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billboards_base

A billboards_base material creates coverings for multiple Billboards.

Prior Knowledge
This article assumes you have prior knowledge of the following topics. Please read them before proceeding:

States

In this tab you can set available settings and options:

States

Material Editor, billboards_cloud_base material, States tab.

Passes

  • Deferred - all lights are rendered deferred.
  • Auxiliary - enable additional auxiliary texture.

Deferred Pass

Indicates that all lights influencing billboards will be computed by means of deferred shading. If disabled, forward shading will be used instead. Forward shading allows making billboards semi-transparent.

Auxiliary Pass

Auxiliary pass is used for writing the contour of object with the specified material into an auxiliary color buffer.

Options

  • Lock X Axis - lock a billboard along the X axis.
  • Lock Z Axis - lock a billboard along the Z axis.
  • Screen Aligned - set billboards parallel to each other.
  • Angular Size - set billboards to always be of the same size regardless to the camera position.
  • Emission - enables an additional emission texture providing the emission effect.
  • Emission Texture - allows to select the texture to be used for the emission effect.
  • Angle Visibility - set limits for horizontal and vertical visibility angles.
  • Geometry Inflation - limit minimum billboard screen size (in pixels) to a fixed value in order to provide visibility from far distances.
  • Sun shafts - simulates visible volumetric shadows, arising when a bright world light source is partially obscured by the object.

Lock Axis X

Locks billboards orientation along the X axis (by default billboards always face the camera).

Lock X is disabled Lock X is enabled
Disabled Lock X
Enabled Lock X

Lock Axis Z

Locks billboards orientation along the Z axis (by default billboards always face the camera). Billboards can be also locked along both X and Z axes, so they will be oriented perpendicularly to Y axis.

Lock Z is disabled Lock X and Lock Z are enabled
Enabled Lock Z
Enabled Lock X and Lock Z

Screen Aligned

Set billboards parallel to each other. If they are not axes-locked, they will be oriented strictly towards to the screen plane.

Screen aligned is disabled Screen aligned is enabled
Disabled Screen aligned
Enabled Screen aligned

Angular Size

Sets billboards to always be of the same size regardless to the camera position.

Angular size is disabled Angular size is enabled
Disabled Angular size
Enabled Angular size

Emission

The Emission option enables an additional emission texture providing the emission effect.

Textures

In the Textures tab of the Material Editor you can:

  • Load the textures - click a Load button near the texture and specify the path to the texture or type the path in the texture field manually
  • Open the view window to see texture's details - click a View button near the texture
  • Set the current texture to default one - click a Set to parent button near the texture (if the texture is different from the default one, its field will be highlighted with green)

The textures available for billboards are listed below.

Base Textures

Base textures are loaded and modified in the Base field of the Textures tab.

Diffuse

Diffuse map. A texture to define a surface's main color.

The texture is 4-channeled (RGBA):

  1. RGB values store color information.
  2. An alpha (A) value provides detail texture modulation and stores transparency values.
    • Transparency information (if the Alpha test blending preset is enabled):
      • White color indicates that the area will be visible.
      • Black color indicates that the area will be transparent.
    • Detail mask.
    Notice
    An alpha (A) value will store transparency values if an Alpha test blending preset is enabled. Otherwise it will store a detail mask.

Normal

Normal map. A texture to store information about a surface's normals deviation.

The texture is 2-channeled (RG):

  1. RG values contain two components of a normal
  2. The third component's value is calculated from the given components in run-time

Specular

Specular map. A texture to define a surface's shininess and highlight color.

The texture is 4-channeled (RGBA):

  1. RGB values store reflection color and intensity (black color means no reflection)
  2. An alpha (A) value specifies the specular power: 0 means specular highlights are very bright and intense, 256 - specular highlights are faded
Notice
The above textures with the _d, _n and _s postfixes in the name respectively, located in a folder named uncompressed, will be automatically compressed by the engine.

Additional Textures

Emission

Emission map. A texture to store information about the light emission. Additional emission texture is present only if an Emission option is enabled and is modified in the Additional field of the Textures tab.

The texture is 4-channeled (RGBA):

  1. RGB values store a glowing color.
  2. An alpha (A) value stores a glow mask: black is for non-glowing areas, white - for glowing ones.

Auxiliary

Auxiliary texture is used to render it in auxiliary buffer.

Parameters

In the Parameters tab you can set or modify base and additional parameters.

Parameters of different types are set in different ways:

  • expression - vector values can be set either in the field near the parameter or in the dialog window opened when double clicking this field
  • slider - the value can be set either by smoothly moving the slider of the scroll box or manually in the box near the parameter (if required, the value bigger than maximum one for the slider can be set)
  • color - the color can be chosen in the dialog window, activated after double clicking the color field

All the parameters can be set to default ones - click a Set to parent button near the parameter (if the parameter is different from the default one, its field will be highlighted with green).

The parameters available for this kind of materials are listed below.

Base Parameters

Diffuse

A color picker to choose the color of the diffuse map.

Specular

A color picker to choose the color of the specular map.

Gloss

A coefficient to modify size of the highlight of the specular map:

  • Low values imitate wider highlights, typically appropriate to create diffuse reflection from the mat surface
  • High values imitate pinpoint highlights, typically appropriate to create uniform reflection of light rays from the glossy surface

Normal Intensity

Normal is a coefficient to scale the intensity of the normals (provided by a normal map). The higher the value, the higher the normal texture effect is.

Translucency

Scale of the translucency effect, which permits light to pass through the object, but diffuses it so objects on the opposite side are not clearly visible.

Microfiber

Coefficient to scale the intensity of the microfiber effect. The higher the value, the more pronounced the microfiber effect is.

UV Transform

Base texture coordinates transformation. A vector of the four float components, consisting of two pairs of vector elements:

  1. Scale texture coordinates, along X and Y axes. For example, by the scale of 2;2 the texture will be repeated four times on the surface.
  2. An offset of the texture respectively to its initial position along X and Y axes.

    For example, by the offset of 0.5 along X axis the texture will be repositioned to the right (so the left edge of the texture will be rendered in the center).

Notice
Besides the native texture coordinates transformation, there are more options of setting texture coordinates. They are described in the Texture coordinates transformation article.

Auxiliary Parameters

Auxiliary color parameter is present only if an Auxiliary pass is set as a Default. The parameter is modified in the Auxiliary field of the Parameters tab.

Color

A color picker to choose an auxiliary color for the Auxiliary rendering pass.

Emission Parameters

Emission parameters are present only if an Emission option is enabled and are modified in the Emission group of the Parameters tab.

Color

A color picker to choose an ambient emission color for the emission texture.

Scale

Visibility scale for the emission texture.
The higher the value, the more visible emission texture is: light areas will be lighter and brighter.

Visibility Distance

Distance from the camera up to which the emission from the billboard will be visible, in units.

Visibility Power

Power multiplier to scale distant dependent visibility of the emission texture. It determines the way the intensity of the emission effect changes depending on the distance from the camera.

Geometry Parameters

Geometry parameters are present only if Geometry Inflation option is enabled and are modified in the Geometry group of the Parameters tab.

Billboard Scale

Billboard geometry scale factor.

Inflation Scale

Minimum permissible size for the billboard, in pixels.

Visibility Parameters

Geometry parameters are present only if a corresponding item of the Angle Visibility option is selected and are modified in the Visibility group of the Parameters tab.

Horizontal Angle

Angle limit in the XY plane relative to the -Y direction, in degrees. The billboard will be visible within the [-value; value] range of angles.

Vertical Angle

Angle limit relative to the Z axis, in degrees. The billboard will be visible within the [-value; value] range of angles..

Last update: 04.06.2018