Thanks for the notes the other day. I just spent about 1/2 hour with the Stubel and Wartmann tutes for Python and Blender. Excellent.
Anyway they got me up and running, and the first part of my project is done. It’s a simple z axis tracking utility. In the sample below, I’ve z-tracked the textured mapped tree planes to the camera (i.e. they always face the camera, but only through a z-axis rotation.) As I’ve said before, this is the technique used to make the superb forest flyovers in The Hunt. For my little clip, I used a crappy tree that I found on Google Images - nothing special. It looks pretty freaking good.
Upon seeing the weird effect given by rotating the camera, I went back and watched The Hunt and saw that the camera doesn’t do a whole lot of that, so I can reasonably assume that the same limitations applied to them. Now picture the little demo with random tree distribution and sizing as well as maybe three or four different kinds of trees, and you’ll have an idea of what I’m going for.
The next part of the project is a little more complicated. I want to generate the objects on the fly, only within the portion of the emittor mesh that is on camera. Are there any quick and/or already discovered ways to determine whether on not a vertex will appear within a given frame? If it’s easy to determine, then tree (or whatever) meshes could be generated and destroyed, allowing you to create arbitrarily large treed landscapes, without having millions of polys sitting around doing nothing.
So - easiest way to determine if a vertex is within the camera plane? Anyone?