Features of Scene Assembly Vegetation Animation

Cycle: Architectural Animation

Video: Gork Studio

First, let’s list the ways to bring vegetation to life:

1 Using Ready Libraries (e.g., Evermotion or Forest Pack) Pros:

  • Quick;
  • Good animated grass setups in the forest;
  • Animation previews available; Cons:
  • Limited variety (you won’t find any "bubble fruits" or "blood-suckers" there);
  • The materials in such collections usually leave much to be desired;

2 "Growing" Trees Using GrowFX Pros:

  • Can create any tree;
  • Better control and quality of animation over individual plant objects (trunk, branches, leaves);
  • Animation previews available; Cons:
  • Time-consuming;
  • And again, time-consuming;

3 Animating Vegetation Manually Using Modifiers Pros:

  • A golden mean in terms of implementation time;
  • Predictable quality of geometry and materials;
  • The technique is suitable for almost any geometry;
  • Acceptable level of animation control, including for close-ups; Cons:
  • Difficult to preview on heavy geometry;
  • Requires practice working with animation curves;
  • Heavy files;

After weighing all factors, we chose the third option.

To prevent potential mistakes, here are some additional points:

  1. If you have dynamic flythroughs, the animation needs to be intensified 2−3 times compared to a static camera. Keep this in mind when planning deadlines. Setting up vegetation animation is labor-intensive and requires a lot of attention;
  2. For long flythroughs, it makes sense to loop tree animations (i.e., the end and start points on the graph should match — always check this);
  3. The cycle duration should be no less than 100, preferably 250 frames (at 25 frames per second);
  4. To avoid the effect of tiling animation, start the cycle at different positions on the X-axis for different trees;
  5. Three main modifiers for vegetation animation — Bend (for the trunk), Noise (for branches and leaves), FFD (general). Polygons are selected using Soft select;
  6. Geometry with an open stack of modifiers critically affects the fps in the viewport, so if you have a heavy scene, you can bake the animation using the Point Cash modifier (a file similar to a proxy is created on the disk, only with animation in the ".pc2" format);
  7. Point cash can be thrown onto both geometry and proxies, and can be recorded in proxies (the main thing is that the geometry remains the same);

PS Before a commercial task, I highly recommend practicing with various animation options to understand the time you will need for implementation.
Guides Gork 3D visualization