pxl + dirt rig

PRICE £44 ($59, €50) | Com­pany The Pixel Lab | web­site www.thep­ixellab.net

3D World - - CONTENTS -

Does this grunge-mak­ing tool of­fer any use to C4D artists?

any­thing that makes tex­tur­ing your ob­jects eas­ier or more fun – or prefer­ably both – is al­ways worth a look. This Xpresso rig works with Oc­taneren­der within Cinema 4D to add dirt, grime, scratches and stick­ers, en­abling you to eas­ily grubby up your pris­tine ob­jects.

The sys­tem works by cre­at­ing a new Octane Mix ma­te­rial, based on your orig­i­nal ‘clean’ ma­te­rial, lay­ered with var­i­ous noises and bit­maps. You then link the rig to the ob­ject be­ing tex­tured and any changes you make to the Mix ma­te­rial are viewed, in real time, in the Octane Live Viewer.

It sounds sim­ple enough but there are a few things to watch for, such as mak­ing sure the Mix ma­te­rial is in the right place in the stack. Also, it’s a bit fussy about mak­ing mul­ti­ple Mix ma­te­ri­als on the same mesh – you need to move the first Mix ma­te­rial off tem­po­rar­ily while you gen­er­ate a new one, then re­place it, mak­ing sure they each have their own se­lec­tion sets. Also, work­ing with dis­place­ments can be a bit fid­dly, and you’ll need to add a new rig for each el­e­ment in your scene.

Once set up, the rig is easy enough to use – you sim­ply se­lect the fea­tures you want and then dial in the re­quired val­ues. Dirt and grime are added via noise chan­nels, while streaks and worn edges are de­ter­mined by a sep­a­rate Octane shader. This lat­ter op­tion uses Octane’s built-in dirt func­tion – great for adding rusty or bat­tered edges, with­out the need for ver­tex maps or com­plex set­ups.

The only thing we strug­gled with was the Sticker op­tion, which of­ten mis­be­haved with the im­age dis­ap­pear­ing from view, ap­pear­ing tiled when the op­tion was unchecked and not re­siz­ing prop­erly. How­ever, the lat­ter prob­lem can be re­solved by check­ing and uncheck­ing the Size X=Y but­ton, which forces the im­age to re­draw. With the abil­ity to ren­der noise and dirt over the stick­ers (you can have two per ma­te­rial), this is a re­ally use­ful fea­ture for adding ex­tra re­al­ism.

With two lay­ers of grunge, plus marks, streaks and edge wear, you’re pretty much cov­ered for adding a wide range of dis­tressed ef­fects, all of which are an­i­mat­able.

It’s an in­ge­nious and very handy sys­tem. It feels a bit clunky at first, and it’s per­haps not as slick as a ded­i­cated plugin. Once you get used to the work­flow, you can make some im­pres­sive vis­ual changes to your ob­jects with the free­dom to ex­per­i­ment.

Here’s a scene with and with­out the pxl+dirt ef­fect, which has been ap­plied to all the ma­jor sur­faces. the end re­sult is suit­ably grunged up!

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