I posted a few weeks ago about planning assets, and now (with a slight delay caused by obsessively checking Humble Bundle news) I have the finished models and have them in the engine. Here is before and after showing the plan and the finished assets.
Let's go through each of the elements of my plan and see how they turned out.
I came up with this set of trees and plants by looking at images of temperate rainforests on google image search
This worked out very well. The set I planned fills out the major plants I needed as a bare minumum. As I went about putting the assets in a scene, I realized there were a few more pieces I would like to make. Dead branches and tiny roots are on the list of things I would like to add, but I think the scene looks pretty good even without those.
The larger assets are going to use tiling tangent space normal, diffuse and specular textures
Even though I felt like this technique was my best option, I was worried that the shading on the tree trunks would not look detailed or smooth enough. With the lighting in Pheonix, this turned out not to be an issue. I was really happy with how the shading came out.
[E]ach file contains two side-by-side tiling sub-textures for the trunks and major branches of the trees.
This worked out a lot better than expected. Because all the models used the same texture format, I had fun with switching textures around, and the results were usually pretty good. This meant I got a lot more milage out of each texture, and I had enough time to do a few extra variations just for fun.
I will be using a different texture for the folliage.
In the past I had tried putting folliage and bark textures together and it was really restrictive. Since I ended up with tons of bark variations it was even better that the folliage was on its own texture. Now I can mix and match different folliage with any bark texture I have.
I will be doing updates on how my plan is working out in practice so stay tuned!
This part of the plan didn't work out as well, since this is the only update. Overall, and despite my general dislike of planning, having a simple plan was a big success!