Macro Leaf Scattering by dburdick ()
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Vue7.5I: I have been searching for a forumla to render more realisitic looking tree foliage populations - particularly for midrange and distant ecosystems. The fundamental problem is that the leaf alpha maps used in Vue are very harsh in the sense that they create very hard, saturated looking foliage which is fine for closeups, but not very good for midrange/distant renders. So here is a render progression using various leaf material formulas. The bottom two images use a procedural leaf alpha noise I came up with (no image maps - all procedural) which helps to allow the light, atmosphere and surrounding colors to bleed though and create more of a natural scattering effect, particularly in the lower right soft alpha image. Using a soft procedural alpha creates much nicer looking, more natural looking foliage. The downside is that using a soft alpha for the leaf material increases render times by 4x to 5x.