A lot of my non-3D artist friends have been asking me about the 3D game art foliage workflow. This is by no means the only way to do things, nor is it intended to be a tutorial, but here are the steps I went through for my river reeds! This scene isn’t finished yet, but these river reeds were created under a very strict time constraint.

First, I created a quick high poly version of the river reeds. Next, I created a flat plane with much lower geometry (6 tris), for the sake of the game engine. Next, I baked the high poly onto my new plane to create my normal map. I then hand-painted the texture (and included the alpha channel for transparency). The next screenshot (reed_marmoset.jpg) is a real-time lit screenshot (in Marmoset) of the river reeds with the normal map and texture plugged in. The first and last images are screenshots from the full real-time scene I’m working on in UDK.

My college classes are officially over! Finals are next week! I can’t believe I’m almost done, whee!