Displacement Sculpting

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Displacement Sculpting

Postby Tutorial on Sun May 02, 2010 9:19 pm

category
General Half-Life 2/Architecture

description
A look at the new displacement 'Sculpting' tool that was released with Left 4 Dead 2.

keywords
sculpting, displacement, displacements, Left 4 Dead 2, L4D, advanced, sculpt.

A new set of tools and features were released for the Left 4 Dead 2 Authorizing tools with the release of The Passing.
In this tutorial I will show you how to use the new "Sculpting" tool for displacement surfaces.

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Hotkeys

Hold down right click and move mouse left or right to decrease or increase the brush size.
Hold down Shift and paint to smooth geometry.
Hold down Ctrl to paint geometry in the opposite direction.
Hold down Alt and right click on a displacement surface to change the direction of the brush parallel to the displacement surface. (Only available in Normal Direction: Selected mode)


Push Tool:

Push is similar to the raise and lower tool but with a few tweaks that make it much much better, for one it doesn't have a spherical effective radius, instead it only effects the surfaces in the falloff position radius. You also have a lot more control over how it manipulates the surface which I will get into below:

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Offset Modes:

-Adaptive: (Displacement amount adapts to the size of your brush) Uses the offset percentage to calculate how much to displace the displacement. Percentage based on the size of your current brush.

-Absolute: (Displacement amount is absolute, or a set value that doesn't change.) Uses the offset distance, in hammer units, to displace your displacements. Brush size does not influence the amount that gets displaced, just the area of its effect.

Offset Distance: The distance in units in which to manipulate the geometry.

Offset Percent: The percentage of your brush size in which to manipulate the geometry.

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Smoothing: The percentage of smoothing applied to the brushed geometry. 0% Hard edges - 100% Smooth edges

Bounds Limit:

Additive: Gradually applies its displacement amount to the surface over time.
Attenuated: Applies the set displacement amount to the surface, no more, no less.

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Normal Direction:

-Brush Centre: Uses centre of the brush and displaces parallel to the face you've displaced from.
-Screen: Moves geometry in direction of your current camera in the 3D view.
-X: Across the X plane
-Y: Across the Y plane
-Z: Across the Z plane
-Selected: Your specific selection. Alt+Right click in this mode on a displacement face to point the brush parallel to that face.

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Falloff Position: Percentage of the brush that will give the full offset amount on the vertices's inside. For example if your using the absolute offset mode and set it so you displace 64 units in one stroke everything inside your falloff position (Inner brush circle) will be raised the full 64 units.

Falloff final: Percentage of offset height remaining by the end of the fallout zone. 0% means there is none left, so in the fallout area make a gradual incline from the full height to 0% of that height. 100% would mean you lose no hight in the fallout zone making everything in the outer circle the same height as your inner circle.

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Carve Tool:

The carve tool uses a single plane to manipulate the geometry, in the direction of the brush motion. You can create your own brushes to change the way the plane effects the geometry, for instance raise the geometry on one side and lower it on the other.

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The carve tool differs from the push tool as it acts as a flat brush, not a circular one. You can also choose the indentations the brush makes in the displacements.

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Project Tool:

I have no idea what you need in order to have this option available, so until then that will be it for this tutorial!

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Re: Displacement Sculpting

Postby Zipfinator on Sun May 02, 2010 9:28 pm

Good tutorial! Helped me get started with the sculpting tool when it came out. I still prefer the standard paint geometry method for most things though.

My guess for the Project Tool is it projects a heightmap onto a displacement surface to determine the height of each vertex.
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Re: Displacement Sculpting

Postby whiffen on Sun May 02, 2010 9:58 pm

Thanks blink :3
Last edited by whiffen on Mon May 03, 2010 2:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Displacement Sculpting

Postby Blink on Sun May 02, 2010 11:30 pm

Fixed
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Re: Displacement Sculpting

Postby Supervillain on Mon May 03, 2010 1:28 am

Interesting stuff. I look forward to getting my hands dirty with a new tool.

I don't think I am fully understanding this though. It doesn't really seem that this new tool set can create any "new" or "better" displacement faces than the ol' [Paint Geometry]. There weren't any spectacular displacements in "The Passing" from what I saw.

Can anyone give me a rundown on how this tool can actually be effective or improve workflow?
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Re: Displacement Sculpting

Postby whiffen on Mon May 03, 2010 2:40 am

Mostly better control and speed. This took me about 2 hours to displace and alpha paint, 1 hour to slap trees on and do the lighting and stuff. Not that its quality work but I thought it was much faster and easier than it would have been with the raise and lower tools.

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With the carve tool since it follows the direction in which you paint you can make things like rivers or paths very easily.
Last edited by whiffen on Mon May 03, 2010 2:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Displacement Sculpting

Postby MáØ on Mon May 03, 2010 2:42 am

I find that the sculpting tool is very useful for things like rolling hills and such. It can do natural looking displacements far quicker then normal displacement editing.
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Re: Displacement Sculpting

Postby TicTac on Mon May 03, 2010 10:03 pm

Thanks for the tutorial :) I didn't even know this got thrown in there, it'll help a lot with out door areas
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Re: Displacement Sculpting

Postby amckern on Thu May 06, 2010 12:14 am

whiffen wrote:Mostly better control and speed. This took me about 2 hours to displace and alpha paint, 1 hour to slap trees on and do the lighting and stuff. Not that its quality work but I thought it was much faster and easier than it would have been with the raise and lower tools.

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I am not that good with painting displacements, is possible i can have a copy of you VMF (W/out trees etc) so i can have an idea how to make them in a more complex manner?
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Re: Displacement Sculpting

Postby whiffen on Thu May 06, 2010 1:58 am

Sure, but I cheated. Normally I would use brushes to build most of the cliffs and hills and then displace them but as I was just playing with the tools I only used a flat surface and raise/lowered it.

http://rs563.rapidshare.com/files/38402 ... untain.zip
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Re: Displacement Sculpting

Postby Cysticcraze on Thu May 06, 2010 4:18 am

And in all Constructive Critisizm Whiffen, you can see it in your screen shots. Still a very creative and well thought map though.

Exited to see this though, I wanna try it on my ant lion caves.
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Re: Displacement Sculpting

Postby whiffen on Thu May 06, 2010 5:13 am

:o

I'm not using it, this was my first time playing with the sculpting tools. Just something I played around with to get used to them, I haven't spent any more than the first 3 hours on it and now its in my recycle bin XD
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Re: Displacement Sculpting

Postby Noodles on Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:26 am

Sorry for necro, but have an important question:-

Whiffen, in that Hammer screenshot I can see what seem to be three different textures - the grass, the greenish cliffside, and the brown tops. If you've just displaced one brush how the hell have you got three textures on there so beautifully? I've only ever managed two with blending on displacements.
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