There is always that point in any CG artist's career when a planet is needed......fact!
Making a planet or in fact any kind of Spacey type thing such as Nebulae, asteroids etc, can be more time consuming than you expect. Thankfully 'Grand Designer' from Ignishot has come along to create procedurally generated space stuff for a ride range of outputs.
We caught up with Grand Designers Developer, Gil Damoiseaux to find out more.
Hi Gil, thanks for taking the time to talk to RGBHQ, what was the problem that you created ‘Grand Designer’ to solve?
Some time ago, I started working on a space game and I was looking for an easy way to create planets and nebulae backgrounds. After several days of research, I did not find a ready made solution that would satisfy me; It was generally requiring a lot of efforts and time to finally have something half decent. I tried to use Filter forge, a really nice texture generator, but the great complexity of the texture resulted in particularly long rendering times. Each time I modified a parameter, it required several minutes to show a result, which made it an unacceptable solution. So, I decided to experiment with GPU texture generation and, over time, the experiment evolved into a fully featured application. As I am certainly not the only one to have encountered the problem, the application turned into a product.
What applications does Grand Designer work with, and what formats can it export to?
Grand designer can basically work with any modern 3D engine or renderer as it is based on a PBR pipeline. Amongst the textures you can export, you have albedo, normal map, roughness, ambient occlusion, cloud layer and also feature masks, like ice, desert, sediment and many more. Grand designer has configurable texture presets, amongst them you have a Unity 5, an Unreal 4, a standard PBR set and many more, including room for custom ones. For beginners, two sample scenes are provided with the application, one for Unreal engine 4 and one for Unity 5.
Is Grand Designer optimised for Real Time Solutions, can it be used in a traditional 3D application workflow?
Yes, definitely. It has been made to be scalable and targets a wide range of usages. The primary goal of the software was the generation of high quality textures for realtime games, but it can also export files with a resolution of up to 16384x8192 pixels that can be used for offline rendering in Mental ray or any other high-end renderer. The color format has not been forgotten since it is possible to export in 8bits per component as well as 16bits per component for extra accuracy and you can use sRGB or linear color space.
Can you give us any examples of who is using Grand Designer, has it been used in any games?
So far, Grand Designer has been beta tested and used in production by Edge case games for their team-based space combat game Fractured space. They use it to simplify greatly their planet production pipeline and you can see the results in their latest trailer.