Gardens recreation (Ma-ko)


This scene is an attempt to recreate this scene drawn by Ma-ko for Gardens‘ upcoming game. The clip above shows my process frame by frame.

The clip below shows a 3D view of the scene, with the camera swinging from left to right. It also shows a custom data pass, the outline pass and the scene without outlines.

The custom data pass is used for the inner outlines and “ambient occlusion”, where red is the outline data and green the occlusion. The outline pass shows depth outlines in red, normal outlines in green, and custom data outlines in blue.

This scene consists mostly of procedural geometry. For instance, the leaves are done through a compute shader that draws geometry (see picture). It works very similar to a grass system where you can paint the leaves onto objects. Each leaf can have a different color, scale, grow direction and normal. In this scene there are approximately 40.000 leaves.

For the rocks I roughly model a silhouette in Blender, which I then take it to Houdini. There I procedurally deform it and bake the height position and “ambient occlusion” into the vertex colors, which I later use in my shaders.

Main components

  • Custom data edge detection
  • Depth & normal edge detection
  • Leaves compute shader
  • Semi-procedural rock models
  • Baked “ambient occlusion”

Tools used

  • Blender
  • Houdini (rocks)
  • Mixture (noise textures)
  • Unity


The first 2 parts of this tutorial helped me get started on the procedural rock modelling in Houdini.

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