Super Parallax 0.3 Release
Super Parallax provides a more efficient alternative to micro-displacement by bringing advanced relief mapping techniques into Blender. It works seamlessly between Cycles and Eevee.
- Eliminates memory usage and calculations spent on subdivision + displacement by approximating the displacement in shaders.
- Enables scenes with large amounts of displacement geometry.
- Unlike generic parallax mapping, it works on curved geometry and produces silhouettes, producing an accurate approximation of real displaced geometry.
- Parallax materials cast correctly distorted shadows.
- Works independently of the camera orientation.
- The addon procedurally generates parallax nodes to any arbitrary quality for fine-tuned performance and accuracy (also no appending needed).
Example - eight default spheres with shader displacement (no subdivisions!):
If you look closely, you can see the orange selection outline of the sphere’s mesh - the shader is producing the displacement effect ‘inside’ the surface.
The feedback so far has been really positive and thanks to all the supporters, I’ve been able to work on a major new version. This version has been available since February, but haven’t had much time to update the info.
New in Version 0.3:
- Vertex-based parallax mode
- Multiple user support for parallax nodes
- Adjustable node quality
- Offset parameter
Experimental procedural displacement
- Improved interface
- Bake operations available in object search menu
Vertex Mode - More Info
Vertex-based parallax is the most significant addition to Super Parallax. This new parallax node type uses less memory and is more efficient by using vertex data instead of textures. It also means parallax materials can now be shared across meshes. The increased efficiency produces a higher quality displacement effect, so vertex mode is now enabled by default.
Rec Ninja made this cool comparison video of some materials with and without Super Parallax:
Let me know your thoughts.
Vendors & More Information:
Super Parallax - GumRoad (new & cheaper!)
Super Parallax - BlenderMarket (supports Blender dev fund)
All future updates are free after purchasing from either vendor.
It looks good, but I want to make sure that your implementation is the different as that of vshad-parallax occupation mapping.
From what I can see, VShade doesn’t support silhouette clipping, which means the edges still look flat and polygonal - this is basically why SP is more like micro-displacement rather than parallax.
VShade also has fixed premade nodes that you have to append from a .blend file whereas the SP addon procedurally generates nodes to any iteration count.
In general, I think the implementations are likely very different.
Thank you for your answer. I’ll study it again.
I’ve been away from Blender for a few months, stepping back into it to see this made me smile - I look forward to testing it!
Are there any plans for a comprehensive video tutorial?
Based on the doc, I couldn’t get silhouette on open edges. I made a plane, used the texture-based displacement method instead of the vertex-based, but still my plane’s edges are flat.
This is my setup:
Hey! There needs to be an edge in the UV set in order for the edge to appear in the render. Planes occupy the entire UV bounds by default, so in order to achieve open edges here, you just need to scale the UV map down ever so slightly so that a gap forms between the UV boundary and plane edges. This concept is highlighted in the docs, albeit it’s probably not very intuitive to understand, so I apologise for this.
I think a video tutorial would be a good idea so I will take this into account! Apologies for the late response - you can catch me usually within 24 hrs on the BlenderMarket question box, but I only check here every so often.
Hope this helps, cheers.
Just released a small patch that fixes a compatibility issue with the 2.93 API changes that caused the ‘quality’, ‘offset’, ‘feature scale’ and ‘tiles’ properties to not work correctly; sorry if this affected you.
Download is available on BlenderMarket and Gumroad.
I assume that with Super Parallax (the ball on the left) it’s not possible to obtain proper depth shading, like with real displacement (the ball on the right)?
Unfortunately not, since the geometry doesn’t actually exist. You can get pretty convincing results using a normal map however. Furthermore, you could even use a ‘bent’ normal map which would give approximate self-shadowing.
Could you please explain what do you mean by bent normals or link some resource? I found something, but I’m not sure if that’s what you’re speaking about.
A bent normal map is like a regular normal map, but the way it’s generated is different; it accounts for ambient occlusion as well as the surface normals. The result is you typically get more convincing shading when using bent normals.
As far as I’m aware, there are a few open-source projects on Github that will generate them for you, but you will have to browse for those. Also some game engines have it built in. Here is a potentially useful page from the Knald documentation explaining it.
Hope this helps : )
I noticed 2 unused nodes inside SP, 1 is Displacement Quadric Neither is connected to others. Should I use these these somehow?
What purpose do they serve?
These are just node groups that the addon has reference to, they are used elsewhere in the nodes. You don’t actually need to do anything with them as everything is done through the side panel UI.
I know this is early, but blender 3.4 won’t install SP. Will there be a release by Jan? Really love this addon!
There seems to be some bpy API changes coming in 3.4, however I only add support for stable/main releases in case things change. When 3.4 is released officially I’ll make sure it works.