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Billboards

A billboard is a rectangular flat object that always faces the camera. Billboards are used instead of fully functional objects that are barely seen from far off and slightly change their position when the camera moves around them (e.g. clouds, stars, far away forests). Using billboards helps to simplify and speed up rendering.

For example, when you are adding a tree that is hardly seen from a distance, instead of creating a complex tree mesh, just put an appropriate texture onto the alpha-tested billboard and it will make no visual difference at such a range.

Billboards

Billboards

Creating Billboards#

To create the billboards, perform the following steps:

  1. On the Menu bar, click Create -> Billboards -> Base.

  2. Place the billboards object somewhere in the world.
  3. Specify the billboards parameters.

Billboards Parameters#

Depth sort Indicates that billboards should be sorted in back-to-front order according to their position. This option should be enabled, if alpha blending is used for the billboard material (except for the additive blending).

Billboards Options#

In the Billboards section of the Node tab, you can create new billboards and tweak their settings.

Add from children Adds all billboards from identical children objects to the list in the parent billboard and removes the added children from the World hierarchy.
Add Adds a new billboard. After a new billboard is created, it can be selected in the list of billboards in the Node tab and repositioned using a standard manipulator.

Repositioning a separate billboard

Remove Removes a billboard selected in the list.
Clear Removes all billboards from the list.

Position Moves the billboard along X, Y and Z axes, respectively.
Normal Sets the X, Y and Z coordinates of the billboard's normal vector. Is used to orient the billboard. Works only with the billboards_impostor_base material.
ScaleX
ScaleY
Scale values scale the texture on the selected billboard along X and Y axes, for example:
  • If ScaleX is set to 2, there will be two texture tiles widthways.
TranslateX
TranslateY
Translate values offset the texture on the selected billboard along X and Y. With these parameters, an arbitrary point of the texture can be set as the top left corner of the billboard, for example:
  • If TranslateX is set to 0.5, the texture is repositioned to the left (so that the edge of the texture is rendered in the center of billboard).
Width Width of the rectangle for the selected billboard.
Height Height of the rectangle for the selected billboard.
Angle Angle to orientate the selected billboard.

Angle

Axis Sets the basis for the billboards object's Z axis:
  • World Z — the billboards object uses a world space orientation.
  • Local Z — the billboards object uses a local space orientation.
Drop All to the Ground Positions all billboards to the surface below them.

Generator#

Generator allows you to automatically create a specified number of billboards and randomly scatter them within an arbitrary mesh volume. After that, they will appear in the list in the Billboards section of the Node tab and can be repositioned, if necessary. If a texture atlas is used, each of the created billboards will be randomly assigned one of texture slots.

Count The number of billboards to create and scatter.
Width If a texture atlas is used, Width specifies the number of slots horizontally. If a simple texture is used, this value should be 1.
Height If a texture atlas is used, Height specifies the number of slots vertically. If a simple texture is used, this value should be 1.
Radius
Spread
The size of the square billboards to be created.
Spread defines the range for possible variation of the Radius:
  • The higher the value, the more different size the created billboards will have. (See how it is calculated in detail here.)
  • If set to 0, all billboards will be of equal size.
Aspect
Spread
The ratio of width to height. This option is used to create rectangular billboards.
  • If Aspect is set to 0.5, the width of the billboards will be twice their height.
  • If Aspect is set to 2, the height of the billboards will be twice their width.
Spread defines the range for possible variation of the Aspect:
  • The higher the value, the more different aspects the created billboards will have. (See how it is calculated in detail here.)
  • If set to 0, all billboards will be of equal (square) size.
Angle
Spread
Angle of orientation.
Spread defines the range for possible variation of the Angle:
  • The higher the value, the more differently the created billboards will be oriented. (See how it is calculated in detail here.)
  • If set to 0, all billboards will stand straight.
Bound A mesh that determines the volume within which billboards will be generated. The mesh itself is not rendered.
Generate Create new billboards and scatter them within the mesh volume. If a texture atlas is used, each of the created billboards will be randomly assigned one of the texture slots.
Last update: 2019-04-04