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Clutter-Mesh Tutorial

First a little bit about the clutter-mesh in general

The clutter-mesh, what the heck is it, what's it good for and how do you use it?
It is a actually a type of ground texture that is a combination of texture and object.
It's function is to give the area CLOSE to the CAMERA more detail without using regular objects. 
To use a clutter-mesh choose the PAINT tab and find the clutter-mesh texture you want.
(Remember that the clutter-mesh is PAINTED because it's actually a ground texture)
The mesh of the clutter-mesh will be found in the OBJECT tab.
The mesh of MY clutter-mesh sets, for example, can usually be found in the TRS Tall Trees
section of the OBJECT tab and, in most cases, will have c-m at the end of the name, such as
prairie_grass_c-m.
These objects may also be used by themselves as objects.
 
Functionally the clutter-mesh can be thought of as 'painting with objects'.  Beyond it's normal
range, that is beyond the maximum distance where the mesh appears, the ground texture will still
be visible. Within the maximum distance the mesh is visible too.
 
The clutter-mesh is relatively simple to create:
A texture is chosen as the PAINT portion.
An object is chosen as the MESH. Small objects, such as bushes or grasses, work best.
The two are linked/combined by using a tag in the config.txt file of the PAINT (texture) half of the
clutter-mesh, that REFERENCES the MESH (object) and causes it to be placed, at random, as
the texture is painted.
 
I normally use a group of objects as the MESH because this helps in creating more dense
coverage.
 
Controlling the MESH is very difficult! In fact it can't be controlled! All one can do is clean up after
it! Because it is only used near the rails this can cause problems.
Having the mesh in amongst the rails only looks good on abandon lines and what is the
camera doing there... the line is abandon!
 
 So most of this tutorial is concerned with cleaning up after application of the clutter-mesh.
 

The clutter-mesh was introduced with TRS2004, earlier versions lack this feature.

 

Click on the vignettes below to download the two CDP's,

    Blackberry clutter-mesh and the Blackberry spline 3.

These are the two examples I use in the tutorial.

 

                                      

 

View my selection of clutter-mesh sets

 

 

For this tutorial I have used my content and file nomenclature.

 

Begin by choosing the PAINT tab and navigating to the correct texture, which in this case is the BlackBerry_grnd texture in the TRS TALL TREES directory.

Next, set the radius and scale dials to the minimum, all the way to the left. 

 

'Stamp', with a single left mouse clicks, individual copies of the clutter-mesh along both sides of the rail line.

DO NOT paint as you normally would. The clutter-mesh tends to erase itself if painted as you would a regular texture. And definitely NO SPINNING!

We are striving for control!

Even with practice the clutter-mesh has a mind of it's own. With each 'stamp' of a new area ALL of the previous areas of clutter-mesh change/shift a bit! (Yes... it's maddening!)
To remedy this I have plan... I know you've heard that before!

Select the TOOLS tab. Next select the COPY icon and then the PAINT icon. Notice that the terrain and object icons are not highlighted. We do not want to copy either the terrain or any objects.

With the COPY and PAINT icons chosen, the next step is to copy an area of texture from beneath the rails that has not had the clutter-mesh applied. This will give us a 'clean' piece of texture to paste over the clutter-mesh that is on the rails.

To copy the texture click and hold down the left mouse button and 'drag' out a small square. The smallest you can draw is one grid square.

When you have drawn the small square around a piece of clean texture you are ready to paste.

Select the PASTE icon and the PAINT icon. (which is still highlighted from the copy session)

When you choose the PASTE icon the white dotted PASTE frame attaches to the mouse cursor which allows you to place it wherever you need to.

When you paste the texture, with a left mouse click, the clutter-mesh at that area will disappear, USUALLY! But let's face it, usually rarely happens. You may need to stamp the texture several times to effect the change. As you are doing this the clutter-mesh in other areas, is changing a bit too! This stuff can be maddening!
Continue along the track, stamping the clean texture and clearing the clutter-mesh from the rails.
Here is the result of your hard work, ( it took me 30 seconds to clear this much rail).
The final touch. Because the clutter-mesh is only visible at very close range I use matching splines and/or individual pieces of matching objects in the same area. Close up the clutter-mesh make the scene dense with brush, as the train goes by, and out ahead beyond the clutter-mesh the splines and individual bushes maintain the illusion.

Continue to next Page

The above process was necessary because the mesh used was large enough to cause problems with the rails. I have also built clutter-mesh sets which are shorter than the height of the rails. Theses are no trouble at all to use and can be painted right over the rails. On the next page I will discuss these. They will be available on the DLS soon or you can find them now on the next page or my Content Preview Page.

 

View my selection of clutter-mesh sets