Why use Scatter for Blender 3D?
If you work as an environment artist or a 3D generalist, you probably already know that Scatter for Blender 3D is one of the most amazing and most useful Blender addons ever built. Why? Well, because of ants, trees, soldiers, stones, garden gnomes, pebbles, dandruff, grass, and hay. They all love it. Terrain Mixer also loves it. You (will) love it.
Version 5 is almost here
The new version, based on blender’s Geometry Nodes, is just around the corner. If you follow its author’s Twitter, you already know it will be a killer tool. If you want to test it, you can do that as well. Geometry Nodes, part of Blender’s Everything Nodes, allow addon developers, as well as regular users, to control instances in a much more predictable way than what was possible with the old particle system. Of course, a tool like Scatter will save you weeks of work which is why you should definitely invest in it.
Scatter5 Manual Distribution Features
BD3D: We implemented a new distribution method in the latest release of the beta that allows artists to have precise control over their instances with different artist-friendly brushes.
I had an opportunity to talk with BD3D about the upcoming release. Here’s what he says.
As in almost every interview, the first question is about the guest’s background. So, what can you tell us about what was your life before Scatter (and Blender 3D)?
I have a background in architecture. I got my architect diploma then fell in love with architectural visualization. It’s really something that pumps up my creativity and inspired me at learning continuously.
Do you work for clients (as a freelancer, or as a member of a studio)?
I did work as a freelance Blender archviz artist. I am now 100% dedicated to my development. Giving the best possible toolset and innovative features that my past self could use is my main goal, and people seem to like it!
What inspired you to create the Scatter plugin?
Mainly the lack of an easy and complete scattering solution for Blender. When creating my archviz shots, I was extremely frustrated with the long and complex process that the native Blender workflow is offering and the important features missing such as camera clipping and display optimization just to give few examples, so I decided to implement them myself with python in my own homebrewed plugin.
Can you tell us what are the major advantages of the new Scatter5?
Geometry node brings many possibilities, this means tons of new features for the Scatter5 plugin: Easily control your rotation/scale/distribution, create billboards & camera clipping/culling set-up, align your particles orientation with flow maps, control your particles density with parametric masks or by vertex-color ID, cluster your particles with our cool clumping distribution method, add wind and turbulence easily, copy/paste/synchronize settings together & batch change properties, filter particles by slope/altitude/normals, dynamic instancing by scale, offset your particles and create procedural leaves falling effects, etc.. There are really tons of features and I can’t wait to demonstrate them all in our new upcoming tutorial series.
What are the recommended machine specifications for using Scatter5 with Blender 3D?
While there’s no machine specification for using Scatter (same spec for running Blender 3D), I’d tell you that if you are serious about 3D, it’s time to invest in a real desktop machine, with some serious GPU & CPU. I tend to see some customers with some light laptops, hoping that they could achieve fantastic render of complex landscapes with forests and large scattering.. but the truth is.. you need adequate hardware to work in this field. 3D is hardware intensive, there’s no secret! Of course, you will also need to understand software limitations, even with two RTX3090 won’t be able to display an infinite amount of polygons in the viewport, and you’ll need to rely on display solution, camera clipping or render only scattering layers at some point.
What was the biggest challenge for you when you realized that you have to make a shift to Geometry Nodes? Also, how long did it take to recreate all the major functionalities?
The biggest challenge for me was the limitations of geonode itself. When developing the Scatter5 nodal workflow, I hit some walls due to the lack of important nodes. That’s because geonode is too young of course, and that’s why the Scatter5 plugin is currently in a long OpenBeta phase, as I’m waiting for important features to be implemented for Blender 3.0. In General, the Geometry Node is overall quite fast and fun to work with, but I hope you are not afraid of math because you’ll need them a lot 😉