Realistic Rock Generation Software?

Started by PabloMack, March 21, 2010, 11:29:56 am

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March 21, 2010, 11:29:56 am Last Edit: March 21, 2010, 11:46:25 am by PabloMack
As someone who has spent more of his life in the sciences (both natural and computer) and engineering than in the arts, I would like to see an app that would generate realistic looking rock particles based on material composition.  Since composition and geometry determine appearance (via color/texture etc), you would think that it could greatly simplify creating realistic images of terrain by specifying what the particles are made of (and their size distribution). For example: granite with specified percentages of quartz, mica and feldspar.  Of course, impurities in quartz will modify its color (i.e. colour) and so this process might get pretty complicated.  However, a lot of texture (i.e. surface micro-structure) is implied with most minerals.  Crystal size is determined by the speed of cooling (slower means more time for crystal growth) as well as influence by present of other minerals.  And it could get pretty complicated (in its implementation) when it comes to sedimentary rocks which are composed of particles from, potentially, many minerals that are accreted to form larger units. And these often weather into new materials that are not present in the original parent rocks.  Obviously, this could get very complicated (internally to the software).  But with the input of geologists and chemists, in the way that was done with the XFrog synergy between botanist/artist/software developers, seems like this is the way to go in the future.  And with fractal technology to grow crystals where they are needed as the camera gains close proximity to the substrate, just think of the wonderful endless detail that could be computed from procedures/noise/data while only having to specify a minimum of actual geometry and composition.  Has anyone attempted this?  It would require a user to know more about minerology and sedimentology but those are universal in the real world.  Artists could still go off on tangents using more traditional methods.  After all, I am talking about the causes behind what we all see (and love) in nature.  

P.S. I didn't know whether to put this in this area or the Open Discussion.  I am not (yet) a TG2 user (just spent almost $4K on new Windows 7-64 system & upgrades) so I don't know to what extent TG2 does what I am talking about. I think the subject is more related to TG2 than not.  In any case, it would be a great work flow add-on to the current product.