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Uploaded on Jul 21, 2010
I tried this with corn already, but wanted to see the broccoli version.
I saw a link on reddit to images of food from an MRI machine. All were animated GIFs, some 3D turntables, some longitudinal cross section fly-throughs. I took one of the latter - a fly-through of broccoli - exported the gif to single images, wrote a MEL script in Maya to create poly planes, import the images to file nodes, apply their color to the planes, and create and apply the file colors through reverse nodes to reverse the black and white colors of each, then feeding that result into the transparency of each slice. This allowed me to render out a pseudo-3D view of the original object again. This is a turntable of the reassembled broccoli slices.
I have another video uploaded here of the corn cobs which is also interesting to view. Check it out. I was trying to come up with a simple, in-Maya way of creating a real, volumetric texture, for example by inputting files to the ramp colors of a volume fog node, but none of my theories panned out. Another option might be to extrude each layer to fill in the space between them and apply the textures as projections. Then I should be able to carve shapes out with booleans and have continuous geometry, if still stepped texturing along the edge faces. I'm not sure, but combining the extrusions together with verts touching could cause problems with booleans and/or textures, but perhaps not.