The wonderful world of iToo’s Forest Pack

Aside from 3ds Max and Corona Renderer being at the forefront of my toolbox, iToo’s Forest Pack Pro is perhaps my most used plugin, capable of seamlessly and efficiently scattering everything from grass, trees, light fixtures, road markings, street furniture, to even vehicles like cars, trucks, buses and construction equipment.

To that end, I’ve created several personal libraries and everything is set for Corona by default:

  • Flowers + Rocks; Forest (utilizing Evermotion Archmodels 182);
  • Grasses (including a multitude of preset fields and distributions);
  • Light Standards (mainly roadside fixtures);
  • MT libraries are all from MaxTree;
  • Misc (contains everything from street furniture to road markings, interior lights [pot lights, linear lights], parking curbs, bollards, construction site equipment [Archmodels 115], solar arrays, tree grates, etc);
  • Shrubs (mainly AM204 and Polyget assets);
  • Trees (a refined version of “Trees, Corona” containing models from Archmodels Corona tree collection, AM207, and Polyget);
  • Trees, Anim+Var (a group of trees I rarely use and may get rid of);
  • Trees, Corona (contains a lot of project-specific species and is really a mash-up from many other collections including Archmodels and CG-Axis among others);
  • Trees, Low Poly (AM113 + AM171)
  • Unkempt Lawns;
  • VP Real Grass, Fields and Plants are both from VizPark
  • VP Real Shrubs also from VizPark
  • Vehicles
  • XFrog (a library containing a variety of species that are one used for specific species that XFrog has that no other vendor has).

But really, I wanted to write this blog post about my vehicle collection.

One thing that really stands out to me – and I put a lot of effort in – is my vehicles collection. While it’s unfortunate that you can’t animate the key-frame movement of forest items (say cars travelling down the street), using forest pack really helps add traffic not only to streets but to parking lots. To that end, below is a snapshot of the higher-poly collection of my street cars. They all share one 280-multi/sub material that makes it easy to modify the lot rather than changing each car manually, one by one. It does in a way make is slower but in the long term, it’s incredibly efficient – at least for myself. (Preview of vehicles at end of post).

Many of them also use a MultiPaint material, whether its metallic, solid, or muted, where the colour is random per-item (can be achieved with Corona’s Multimap texture set to Instance, or Forest Packs Forest Color texture with a gradient map or bitmap in the Tint override and set to by item rather than by element).

The other thing that makes the large multi/sub useful is for controlling lights. There are several light materials and they all use a special Blend material where a simple glass material is in Slot 1 and a CoronaLightMtl occupies Slot 2. I then have an On/Off controller connected to the Opacity toggle of the light material and also in the Mix Amount for the blend. When the controller is set to zero, the light appears off in the scene without appearing black, and when its set to On or 100, the light shows up. This technique coupled with ecXimer’s Light Lister script (which has ended development and isn’t available for 3ds 2017 or newer) helps make controlling lights very easy across a whole scene. This LightSwitch blend technique is used for every Light Material I use because seeing a black void when a light is off isn’t very pretty or realistic.

Lastly, this is a preview of the PDF I have for the Multi/Sub material. It is a constant work-in-progress and every time I update or make a new material to add to the group I render it in a scene that has both an exterior lit by HDRI and an interior lit by three planes. The sphere is meant to be 1m in diameter and all of my scenes are set to system units in metres.

Perhaps in the future, I will go in-depth with some of my more custom material workflows and upload presets to share.

Below are all of the main vehicles I have so far. I also have some boats, construction vehicles, buses, and Viz-People vehicles that aren’t used as often.

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