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