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Adding Ground Plane

2.4_Adding Ground Plane

0:04 You may have noticed that one thing that was missing when I was spinning around the model in the previous lesson and adjusting the shadows. is that there were no shadows on the ground because currently, there is no ground.

0:19 SketchUp can pretend there’s a ground and show a shadow but V-Ray doesn’t act like that.

0:25 What we need to do now is add a ground plane so we can see those shadows and make sure our cabin doesn’t feel like it’s sitting there floating in space.

0:37 There are a few different ways to add a ground plane to our model...so let’s compare two simple methods now.

0:44 The first and quicker method is to use a V-Ray ‘Infinite Plane’.

0:49 You can find it in the ‘Objects’ toolbar.

0:53 And then just drop it in and lock it to the bottom of our paving group and then escape or switch tools to finalize.

1:05 Now if we start an interactive render again, we can now see a blank ground plane extending all the way to the horizon

1:14 – which nice as before, we couldn’t really see where the horizon was exactly anyway.

1:23 Here’s a little bonus tip about 'Infinite Planes': you can add a material to it so it’s not just a white surface like the one we see now.

1:35 For example, let’s say that a grass texture would look better.

1:39 All we have to do is pop into our materials library…

1:43 find the grass texture we want to use and add it to our materials list…

1:48 find the grass texture we want to use and add it to our materials list…

1:48 and with the 'Infinite Plane selected' in our model we can right-click and say ‘Apply to Selection.’

2:03 Now if I start my render again…we now have ‘Infinite Grass’. Pretty cool huh?

2:12 Also don’t forget to adjust the scale of the material.

2:15 I like to bump my ground plane textures up a little bit larger than their real size to reduce any noticeable tiling.

2:22 Let's try ‘6 feet’ – which should look pretty good here.

2:28 Then I’ll go ahead and render that one again…and here we go. Our Grass looks even better now.

2:40 This little infinite plane trick works especially well when working with water or an Ocean concept as well.

2:49 While the Infinite plane was super-fast and looks great, I already know that I’m going to want more realistic grass with 3D attributes to it...

2:58 so for that we’re going to need an actual mesh ground plane in our model.

3:04 To keep us moving quickly for this lesson, I’ve gone ahead and provided a pre-built ground and background model for you to import now.

3:13 Let's go ahead and navigate to our 'Exercise Files' and find the ‘Context.skp’ file.

3:24 Then just drop it in and make sure it lines up with the bottom left corner of the concrete paving group.

3:38 I also added some background trees as well.

3:41 They’re just a 2D texture, which may not work for trees up close but is fine here since they are so far away that a lot of detail isn’t really necessary.

3:51 And since we have a nice scaled grass texture in our model, we can just select and apply it either through the 'Asset Editor' like we did before...

4:06 or we can do it right inside of SketchUp with the paint bucket tool.

4:15 Let’s wrap this lesson up with one more quick test render to see how everything is looking now.

4:22 You can see that [with] just these two bits of context – the ground and background trees – are already helping our cabin out a lot.