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.
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.
You can drag multiple plants from the plant browser into the EcoSystem population list, making the preparation of complex EcoSystems a lot quicker.
When painting EcoSystems, you can paint with the underlying EcoSystem material rules applied, so that, for instance, the influence of slope and altitude or the sizing rules are taken into account when painting instances.
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.
SolidGrowthCS is a special version of SolidGrowth, e-on's unique vegetation technology. SolidGrowthCS plants are prepared from their SolidGrowth counterparts and precomputed for seamless operation using native instancing capabilities.
SolidGrowthCS plants are available in 2 levels of detail (user controllable).
The SolidGrowthCS format allows you to generate up to 4 variations of each plant species. By default, each plant species ships pre-computed once (i.e. each plant is available as one single geometry), but you can easily add more diversity to each species by choosing a higher number of variations . The number of variations to generate is user controlable.
If you decide to increase the number of variations of a given species, additional variations (shape, height etc...) will be generated and saved in all corresponding proxy file formats (native, mental ray or V-Ray proxies).
Once processed, the variations are automatically embedded into the SolidGrowthCS species, so this operation needs to be done only once.
When added to an EcoSystem, each instance of the SolidGrowthCS plant will be automatically and randomly populated using one of the embedded variations.
Carbon Scatter 2 ships with a collection of 100+ SolidGrowthCS plant species. All these plants can be edited thanks to the Carbon Botanica Plant Editor (see below).
Carbon Scatter now also supports .VEG SolidGrowth plants (the Vue format).
You can extend this collection with hundreds of customized species from Cornucopia3D.
Carbon Scatter now supports billboard trees (textured planes that always face the camera) which can be used to render distant forests faster than with geometrical trees.
An additional collection of 134 billboard trees is provided with Carbon Scatter 2.
The optional Carbon Botanica Plant Editor lets you easily customize any of the plants included with Carbon Scatter and allows creation of your own, unique plant species.
Adjust the settings for the entire plant, or work on individual subsets of the plant (trunk, branches leaves...). Textures for any subset can be edited or replaced, so you can use your own pictures and scans to create new realistic leaves and trunks.
Your newly created plants can be saved as specimens for later use. Since each plant is based on the SolidGrowth technology, each new plant you will create will look slightly different, yet the overall characteristics of the species will be preserved.
Carbon Scatter allows access to all your EcoSystems in your scene easily.
You can now edit, copy, paste (for replacement) or delete EcoSystems in a simpler way than in the first version of Carbon Scatter.
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.
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.
The Carbon Scatter RenderNodes can read both ".csveg" and ".csvz" file formats.
Since Carbon Scatter is not compatible with V-Ray or mental ray standalone renderers, network rendering requires that the Carbon Scatter plugin be installed on all the machines that are used for the network render.
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 ships with a collection of time-dependent noise functions for the creation of animated materials (e.g. to simulate the varation of vegetation over the time).
Controlling Materials from the "Outside"
It is possible to control internal material properties based on external parameters, such as the position of an object in the scene. This could be used to create a gathering of shrubs around a native object, for instance...
The External Dependency nodes of the Function Graph can express object positions and dimensions in user-definable real-world units (meters, feet, etc). This is also the case for other nodes that express real world dimensions, such as Distance to object below, etc.
MetaNodes let you group several nodes or links into a single node.
MetaNodes greatly simplify the readability of your graphs by letting you organize your graph into functional modules and then "publishing" the relevant internal parameters so that they are accessible in the Function Graph.
Your own MetaNodes can be saved for future use, and you can even create your own interfaces using parameter publishing for faster turnaround!