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Subsurface Texture and Beginner Struggles

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  • Subsurface Texture and Beginner Struggles

    Hi there,
    I'm quite new to SpeedTree and experimenting for a few weeks to get stylized trees for an animation short film done in Unity.
    And because it plays in a forrest the trees really need to look gorgeous.

    First of all. Today I tried to get the trees working in Unity in the HDRP pipeline which worked quite well.
    But the first thing I wanted to ask is, how to get a subsurface texture, in all the examples that come with SpeedTree they are already included and
    I found no tutorial or explanation on how to get them? Hope you can help me on this one.

    And the next question is, how do I make my tree look better?
    Right now, it really looks like the tree consists of planes with textures applied to them (of course this is how it works, but I want to make it look good).
    Hopefully anyone has some tips and tricks as I'm still just experimenting around with this awesome piece of software

    Here are some pics:
    Click image for larger version

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    This is the tree setup with fronds attached to branches and on those fronds leaf meshes with the same texture. But as you can see it doesn't look really good, especially in close-ups.

    Click image for larger version

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    These are the clusters I created to get the textures for the fronds used in the tree.

    Click image for larger version

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    And this is the tree inside of Unity. I'm already happy with the look of the trunk texture (created in Substance Designer) but the foliage looks quite gross.

  • #2

    For subsurface, for the leaf texture, you will need to create a subsurface map and then load it into the ST modeler. There are other programs that can do this, or you can fake this in PS by using you gloss map, inverting it and darkening the areas you don't want a lot of light to go through. You can find information about making a subsurface map online.

    As for the shape of the mesh, you can try adding some 'Deformation' -> 'Twist' to the leaf cluster meshes. This will twist the mesh around it's Y-axis.

    Something you can do to help with the over all look is to maybe turn on Collision and editing those properties so it doesn't look too clustered.
    Here is a link to the documentation page about Collisions:

    Another thing you can do is editing the 'Lighting' normal to the leaf meshes. I would first try setting the Leaf Mesh generators -> 'Lighting' -> 'Anchor' to 'Global' or 'Deep' and editing the 'Amount' value to see how that affects the overall look. You may need to edit the curves to get a more dynamic lighting variance. You may also try using some 'Lighting' -> 'Puffiness' as well.
    Here is a link to the Leaf Mesh generator's documentation page which lists what each of the properties do, just scroll down to the 'Lighting' section:

    Hope this helps!