A reminder…

•March 2, 2020 • Leave a Comment

If it seems quiet around here, it’s worth checking out my gallery at Artstation. I post there more frequently, but more images than words.


Real-time PBR materials reel…

•September 27, 2019 • 1 Comment

Last night I demonstrated some of the real-time PBR material work I’ve done over the past few years at the 3D Camp/Irish VR meetup in Workday, Dublin. All of the clips were rendered in Toolbag 3.

Tiling geometry to create PBR materials…

•September 5, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Lots has happened this year, some good and some bad stuff and I’ve been neglecting this blog a bit. I post more on Artstation these days, but I like to keep the blog separate for deeper dives into my work. So, it’s the blog here for behind the scenes/breakdowns and the Artstation page for at-a-glance final images and portfolio.

I tried some experiments over the Summer with procedural scattering in 3dsmax to create tiling textures, kind of like Substance Designer but in full 3D. This has pros and cons but I’m encouraged by these tests and will definitely use the technique again. The workflow is basically create a number of models, e.g. stones, pebbles or grass blades, scatter them across a noisy plane primitive using PFlow or Hair and Fur in 3DSMax, then run a maxscript to chop, repeat and tile them along the border creating a seamless high poly tile. From that, the usual textures can be rendered off, height, normals, AO etc and used to create materials. Here’s my attempt at some lawn grass using this technique, rendered in real-time:

Rendered in Toolbag 3


•March 9, 2019 • 1 Comment

Everyone loves free stuff right? Well, I’ve put some of my recent texture work on Gumroad, where you can download it for FREE! It’s a 4K seamless moss material, approximately 30cm x 30cm, rendered below in Toolbag and Blender. Check it out at the link below


Close up
Context render on some draped geometry
Wet and dry variants
Material breakdown
Rendered in Eevee in Blender 2.8

Into 2019…

•February 9, 2019 • Leave a Comment

I meant to close off last year with some posts over the Christmas break, but I went something of a PC detox, I didn’t make any new art and frankly, just enjoyed time away from the screen. So, Happy 2019 I guess, and here’s what I’ve been messing about with since the last post! I’ll go into more detail next time, this is more of a recap as I haven’t posted in a few months. I’ve been a bit lazy in only posting images to my Artstation page and not writing about the actual projects.

I did some further work on fallen Autumn leaves, using Artomatix for tiling but this time using a compact 20mp point and shoot camera instead of a 12mp phone camera to try and up the quality:

I also finally looked at Blender! I’ve been threatening to for a while but the gorgeous real-time Eevee renderer in Blender 2.8 really caught my attention, so I’ve started to feel my way around it, with some great help from Fin O’Riordan

I mainly brought over assets I’d already modelled and used Blender to construct materials, then light and render the results, here’s what that looked like:

Blender 2.8 video capture
This is rendered in Toolbag 3, for comparison
Texture breakdown

This also led to some further experimentation with texture capture from the real world, again using photographs, but not photogrammetry. I think it warrants it’s own post as refinement continues. Here are some early results of this work, with the bonus that I can now capture decent translucency from thin objects, like these leaves and crackers.

More to follow soon, thanks for reading.

Soft underfoot…

•November 13, 2018 • Leave a Comment

A quickie environment material, shot at a bus stop in a leafy area. The camera was on burst mode, so it took a load of photos every time I clicked, I wasn’t sure what was up with it when it took so long to respond! The pictures weren’t super sharp, but weren’t as blurry as I suspected they might be from the handheld movement. All rendering is real-time in Toolbag 3, here’s a sphere with the end result:


Applied to a ground plane for context:


Here’s the initial tessellation of the ground plane, I kept it flat as there are pools of standing water among the leaves, and adding noise into the ground plane curved the water surface and looked bad. I used the useful “water level” node in Substance Designer to add the water puddles and have all maps updated automatically. There was a slight slope to the ground I shot, and this was reflected in the height map, so I went back into Knald to generate a “flatter” height map from normals. This worked better with the puddles. Designer was also used for AO cancellation in the albedo and to correct texture values for PBR.


Further tessellation of the ground with Toolbag’s PN triangles.


Added sub surface scattering to catch the seasonal low sun light:



Now with bonus ambient sound! (Thanks YouTube!)

Wood shavings…

•November 5, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Not much to this material exercise, it’s a spin off from something I needed for another personal project. It’s based off extruded helix splines in 3DSMax, with added rigid body dynamics and a simple stacking simulation to settle the coils. Missing detail was filled in with Artomatix, on top of seam removal. This has limited usage but was decent background filler for what I needed, I’ll be posting more about that soon.