Vrayscatter in the past and it's a cool tool. I really like a lot of the features in it. And to be fair, it was a long time ago when I used it. I believe it also had the issue of slowing down on high poly terrains. Also, the biggie for me, I hate being tied down to a specific renderer. At least that's how it was when I used it. Idk if it supports objects for use in other renderers or not now. Still a great tool though. I just needed something that I could take with me from job to job. Couldn't do that with vrayscatter.

Thank you for you posts, I appreciate it. I do believe, Ultimate Scatter currently has features that you're looking for. Except maybe the stability part, but I'll get to that in a sec :).

I couldn't agree with you more.

Overall update:
So like I said before, I haven't been able to work on the tool a lot, very recently. However, since my last post I am happy to say that I was able to optimize the scatter algorithm a lot. Especially for smaller/simpler scenes. On simple scenes my tool was taking about 1min per 20k objects. 20k objects now take about 14s to scatter. I also re ran the demo from the Features Video I posted. Scatter times went from 3m 30s to 2m 50s. So definitely some improvements there :)

Pricing matter:
First off I'd like to say, I want this tool to be affordable to most people when released. At max, I'm thinking of charging $25USD, free updates forever. And, I will probably release a "lite" version of the tool for free on creative crash. The lite version would offer much less control over object randomness, and also the Masking tab would be removed. Other than that, everything else would remain the same. Those are my thoughts at the moment but are subject to change.

What needs to be completed before the first version is released:
There are still a few features in the tool itself, buttons etc... that have yet to be implemented. So I need to get all that working
The tool has so far been very stable with all of my tests, but I still need to fully go through the tool and push everything to it's limits and make sure things are working as intended.
My goal is to have the first version (free and paid) released by the end of the month :)

Upcoming Features aimed for later releases of the tool:
--Paint Scatter Tool (this actually has a high possibility of making into the initial release but we'll see)
--LOD Support
--Options for converting the particle objects to geo
--Options for deleting objects
--Undo support

Apologies for such a long post! Just wanted to respond to everyone and give an update. If you have any thoughts on anything I've posted here please let me know. Thank you!
  04 April 2017
If this were my tool i would do it as a yearly subscription, at 50 bucks a year gives you motivation to keep improving it an add more tools to it.

One project will pay for it for the year no problem any one chime let me know if im off key here

Last edited by thehive : 04 April 2017 at 01:23 PM.
  04 April 2017
To be honest, I'm loathe to deal with any subscription plans financially. Maya (for me) was a complete flop in 2016 and 2017, so I still use 2015 for my work since it's very stable and since I still use mental ray for rendering almost exclusively. I still use Photoshop CS6 as well - the new versions of these two offer no real advantage for my work.

I really think you should give us a hobbled but functional Freeware style demo first, and then gauge your pricing accordingly after that. I would probably pay $50 for this tool, but if I had to do that every year it makes the decision a bit harder. Of course, if you were doing major overhauls and updates every year, that would again be a different story.

I do a LOT of scattering in my artwork, even in my space scenes, and anything that would increase productivity or more important artistic freedom would be a pretty big deal. EnvSys completely changed the scope of my art, from hundreds of instances to millions or billions, and thus much richer, lusher landscapes. This tool should offer similar but improved usage and features (it does already) if you want to charge money.
Commodore 64 @ 1MHz
1541 Floppy Drive

"Like stone we battle the wind... Beat down and strangle the rains..."
  04 April 2017
The best tool is the tool that help on daily and tipical workflow. Your tool seem to be great and i think it would be payed. But the tool need to be great before i'm pay for it. e.g. i'm modelled the "Stelvio Pass" for our game engine, was a pain but i'm finished. There are 50000 trees, "CrossPlanes"(BillBoard) i'm scattered with spPaint3d by hand. Every time i take a slowdown, i'm grouping and hiding and layering(hide)
How your tool can help in such environment, what workflow?
The most important scatter plugin(are all for 3dsmax....F..k )have "include object, point cloud Visualization(not LOD) frustum camera(calling)
The inclusion object is an object where the scattered object are created. The same is with "carbonScatter" with spline.
These images are made by me with carbon scatter, the scattering operation was really simple semi-Interactive
and productive(nothing special) but do the jobs.

MayAdvanced Blog
My youtube channel
  04 April 2017
There's a couple problems with going the subscription route. 1) a lot of people hate it, myself included. 2) since this tool is written fully in python, I have no way of enforcing a subscription model. People would be able to use the tool past the 1 year mark. However, I guess I could just stop giving people updates after the one year mark. But that's still something I'd rather not do.

The method pointed out by InfernalDarkness, is much more what I'm leaning towards doing at the moment.

Scattering 50,000 trees by hand sounds painful! But I know the pain as well, on this last feature I worked on I was scattering 100,000+ proxy objects (~500 polys each) on to hundreds of different terrain pieces that were all super high poly. Took forever! However, the masking features included with this tool are really aimed making that process a whole lot easier

My tool currently does not have a "inclusion object" feature. But adding one would should be fairly easy. One option for me would be to just invert the function of the object masks features, so that objects not contained within them are culled away

"point cloud visualization" feature, would be cool. I'm just not sure how to implement it at the moment. For my personnel projects lately, I've been using redshift with redshift proxies. Which have a built in pseudo "point cloud visualization", so I have just been using that. And it works pretty great.

"frustum camera (culling)" is actually almost completed. I've coded the feature outside of the main tool and it's working. Just need to integrate it into the tool now. It will be implemented as a Mask, so the frustum culling happens at scatter time, NOT render time.

Those are some really awesome results you got from carbon scatter! I will say carbon scatter is probably one of the best, if not the best, option out there right now for scattering in Maya, for the general person. It's insanely fast, works great with multiple terrains (even ones without UVs), and it has good support for most renderers. Cons? 1) Doesn't work in viewport 2.0. 2) it's annoying you have to select a renderer that it supports before you can even start scattering (I hate being limited to a certain renderer). 3) Price ~$300 4) And the biggie, it's insanely slow for very large poly count terrains. I tried using carbon scatter on the terrain from my features demo, after 20 minutes the tool didn't even start and it crashed Maya. So carbon scatter could not work for me. For the general person though, it's probably the best option.
  04 April 2017
Hey all,

Time for an update :). And there's good news and bad news.

TL:DR - The pro version won't be ready for at least another week, but the free version was just uploaded to my Gumroad (also to Highend3D but they're being extremely slow about posting the tool) for you guys to play with :). Find it here: https://gum.co/AVmwT (just enter a value of 0, I'm not asking for any money from this version)

So let's get the bad news out of the way first. The Pro/paid version of the tool will not be ready till at least next week. Couple of annoying bugs I need to take care of. And I want to add in a couple more things for you guys.

The good news. Over the past few weeks I've added in and finished implementing a ton of stuff. Crushed a lot of bugs. And I've been testing several new things. Some worked out great, others didn't.

Drastically increased performance again. Speed will vary based on ground geo complexity, but should be reasonable speed.
Implemented: Custom masks and FOV masks.
Can now easily toggle, bounding box view and shaded view of scattered objects
Made further progress with paint tool, however it will not be ready for a little while.
I did make a large attempt to get per object avoidance with custom collision radius's working, however it seems it will not work with my current algorithm. I do have another plan to make it work though. Also, per object avoidance with per object radius should definitely be possible with the paint objects tool :).
Made an attempt to get point cloud view to work, however viewport 2.0 didn't want to support my method. So the code was scrapped.

Coding and implementing all that stuff took a lot of time (mainly the bug fixing), so unfortunately this will delay the release of the Pro version. However! I've just posted the free/Lite version to my Gumroad (which I am very new to) and also Highend3D (which is being extremely slow to post my tool) so you're free to give it a test run. Also to hopefully help make up for the delay of the Pro version, I'll be including an additional related script that I often use, with the release of the pro version ;). More details on that later.

Here's the Gumroad link: https://gum.co/AVmwT (just enter a value of 0, I'm not asking for any money from this version)
I'll edit this post when it's up on Highend3D.

Give it a run and please give me your thoughts :)

  04 April 2017
I'm testing it now but alas, I'm on my TV-PC, which has a resolution of 1254x706 (1280x720, minus plasma bezel borders so I can see the whole screen). The tool doesn't allow for vertical scaling, so I can't see the bottom of your panel. Seems like there's probably some pretty necessary functions or buttons down there?

Not a huge deal, as I generally use a real monitor. Just, lounging on the couch on a Sunday morning I'm not able to test your tool other than to say it loads up just fine in Maya 2015. Maybe it's a really quick and easy fix?
Commodore 64 @ 1MHz
1541 Floppy Drive

"Like stone we battle the wind... Beat down and strangle the rains..."
  05 May 2017
Hey sorry for not getting back sooner. Had to do some crazy OT this past week to help a friend finish a project for a client. Sorry about the lack of scalability on the UI. Scalable UI in Maya has always given me issues in the past, so I stuck with a fixed UI size on this one. At a later time I'll go through, and see what I can do to make it scalable. But at the moment it wouldn't be as straightforward of a fix as you'd imagine it should be. Hope you were able to test it on your regular monitor though. And thanks for downloading :).

The Highend3D link is up by the way:

Hope you all enjoy :).
Scatter Lt -

Scatter Pro -
  05 May 2017
That is looking really cool Ryan, fantastic work, I'll be following its development.
  05 May 2017
No problem, Ryan. Like I said, it's not your fault I'm using a sub-1080 plasma TV sometimes!

It works fine on all my real monitors. I'm working on a new scene, little trail in the forest, and I'll be running your tool through its paces to see how it goes. I'll be back with feedback sooner or later.
Commodore 64 @ 1MHz
1541 Floppy Drive

"Like stone we battle the wind... Beat down and strangle the rains..."
  05 May 2017
Hey All,

version 1.1.0 is up on highend3d and gumroad! (same links as before, see my sig)

Changes Include:
Added feature - 'Auto cull on steep slopes'. Allows the script to automatically prevent objects that would spawn on slopes more than 65 degrees steep (or on the bottom sides of objects). Acts similar to a slope mask, but much faster. On by default.

Added feature - 'Apply all active masks to system'. New button to apply all currently active masks to all the objects that have been scatter already in the current system

Several quality of life features added into the texture masking system

Capped the number of preview circles generated from the curve object mask to 50 (will adjust algorithm later)

Various bug fixes, mostly related to PRO features

I sent the PRO version out to some friends and co-workers for testing this past week. I added some features and fixed bugs based on their feedback. So I'm happy to say the PRO version should be coming out very soon (I know It's already later than what I said before, and I apologize). Once the pro version is released my main tasks will be to get some tutorials made. And work on the Paint Scatter feature.

Here's a video of the additional script I plan on including in the PRO version. It's a snap to surface script. I find it really useful for times when I scatter objects, and then later have to go in and adjust the terrain, making the scattered objects no longer sit on it accurately. With this script you can just select those objects, and it'll snap them to the terrain again.


Thanks for the kind comment. Hope you find it useful!

Awesome! Glad it's working for you on your regular screens. I'm looking forward to any feedback you may have :).
Scatter Lt -

Scatter Pro -
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