Level Of Detail Manager

by Tim Zoet in Scripts and Addons

Level Of Detail Manager

Level of detail (LOD) is often used in games to improve framerates and reduce memory usage. The Blender Game Engine supports LOD as well. Unfortunately, LOD is not available in either Blender Internal or Cycles.

This add-on solves that problem by adding LOD support. Using this add-on, you can speed up your viewport to make it more responsive and decrease your render times. Doing so requires only a little bit of work.

First, create a group of objects (an LOD Group) that have different meshes, modifiers, constraints and materials. Then, define at what distance each of these objects should be visible. Once you have done that, you can link another object to such an LOD Group. Its mesh, modifiers etc. will then be copied from one of the objects in that group, depending on the distance to the camera.

You can create as many groups as you like, with as many different levels of detail as you need.

Features

  • Render and Viewport: For each object, you can define whether it should use level of detail in the viewport, during rendering or both.
  • Meshes: Use meshes with high polycounts for close-ups and less detailed meshes for far away.
  • Modifiers: If you don’t want to manually create low-poly meshes, you can always use Subdivision Surface modifiers with different numbers of subdivision. Or remove modifiers that are hardly visible from a long distance.
  • Constraints: Using constraints such as the Track To constraint, you can create billboards.
  • Materials: Because materials are connected to a mesh, you can change the complexity of those materials. For close-ups, you might use very detailed bump maps or complex shaders that are hardly visible from far away.
  • And more: Copy settings from one object to another with a single mouse click. Use different settings for objects that are close to the camera, yet outside of the viewport/view frustum.
  • Extension: This add-on can be combined with the Particle Instantiator add-on to add level of detail to particles.

 

Product Updates

Version 1.2

  • Added support for objects outside of the view frustum.
  • The LOD Manager add-on is now fully compatible with the Particle Instantiator add-on.

Version 1.1

  • The documentation has been completely revised.
  • Added constraint support.
  • Added an Update Objects button to update the viewport without having to change the frame number.
  • Added a Copy From Active To Selected button to quickly change many objects.
  • Added an option to use the active camera instead of having to select an object manually. (It is still possible to select a custom object.)