Billboards

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Billboards are a type of asset generally used in conjunction with the Terrain panel and heightmaps, to give the illusion of lush vegetation in the distance, such as trees and bushes. There are two different kinds of billboards, both of which are "thin" assets with no depth, that are used to display a texture:

Contents

Creating billboards

Billboards can be created in two ways:

There is no other overlap between the two kinds: Heightmap billboards cannot be modified via the Properties panel, and Instanced billboards cannot be manipulated via the Terrain panel.

Heightmap Billboards

This method creates a line of billboards on a heightmap. Note that this line is specific to one heightmap node, and cannot overlap from one heightmap to another.

Manipulating a Billboard line can be tricky. Here's how to do it:
Move your mouse over the Billboard point you want to manipulate. Make sure the Billboard tool is selected, and the heightmap you want to manipulate is also selected. When the pointer turns green, you know you're over a point you can change.
  • To delete a point in the Billboard line, move the tool over to the point you want to delete. The pointer will change to green. CTRL+Click to remove that point.
  • To move a point, move the tool over to the point you want to change. The pointer will change to green. Left-Click and hold, then drag the point to where you want it to go.
  • To add a point in the Billboard line, move the tool over to one of the end points. The pointer will change to green. Hit SHIFT+Click, then move the pointer (which should now be blue) to where you want the new point to go. Continue placing new points, and then press ESCAPE when finished.
There are 4 settings for the Billboards. As with Dynamic Details, these settings are affected by /STYLESET. You will probably never need to adjust these for a LiveContent area.
  • Height: This slider can be used to set the Height of the Billboards that you paint or painted with the BillBoards Tool. This slider will control the actual Height of the Billboard, making it higher or lower.
  • UV Adjust: This slider can be used to set the size of the Billboard that you paint or painted with the Billboards Tool. This slider will control the actual size of the Billboard, making it larger or smaller.
  • Bright: This slider can be used to set the Brightness of the billboards that you paint or painted with the Billboard Tool. This slider will increase and decrease the Brightness of your Billboard .
  • Sink: This slider can be used to sink the Billboards that you paint or painted with the Billboards Tool. This slider will control if the Billboards are sunken into the ground or not.
A freshly created billboard will have a flashing texture, since it does not yet have a texture assigned

Via the Create menu

To create a billboard:

To modify an existing billboard, access it via the Assets panel (or click on it if it is selectable), and manipulate it as normal.

Billboard properties

A few of the interesting properties on billboards, which can be modified via the Properties panel:

CentroidLocation 
Can be used to change where the centroid axes and gizmo appear on the billboard
OrientationAxis 
Setting this to XYZ (default) means that the billboard will always face the viewer. Setting to "Y" means that it will face the viewer on a horizontal plane, but not when viewed from above. Setting to NONE will remove the "always facing" characteristic
DiffuseColor 
Change the color of the billboard

Adding billboard textures

To make new textures available for billboards, via the Terrain panel, create the texture dds file, and then use the Repository Browser to place it into the defined directory for Billboard textures.

Configuration values

Note: Only customers with full or source licenses can modify values via the Master Control Console.

The default directory paths for billboard textures are editable Client configuration values:

HeightMapBillboardPath 
The default directory path for billboard textures, via the Terrain panel
HeightMapBillboardAltPath 
The alternate directory, chosen by clicking in the checkbox of the file dialog
HeightMapBillboardAltPathName 
The text to display next to the checkbox
(add information about multiple billboard lines, and what the "Remove unused BBs" button does)
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