The Infinite Rock Builder Procedural Shader For Cycles

by Nick Sayce Designs in Materials, Shaders, Textures

The IRB v4.0 is here! See foot of page for the latest version!

****Some of these promotional images were created with version 3.0 which will be available in the downloads for 1 more week. The latest much improved version, 4.0 is now available.*******

The Infinite Rock Builder is the most powerful and versatile procedural rock builder on the market with many advantages over RGB textures. With 20 presets to start with, all of which can mix together, there's a lot of infinite here!

At some point, if you haven't already, you'll make an outdoor scene and find yourself needing an RGB texture of a rock or cliff face. You''ll come across the problem of trying to scale them without repetition and the fact that each RGB texture with all it's maps uses roughly 1 GB of memory for a 4K texture. If you can't find the right texture or material, you'll probably move on to sculpting one which is time consuming and difficult.

I've done all of the above and sculpting was always a last resort as so much detail is required to make a convincing rock formation that I find difficult to achieve with the sculpting tools. In the below Avatar inspired image, I sculpted all of the cliffs and owing to how many subdivisions I needed to get detail into them, this was about as many as my system could handle using an RTX 2060 without crashing at render. Each one took around half an hour or longer including the painting so you can see how much time I spent on them!

With The Infinite Rock Builder, I could have made each one in minutes and used roughly 2/3 less memory.

The Infinite Rock Builder is a procedural texture that comes with an infinite amount of customisation for making rock and stone surfaces to be used in Cycles, be it boulders, rocky ground or cliff faces. With the Infinite Rock Builder, you just apply the material and use any of the controls to customise the rock surface to your heart's content. It comes with 20 individual rock presets, all of which have their own controls to customise them further. Because the material is based on maths and not image data, it uses up to 2/3 less memory than a standard 4K RGB texture freeing up your memory for more complex scenes without sacrifice. The other advantage over an RGB texture is that it will scale infinitely without repetition, so creating a huge cliff face can be done in minutes with the IRB instead of hours.

If you're new to Blender, that's perfect as you won't be searching for RGB textures, you won't need to mess around with UV's or the mapping issues and there won't be issues with setting up the displacement. And don't be intimated by the controls, you can still get the best out of The IRB because it's mostly experimentation with the controls. Sliding sliders about, changing a few values, that's all the input required so you can see changes very fast just by moving a slider.

Truly, an infinite amount of rock or stone formations and surfaces can be created with the IRB, it's unlikely you'll make the same formation or surface twice! With its ability to scale infinitely, there's no need to worry about repetition anywhere on the mesh as everything is created procedurally. 

A combination of The Infinite Rock Builder and The Infinite Surface Builder were used to create this scene.

I have created an extensive 7 part tutorial series for the IRB at the link below. The IRB comes with a pdf manual that covers every control with clear visual examples. 

This image was created using three of the four Infinite Builders;
The IWB for the walls, The IRB the floor and The IMB for everything else with No RGB textures.

This image was created using the Infinite Rock Builder for the cliff face and the Infinite Metal Builder for everything else and again, no RGB textures.


LATEST UPDATE - Version 4.0

Hi guys,

I've finished the latest version of the IRB and it's a somewhat large change.

All of the formations are now using Vector Displacement so there's much more control when I build them and much more control when you use them. I'm doing away with the regular displacement versions because I think they require more work to get the best results. 

What this means is that the effects are gone as well, I felt the regular displacement needed something extra, but the new formations don't. There's 20 of them, so double the amount of version 3.0, and because I've removed the effects, there's far less wiring and makes for a much cleaner and smoother UI. As before, some of the formations are intended as a base to be mixed if you choose. With version 4, you can now mix 20 different formations together if you choose, though I imagine it'll add a bit to render time!

Here's a few previews;

If you'd still like to keep version 3, please download and store it somewhere safe in the next week as I'll be leaving it up in the downloads until the 24/09/20 and then I'll be removing it. I won't be updating it further as all my attention will now be on version 4. 

I hope you like the new version, I think it's better, faster and easier to use than version 3 and I'm much happier with how the formations look. The latest version is in the downloads along with the 1 page manual which goes over a couple of important bits about the formations and how to use them on the correct shape.

Rock on.

Kindest regards,