Real world natural environments are extremely complex. Just think of the millions of plants, trees and rocks that make up the landscape around you.
Thanks to Carbon Scatter, simply add any kind of object to the EcoSystem population list to easily populate your scenes with millions of plants, trees, stones and achieve a totally new level of natural complexity. To make things even simpler, Carbon Scatter ships with a wide collection of plants and trees.
Of course, an EcoSystem can contain more than one type of object: add an unlimited number of elements to the population list, and control the relative presence and size of each element in the EcoSystem.
The EcoSystem technology does not merely scatter the objects randomly across the surface, but actually decides where to place them according to the relief of the underlying geometry.
So, just like in nature, more trees will grow on flat areas than on steep slopes, and no objects will be placed where they are likely to “fall down”. You can control the influence of this effect easily.
EcoSystems behave just like regular materials.
A single EcoSystem material can have any number of layers, each layer with its own population list and full set of controls.
You can easily influence EcoSystem populations according to altitude, slope or orientation. You can even take advantage of Carbon Scatter's powerful function graph to control almost every aspect of the population.
For example, use a fractal noise generator to control the distribution of EcoSystem objects, or use a bitmap to limit distribution to specific areas. On top of this, the population density can also depend on time.
Affinity and Repulsion
EcoSystem layers can influence one another: by using the affinity and repulsion parameters, it’s possible to define a relationship between two layers.
For instance, using affinity, trees in the first layer can affect the distribution of grass in the second layer, so that the grass grows only around the trees.
The EcoSystem painting tool (EcoPainter) lets you interactively paint EcoSystems over any surface (or group of surfaces).
Painted instances can be attached to the underlying surface (they will move with it), or they can be independent.
Painting can be performed with a mouse or with a tablet, which gives you the ability to control additional parameters through pressure.
* This feature is only available in 3ds Max and Cinema4D
(due to restrictions in other product SDKs)
You can paint over any number of selected objects, even the entire scene. While you paint in any direction, the instances are automatically mapped and aligned to the surface.
You can paint a mix of all the items in your population list, or paint any single item separately. Brush strokes can be undone at any time, or you can clear the whole EcoSystem for a fresh start.
Using the Ecosystem painter brush tools (EcoPainter), instances can be applied individually or painted on in airbrush fashion.
The scaling brush interactively modifies the size of an instance while the eraser tool allows instances to be removed.
This feature allows you to control how the EcoSystem instances lean out at the border of an EcoSystem. This is ideal for capturing the way plants compete for light. It's also a simple way of making grass lean over a sidewalk, for example.
Use the spline effect editor to populate EcoSystems along a spline and in the area defined by a spline. You can also use a spline as an EcoSystem mask to erase other EcoSystem instances.
EcoSystem instances can be aligned dynamically along the spline direction.
Additional Rotation and Variability settings are also available to precisely control the orientation of your instances.
Carbon Scatter offers the ability to stack EcoSystem instances.
EcoSystem Stacking is available both while populating an EcoSystem through the material editor, or painting it with the EcoPainter.
The maximum number of instances which can be stacked onto another is user definable.
Carbon Scatter lets you individually control the phase (animation offset) of animated elements inside your EcoSystem populations.
You can fully control this phase on a per instance basis, using the function graph. This is ideal for creating waves of wind blowing across fields of grass, or crowds of people that don't all walk together.
This feature is compatible both with animated native objects, or animated proxy files.
A new population mode is available in the General tab of the Material Editor, called "Fast population mode". Each parameter modification (e.g. instance density, scale or orientation) is instantly applied to the population and refreshed in the viewport.
Once you are happy with the look of your population, you can optionally press the "Accuratly reposition on surface" to precisely place your instances on your geometry.
Carbon Scatter can now automatically populate EcoSystems from all directions including below objects. This feature works on any kind of object from basic spheres to complex geometry such as rocks, cars, houses... and all applicable EcoSystem settings are supported.
Color variations can be applied to EcoSystem instances in the Color tab of the Material Editor. It can be either a color noise or a map. The Edit button opens the native editor of the color variation, where the parameters can be adjusted.
Carbon Scatter allows access to all your EcoSystems in your scene easily.
You can edit, copy, paste (for replacement), delete and save EcoSystem materials.
You can also easily replace any specimen in a population by another specimen (native object or Carbon Scatter plant).
Almost all the parameters in the material editor can be controlled by a function (or set of functions). The function editor is where the true power of material editing lies.
E-on developed the SmartGraph technology (inspired by artificial intelligence systems), to help overcome the sheer number of possibilities presented by the function editor. Thanks to this technology, connecting nodes and creating custom shaders is much easier and more intuitive.
There are hundreds of available nodes to choose from, ranging from numerous types of noises and procedural functions to mathematical nodes, mixers, combiners and filters.
Almost any node can be connected to any other, allowing the creation of highly elaborate materials. Reaction to the environment is further enhanced with nodes such as distance to object below (for instance).
Carbon Scatter can populate your scenes with animated instances. Simply animate your mesh in the host application, then when you add this mesh to an EcoSystem, an Export Animation dialog will pop-up, letting you configure the duration of the animation. If you populate your scene with instances of this animated mesh, all the instances will be animated automatically.
Carbon Scatter enables you to convert your population to native instances*. This process bakes the entire population and converts all instances to the appropriate native format. You can then freely share your scenes, and render them with any renderer, without requiring the Carbon Scatter plugin to be installed.
This is particularly useful when you don't render with any of the natively supported renderers, or want to use an outsourced renderfarm that does not currently support Carbon Scatter.
* Currently available for 3ds Max and Cinema4D.
Warning: wind animation from PlantFactory species is not transferred and
converting very large populations may bring your host application to its knees!
Each license of Carbon Scatter gives you access to unlimited network rendering.
A standalone RenderNode installer is provided with the installation files. The Carbon Scatter RenderNode will install on all applications it finds on the machine but won't give access to the Carbon Scatter interface (Carbon Scatter menu) in the application.