Free Landscape Pack, UI Designs & Blender Motion Graphics Update

Blender files for these shots are also included! :)

Another big update this time, as it's been a busy few months.

First off, check out this free landscape pack I created!
It's licensed under the public domain, so you can use it however you want. All of the texture sets are 8K resolution and include displacement maps, flow masks, height masks, normal maps and more. All of them were created using World Machine and the source files are also available. That way you can generate endless variations yourself if you have World Machine!

There's also fairly high resolution meshes included in OBJ format, as well as nine example blender files to take a look at. There's also an included PDF overview and a quick start video to get you rolling quickly.

So why did I license this CC0? Well, to be honest, I'd rather people use these and be happy with some free stuff, than try and monetize all of this. I created all of them in my free time exploring World Machine and just wanted to share it without limitations. Of course, if you end up using them and want to send me a link to the result, I'll be more than happy to check it out! ;)

You can download it in a variety of ways, as the full pack with all the content is about 5GB. I understand that not everyone can easily transfer this amount of data, so here's all you options:

  • Download the full pack with everything included. (5GB)
  • Download just the textures and meshes. (3GB)
  • Browse for individual files.

All of this can be found on the Resources page of the site. (DOWNLOAD LINK)


Download this scene and more!

Download this scene and more!

A few weeks ago, I ended up creating a few UI designs (like the one shown) which are available as a free download from the Blender Cloud. After creating one for the Blender Motion Graphics series, I caught the UI / Hologram bug a little and had some fun. So be sure to check those out as well!

There's 5 available right now, and I might add more in the future if / when I end up creating them.

Speaking of the Motion Graphics training, it was an absolute pleasure working with everyone over at the Blender Institute, and I want to thank them again for giving me the chance. I'm very pleased with the end result and I hope I can help some people along with the variety of content included.

It was definitely an interesting experience doing many short videos, rather than just one long YouTube tutorial and I learned a lot from it too. All the feedback I've received is very welcome as well and for that I thank everyone who commented. :)

Over on YouTube, the WEIRD SH!T series has slowly continued as well and we're already up to episode 5! More Workflow Logs have been added too and I should be able to get back to recording more of them soon.

10 Free Freshly Squeezed (Photoscanned) Fruit Models

So it's been no secret that I've been focusing on photogrammetry for a while now. After a long delayed camera upgrade, I've finally finished a new set of photoscanned models for you to download.

The difference with the previous models is that all of these have been retopologised, making a lot more suitable to just drop them in a scene. Also, the file size of the download has decreased significantly, even with the 2K textures included.

Below is a short promo made with the models, to give you an idea of the quality. And feel free to check out each individual one on Sketchfab.

Download them now from the resources page!

Open Source Artwork: Mushroom Tree

Personal projects are awesome, and it always feels nice to finish one. This time though, rather than just share the end result, I wanted to share a bit more.

Under the name of "Open Source Artwork" I'm sharing the full scene, with all of the textures and models included, even the HDR used to light the scene. Even though I bought the original HDR at HDRI Hub, I worked with them to be able to release a free scaled down sample of it. You can use this included 2K HDR any way you'd like. Be sure to check out HDRI Hub's full selection of products on the website.

The tree bark and leaf textures were downloaded from Episcura, who were also kind enough to agree to supply scaled down versions of the textures to include. The original hi res versions can be downloaded for free once you create an account on their website. They have a very good, ever growing selection of textures, so be sure to check them out as well!


Assets included in this archive:

- Blender scene file with textures
- 3ds Max GrowFx scene
- GrowFX Preset
- Tree FBX model


References:

Environment HDR:
 - Free 2K sample generously provided by HDRI Hub
 - Original: HDR #141 - 14336px x 7168px

Tree Textures
 - Provided by Episcura
 - Tree Bark: Original Size: 1896px x 4764px
 - Twig Bark: Original Size: 3648px x 5472px
 - Leaf: Original Size: 1082px x 1758px

Blender 101: Learning Blender as a 3ds Max user

The next tutorial in the 101 series is all about Blender. This is mainly aimed at 3ds Max users, as it discusses how to set up Blender to make learning it easier with the knowledge you already have. There's plenty of other websites out there that can get you started with the basics of learning Blender, so I decided I wanted to start off with something else.

It's always good to add new software to your personal toolkit and I've been experimenting a lot with Blender lately. Why Blender? Well, it's got a lot of great features for a free application. Dynamic topology sculpting, fluid and smoke sim capabilites, and a built in modern path tracer, to only name a few things. It's really evolved to become a software package that can rival some of the "bigger" packages out there. Oh yeah, don't forget it's free. (Download it here)

EDIT: Check out the Cosmos Laundromat Pilot to see Blender in action.

I'll always love working with 3ds Max, but challenging yourself with new or different software teaches you to adapt your workflow and improves it in both packages. One is not better or worse that the other, it's just different. (And that's all I'll say on that subject)

The Blender community are also a great group of people, so I wanted to include some of the resources and websites I've been learning from in the last few months.

11 Free Freshly Scanned Bread Models

It's time for some more free models! This time it's 11 scanned models of bread. As I'm getting better at photogrammetry I decided I'd share some of the objects I've been scanning.

You'll find a range of different buns in the pack, each with its own set of textures containing a 4K diffuse, normal and specular map. All models are in OBJ format ready for import. Why OBJ? This ensures everyone can use these models, regardless of the software they're using. The image above was created with the models in Blender, and rendered with Cycles. I've been having a lot of fun exploring what Blender has to offer. Same for the short promo clip.

You can use the models in any type of work, whether it be personal or commercial. If you do share the models with people, please give them the direct download link. As usual, I'd love to see some of the work done with these, so feel free to share your results.

Download the models on the resources page.

5 Free Blossoming Cherry Tree Models

It's time for another set of trees! As I'm grasping GrowFX more and more, it's nice to experiment a little bit. Instead of using basic leaves, I modeled a simple cherry blossom to use as the "leaves". The polycount did increase drastically per tree though, coming in around 10 million polygons per tree.

Here's a front view of all five trees, rendered with the included textures.

Textures are again included for this pack. The render below is a little close for the detail to hold up, but gives a nice idea of what the structure's like. I really like the colours in this one, feels like an old-school video games FMV. (If that makes sense...)
Anyway, as always I hope you enjoy messing around with these, I had fun creating them. :)

Download the pack from the resources page

A close-up of the branch structure.

5 Hi-Res Free Spruce Trees

This is the second set of trees I'm giving away, it can be found on the new resources page. I've switched to FBX as the format, as I found there was a lot of problems with the OBJ format the previous pack was exported to, which has also been converted to FBX.

The zips now also contains and ID List, which is easier reference than having to refer to the website. Size has also increased considerably, with this zip coming in at 2.2GB. Below is quick render to show the trees.

As always, if you have any suggestions on improving these packs in the future, be sure to let me know in the comments.

DOWNLOAD THE SPRUCE TREE PACK

10 Free Hi-Res Generic Tree Models

A while back I finally found some time to start learning GrowFX and it's been a lot of fun! I highly recommend looking at it if you're looking to make your own vegetaion for your scenes.

The models I've been making with lately are starting to shape up quite nicely. As I'm still just experimenting I decided to share some of my creations. The first of these is a pack of 10 "generic" trees. They haven't been modeled after any particular species, but if you need quickly some models to populate your scene these could work out for you.

The render below was made with the tree pack and Grass Generator, using textures found at CGTextures.com. All the trees are in OBJ format, no textures are included. The pack is about 1.2 GB to download.

tree_screenshot.png

As you can see from the screenshot to the left, all of the models include roots. The Material ID's and UV are also prepared for easy texturing.

Material ID's 1 through 5 are for the roots, trunk, branches and twigs, ID's 6 through 8 are for the leaves.

generic_id.png

ROUNDUP: Three great free fragmenting tools for 3ds Max

When searching for the right tools for the job, you often end up on the website of a company offering a (range of) commercial plugins(s) that is suited to the task. Sometimes though, if you only need subsets of the plugin's functionality, you can find free tools that equally well suited.

That's the reason for this roundup. When it comes to fracturing objects in 3ds Max there's a wide variety of tools available to you... for free! Rather than focusing on the big well-known commercial plugins such as RayFire or Volumebreaker, I'd like to give you an idea of what you can find if you look around a bit on a website such as ScriptSpot, which provides a plethora of free and commercial scripts and plugins for 3ds Max. This roundup is still only a selection of what you can find for free, based on my personal experience with these great tools.

With that said, it's time to get down to business.

1. Fracture Voronoi

This script by user Garp on ScriptSpot has been around for quite some time. A lot of 3ds Max VFX tutorials on the web use this script as their preferred quick fracturing solution. The interface is very self explanatory, which makes it fast and easy to use. If I'm ever in need of quick, basic fracturing I find myself coming back to this script quite a bit. You can find it here.

Also, Louis Marcoux made a variant of this script where it fractures the currently selected objects, rather than the picked object. That version can be found for download here. BONUS: The page also contains a great 3 part tutorial on how to blow stuff up in 3ds Max.

Screenshot of the Fracture Voronoi interface

2. VoroFrag

More a plugin than a script, this great tool by user LittleLordPotala works a little different than the other two featured items in this list. It's a modifier which can be applied to all kinds of objects in 3ds Max, effectively giving you the option to procedurally fracture objects and retain control down the line.

One of its key features is dynamic interaction with different objects in your scene, even particle systems. This makes it a lot of fun to experiment with, as you can see your fractures update in the viewport in real-time. When you're satisfied with the result, just hit the fracture button and VoroFrag will create the geometry. (see screenshot below)

VoroFrag also comes bundled with a user manual in PDF format, and LittleLordPotala has also made a few videos showcasing its features so you can get started with it right away! Get it here.

An example of some of the newer VoroFrag features.

A screenshot of VoroFrag applied to a box, showing it's interface and the real-time view of the object being fractured.

3. Advanced Fragmenter

As the name suggests, this script by user Jbond is quite fully featured indeed. If you've ever used RayFire, Advanced Fragmenter will definitely look familiar. One could say a fair amount of design decisions regarding the interface (and some other features) have been "inspired" by its commercial counterpart.

All jokes aside though, this script has a lot to offer in terms of functionality. Not just all kinds of custom and automatic fracturing, but also things like bullet holes, a bunch of mesh cleanup utilities and even a history where you can hide, unhide and delete individual layers of fractured geometry.

One thing to note at the moment is that Advanced Fragmenter is currently at version 1.0, so some things still need to be smoothed out. For example, part of installing the script requires copying some icons to a hidden system (sub)folder. There also exists a dependency on iToo Software's free Clone modifier, which will have to be installed to access the cloning functions in the Modifiers Tab. Also, with all its functionality, it would be nice to have seen some kind of user manual, as at first it can be a bit daunting trying to figure out what every button does.
These are just minor gripes though, because once you get used to the interface, experimenting is easy and a lot of fun.

The Fragment Tab contains all the basic controls for quick and custom fragmentation. You can easily just break up your geometry in a certain amount of chunks or really get down and dirty with the look you're after by using a custom cutter shape.

Custom fragmentation is a breeze thanks to a dedicated interface in the Modifiers Tab, where you can tweak and clone your slicing geometry by adding modifiers via a custom interface. This is great for when you need precise control of how the fragments should look. There's even controls for freehand drawing a shape in the viewport to create your custom shape.

The Post Tab allows you to quickly iterate by removing or hiding fragmentation layers.

The Advanced Tab has options for creating bullet holes, down to the creation and control of a custom shape for the holes themselves.

The Pro Tab allows you to use helpers and existing scene geometry to fragment your objects.

And finally, the Utilities Tab allows you to clean up your fractured geometry.

Screenshot of the Fragment Tab

Advanced Fragmenter Features Video

Advanced Fragmenter has a lot more to offer than what I just glossed over here, so definitely have a look at what it can do. To get started, there's a few videos supplied by the creator of the script, which give you a nice overview of what's possible with it.

There's still a few bugs present as it's version 1.0, so be wary of course, but don't let it spoil your fun as you get to know the ins and outs of this great free script.

You can find it on the ScriptSpot page here.

Free vase model broken easily with VoroFrag. Taping it back together proved to be the hard part.

Conclusion

Keeping an eye out for scripts such as these can really help you create some amazing work, without adding additional cost to production. Like I mentioned before, these are just three scripts I hand-picked because I use them every now and then. There's many more great free tools like these available, and the 3ds Max scripting community is very active in a lot of places. I hope you enjoyed reading this article and wish you a lot of fun experimenting!

A big shoutout to the creators of these fantastic tools: GarpLittleLordPotala and Jbond. Be sure to check out all their other stuff as well!