Since UE 4.9 can do volumetric decals (a.k.a, raymarched procedural distance fields), I though I’d render some 3D fractals to test the feature.
The Volumetric Decals feature is only experimental, and so the objects defined this way do not cast shadows or occlusion. Also, when animated, they don’t play nicely with the Temporal Anti Aliasing. But they are good fun.
I added a more complex distance field to see what it would take in the material editor to create a more realistic/useful object. Even after encapsulating the SDF primitives and operators in MaterialFuncions, and taking a modular approach to the modeling (reusing the leg distance field 6 times), still the complexity (ie, amount of nodes) grows too much quickly… I’m not sure a graph-node style UI is the right approach for this task. But other than that, this new Volume Decal feature is pretty awesome!
One solid, already in use, case is for masking out 3d geometry.
DFs have the ability to quickly and efficiently represent artistic and organic forms, precision parts, high-order functions, and fractals.
DFs also have important processing operations, including rendering, sculpting, level-of-detail management, surface offsetting, collision detection, Boolean operations, blending and filleting, creating offset surfaces, and morphing between shapes.
If you want to play around with them I suggest something like shadertoy.com