Thursday, April 9, 2015

Playing with mesh curvature in real-time

Boomer labs was show casing a cool new map plugin for 3dsMax that uses curvature.
Check it out here:

So I got inspired to play around with curvature in a real-time shader.

I knew about ddx and ddy and then found my way to a cool webGL shader by Evan Wallace.

Plugging this into ShaderFX inside 3dsMax and a few tweaks later we get:

I used a custom code node inside ShaderFX, so below is the code I ended up using.

I noticed that the curvature colors flip around on the other side of the world axis (so the back side of the model). I didn't have the time to figure out why that is yet.

float ComputeCurvature( float3 vertex, float3 normal, float strength) 
  float3 n = normalize(normal);

  float3 dx = ddx(n);
  float3 dy = ddy(n);
  float3 xneg = n - dx;
  float3 xpos = n + dx;
  float3 yneg = n - dy;
  float3 ypos = n + dy;
  float depth = length(vertex);
  float curvature = (cross(xneg, xpos).y - cross(yneg, ypos).x) * strength / depth;

  return curvature;

struct CurvatureCalcOutput 
 float curvature;
 float negative;
 float positive;
 float3 color;

CurvatureCalcOutput CurvatureCalcFunc(float3 vertex_pos, float3 normal, float strength) 
 CurvatureCalcOutput OUT; 

 OUT.curvature = ComputeCurvature(vertex_pos, normal, strength);
 OUT.positive = clamp(-OUT.curvature, 0, 1);
 OUT.negative = clamp(OUT.curvature, 0, 1);

 OUT.color = float3(0,1,0);

 OUT.color = lerp( OUT.color, float3(1,0,0), OUT.negative);
 OUT.color = lerp( OUT.color, float3(0,0,1), OUT.positive);

 return OUT;