Object Distribution

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The object distribution panel creates vertex groups and particle system to distribute object over the terrain.

Many of these settings are based on Blender’s particle properties, so you can tweak them by going into the properties editor and into the particles tab.

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Layers

The object distribution system is based on independent layers. Each layer has its own settings, creates its own density map and particle systems and can be toggled on and off.

You can toggle layers by clicking the checkbox next to their name in the list. You can also rename them by double clicking on the name. Clicking on the + icon at the bottom gives you search and sorting options (like any list in Blender). The three-line button will give you access to other actions like cloning the selected layer, clearing the list or removing only the particle systems.

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Layers can be one of four types: Trees, Grass, Rocks and Props. These types enable different settings and have their own icon to recognize them more easily in the list. “Props” is a miscellaneous type for things like poles, fences, crates, etc.

You can swtich a layer’s type from the Object tab.

Objects Settings

The object tab contains general settings, common to any layer type.

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Axis Up

Pick the axis that should be considered up for the meshes. If your trees show up lying on their side, try changing this.

Amount

Number of objects to add. The density vertex group will control their placement.

Scale

Scale of the objects, relative to the scale of the source objects.

Use Relative Scale

Make the scale of the objects relative to the terrain. When this is enabled the scale setting will become a percentage. This setting replaces the old “autoscale” from Mirage 2.

Optimize for camera

Only place objects when they are visible to the camera. You might want to adjust the amount value after enabling this since all the objects will be in a smaller space and thus will seem more dense.

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Object Group

Select a group of meshes to use. They will be picked randomly from this group. Mirage doesn’t include tree models or tree generation yet so you have to supply your own models.

If you’re having trouble with scale or rotation, apply rotation and scale. If you bought stock tree models for Blender you probably don’t need to rotate them.

Note

If you are using trees or any object that uses particles, you need to make those particles real before using it with the distribution system. The distribution system is based on Blender’s particles and Blender can’t have particle systems on particles.

Also make sure the origin point of the object (the colored dot in the mesh) is aligned to the bottom of your mesh. Otherwise the trees will come up intersecting the terrain.

Note

If the objects in your group have more than 250,000 vertices in total, Mirage will set the display mode of particles to “Cross” because Blender’s viewport slows down considerably with large amounts of geometry. Cycles will render just fine though, the change is only for the viewport. You can change this setting in the addon preferences.

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Area Settings

The Area tab contains settings related to the placement of objects and the generation of the density map.

Minimum Slope & Maximum Slope

Limit the slope in which objects can be placed. This number is in degrees, between 0º and 270º. The Slope vertex group provides the data.

Minimum Height & Maximum Height

Limit the height at which objects can be placed. This is relative to the terrain’s height (0-100%) and it’s calculated with data from the Height vertex group.

Use Coordinates

Limit the placement of objects to a rectangular area of the terrain.

X, Y, Width, Height

These settings determine the location and size of the area where objects will be placed.

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Feather

Feather the distribution. Makes the edges of the distribution softer, giving a slightly more realistic look. Instead of having objects and not having any objects at all, the density is spread out in a gradient.

Factor

How much to feather the distribution.

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Use Maps

Add images to use as distribution maps. Distribution maps can add, remove, intersect or even replace the generated distribution. You can have any number of maps.

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Variation Settings

The Variation tab contains type-specific settings, as well as options to randomize and make the distribution more interesting.

Seed

Controls the randomness of the settings below. The clock icon toggles automatic seed values.

Random

Add or remove objects from the distribution randomly.

Rotation

Angle of rotation of the objects in the Z axis.

Rotation Random

Add an amount of randomness to the rotation of every object.

Slant

Rotate object in a certain amount of angles from the normal. Only for Trees.

Use Clusters

Clump trees and grass together in clusters. This imitates how trees and grass grow in nature. It’s useful to increase realism and add patches of different trees/grass through the terrain. Only for Trees and Grass.

Intensity

How much to clump trees/grass together.

Amount

Amount of clusters to create.

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Clump at the bottom

Clump rocks at the bottom of the terrain to simulate them rolling down. Only for rocks.