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Animating Grass and Flowers Using Paint Effects in Maya

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Hey guys, today I will show you how to make a beautiful natural scene using Paint Effects in Maya. Paint Effects is a very useful and unique feature in Maya and you can make very attractive and beautiful natural scenes with it. A Paint Effects animation looks very natural and realistic and I'm pretty sure Maya users will find this tutorial quite helpful.


Step 1

In this tutorial we are going to learn Paint Effects in Maya. In the end of this tutorial, we’ll have a beautiful scene with animated grass and flowers. So let’s start and first go to Create > NURBS Primitives and then select Plane.

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Step 2

Now, create a NURBS plane on the grid. In the Channel Box/ Layer Editor, increase the number of patches to 10 in both U and V to subdivide the plane.

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Step 3

If you are not in the Surfaces menu mode, then switch to Surfaces mode first and then go to the Edit NURBS menu and then click on the Sculpt Geometry Tool options box.

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Step 4

This opens the Sculpt Geometry Tool settings window. Here you can set the ‘Max. Displacement’ value of the brush according to your wishes.

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Step 5

Now, modify the NURBS plane into a bumpy terrain by pulling and pushing the vertices.

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Step 6

If you are not in the Rendering menu mode then switch to Rendering mode first, and then with the Plane object selected, click on Paint Effects and then select Make Paintable.

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Step 7

Again click on Paint Effects and then click on the Get Brush command to open the Visor window. Visor is a collection of so many exciting effects like grass, flowers, trees, fire, ocean etc. We can generate all such effects while doing 3D painting.

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Step 8

In the Visor window, select the ‘grasses’ group inside the Paint Effects tab then choose ‘grassClump.mel’. You can choose any of the presets you wish.

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Step 9

Now, with grassClump.mel selected, drag the brush onto the NURBS plane wherever you want to fill with grass.

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Step 10

To Increase or Decrease the size of the grass, go to the ‘grassClumb1’ tab and then change the ‘Global Scale’ value to increase or decrease the height of grass.

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Step 11

With the grass object selected in the viewport, press Ctrl + A to open the Attribute Editor. In the Attribute Editor, click on the 'grassClump'1 tab and then click on the Tubes stack.

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Step 12

You will see several sub-stacks. Now click on the ‘Behavior’ sub-stack to expand its properties, and here open the Turbulence sub-stack as shown in the image below.

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Step 13

By default, the ‘Turbulence Type’ is set to Off. So expand its drop down arrow menu and select Grass Wind to apply a wind effect to the grasses.

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Step 14

Now, inside the Turbulence tab. Keep the Turbulence value at 0.250, Frequency at 0.600 and Turbulence Speed at 0.500. Play with the values for different types of results.

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Step 15

Also open the rollout of the Forces tab and change the value of Path Follow to 0.035.

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Step 16

You can also play with the color shades of the grass. If you want to change the grass color shade then click on the 'grassClump1' tab, expand the Shading panel and then the Tube Shading sub-panel. And you will find ‘Color1’ and ‘Color2’.

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Step 17

Here you can change both the Color1 and Color2 colors as per your choice. For now let’s keep the default colors.

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Step 18

To test the simulation, first increase the timeline to 300 frames and then press the Play button.

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Step 19

Just like this, we can add more elements into the scene, like different kinds of flowers, trees etc. The process to add these elements is just like we have seen in the previous steps. You can also add some lights and a sky background image to the scene.

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Step 20

This is the result of the rendered scene, it looks pretty good and natural. You can try to make more natural grasses and plants to populate your animated scenes in Maya. I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. NB: - For faster and higher quality rendering, put more RAM in your system and a good graphics card.

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