Making Grass in 3D Max
by Dagan Potter


Start with a new scene (click reset if you have a previous scene open).

Under the Create/Geometry tab make a Box in the Top viewport with the following values:

Length-250 Width-250 Height-0.0

Length Segs-25 Width Segs-25 Height Segs-1

Go to the Modifier panel and add a noise modifier to the box with the following values:

Fraclal: Checked Iterations: 2.0 X: 5 Y: 5 Z: 20

Collapse the modifier stack for speed and memory reasons.

Apply a UVW Map modifier to the Box. Make sure it is a planar map.

We have the ground object finished but there is no grass or any shaders applied. Next we are going to create the grass. This can get a bit tiresome but shouldn’t take too long.

Click Line under the Create/Shapes tab. Change the Steps to 3 and deselect Optimize.

Draw a triangle in the Front viewport. Start at the lower left next the top then the lower right and finally click on the lower left again. Click OK on the Close spline dialogue that pops up.

Click on the Move button (button with 4 arrows pointing different directions). Right click on the button again and a little dialogue box will pop up (Note: Do not close it until step IV is done).

Go to the Modifier tab and click Sub-Object. Select the lower left vertex. Change the Absolute:World XYZ coordinates to 0,0,0.

Click the top vertex and change the coordinates to .25,0,20.

Click the lower right vertex and change the coordinates to .50,0,0.


Close the Move Transform Type-In dialogue box.

Now click the Hierarchy tab and activate the Affect Pivot Only button.

Move the three axis pivot arrows to the base of the triangle. Click on the Affect Pivot Only button to deselect it.

Go back to the Modify tab.

Add the EditMesh modifier to the triangle and click the Sub-Object button to deselect it.

Add the Bend Modifier with the following values:

Angle: 60 Direction: 90 Bend Axis: Y

Now you’ve got a droopy strand of grass. Only 44,999 more to go!


In the Front viewport click the strand of grass while holding the Shift button and drag it to the right. This will clone another strand of grass. Do this one more time so you have three strands of grass side by side.

Select the second strand of grass, click the Modifier tab and change the Angle to 80.

Select the second strand of grass, click the Modifier tab and change the Angle to 100.


Collapse the modifier stacks for each strand of grass (Your scene will render faster if you do this and will take up less HD space).

Yippee!!! We’ve got three droopy strands of grass. Only 44,997 more to go! This is the part where we will apply shaders to the grass and ground.

Go to the Material Editor. This scene will have four materials and the following will be the settings for each material.


Material #1: 2 Sided: Checked

Diffuse Color: Red: 15   Green: 80   Blue: 15


Material #2: 2 Sided: Checked  

Diffuse Color: Red: 50   Green: 140   Blue: 50


Material #3: 2 Sided: Checked

Diffuse Color: Red: 130   Green: 200   Blue: 20


Material #4: Diffuse Color: Red: 80    Green: 50   Blue: 20


Apply Material #1 to the first strand of grass Line01.

Apply Material #2 to the second strand of grass Line02.

Apply Material #3 to the third strand of grass Line03.

Apply Material #4 to the Ground object.


We now have the shaders applied and are ready to start to place the grass on the ground plane.

Select the first strand of grass and go to the Create/Geometry tab. Now click Standard Primatives and go to Compound Objects.

Click the Scatter button. And change the following settings:

Pick Distribution Object: Ground (Select the ground)

Deselect Perpendicular

Select Random faces

Under Transformations change Rotation: 15,360,15

Scaling: 20,20,20

Under Display change 100% to 1%

Select Hide Distribution Object

Now go up to Source Object Parameters and change the duplicates to 15,000.

Go to Load/Save presets. Type "r|d grass" and click save

Now repeat steps I-II for the other two strands of grass.

Sometimes the grass will be above or below the ground plane so once you are done, move the ground plane to the bottoms to the grass strands. (Note: It is OK if the grass and ground intersect about 1/3 the length of grass strands.)


It looks as though you finished the tutorial. You should now have a hill of grass.

Keep in mind that this is a large scene. There are 450,000+ polygons to render. Regardless it shouldn’t take too long.

grass.jpg (41426 bytes)

To download the Max file, click here.

Dagan Potter

For other books on 3D Studio Max, click here.