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Autoplacing trees in 3dsmax. Rate Topic: -----

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 02:34 AM

Some of you have made your own terrians in 3dsmax.

You can also use 3dsmax to automatically scatter objects around the surface, like trees, and then just export it as one big ase model.

I used this technique to place around 1200 billboard trees on ut4_snowland, figure'd I'd pass it on:

Start off with some terrain made in 3dsmax.  This one is 4096x4096, with 32x32 segments.
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Import a tree model, make sure the pivot point is at the base.  Then position this tree somewhere on your terrain.  It will be your "seed" model, so make sure its materials and whatnot are set up now.
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Create a particle system "Parray" and add it to the scene.  Then move it to 0,0,0

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Keeping the parray selected, go to the modify tab, and do the following:

[Basic Parameters]
1) Object Based Emitter / Pick Object -> Select the terrain
  This will tell the parray we're placing particles on this surface.
2) Viewport Display / Percentage of Visible Particles -> Set to 100%
3) Viewport Display -> Set the type to  "Mesh"

[Particle Type]
1) Particle Types -> Set to "Instanced Geometry"
2) Instancing Paramters / Pick Object -> Pick the tree
3) Click the  [ Get Material From ]  button to grab the material off of the source tree

You should have some teeny tiny trees visible on your terrain now.

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You can modify the following to suit your tastes:

[Particle Generation]
Use Rate-> (defaults to 10) Set it to however many you want.
Particle Size -> (defaults to 1)  Set this to get some scale and variation in scale going

One last thing!  This will not export to .ase!!

You need to "mesher" the parray object.  You do this by creating a "mesher" compound object, adding it to the scene and moving it to 0,0,0 as well.
Then point it at the tree parray.

(I've added some more particles and increased the scale a bit)
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And you're done.

You can now turn the "mesher" into an Edit Poly if you want to delete/rotate/move some of the trees around, or apply different textures.
You can delete the particle system once you do this...

To finish: one of the work in progress shots from ut4_snowland, I use a couple different models for LOD'ing but you get the idea.
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