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Paolo Zirpoli avatar image
Paolo Zirpoli asked ·

How to scatter procedurals on a surface in 3DS Max

Hi everyone. I'm working on a large scale scene which requires a lot of repeated geometry such as trees to be scattered all over the scene (on a displaced plane representing a mountain in particular, which is 8km by 8km in size).

I'm using Arnold procedural instances, because this way I can avoid loading thousands of copies of the same geometry in my scene while I'm working on the scene.

(for reference https://docs.arnoldrenderer.com/display/A5AF3DSUG/Procedural)

My problem is that I need thousands of these instances, and I can't possibly place them all by hand, I'd never finish. Is there a way I can automate the process? 3DS Max has a Scatter tool, but it does not work with arnold procedurals (it does not accept the object as input at all). I tried using the paint geometry tool but it doesn't work correctly.

Any ideas? :)

shadersproceduralsscene
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Mads Drøschler avatar image
Mads Drøschler answered ·

The pflow operator works fairly well for procedurals.
I set the particle system to print 1 million locations.

Trees are very small on image, and it just looks like a terrain with a noise texture on, but just zoom in while rendering in Active shade and you see, lots of trees.


Attached a 2020 file
Just load your favorite tree into the Procedural scene node and hit render.
Play with scale and random scale.


You can control pr. tree color variations and pr leaf randomizations of colors and other things with a small technical Arnold shader rig.


qwe.png (1017.9 KiB)
scatter.zip (137.6 KiB)
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Well this worked very well. I've never used pflow before, it looks really cool. Thanks for the tip! Do you have an example/tutorial/documentation about this shader rig you're talking about? Haven't heard of that before.

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Aaron Ross avatar image
Aaron Ross answered ·

Pflow with the Arnold Shape operator?

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Stephen Blair avatar image
Stephen Blair answered ·

Use the built-in scatter tool, then a script to put a procedural at each point?

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