Dragos Matkovski




The Illustrated Nature is a 3D environment made out of stylized vegetation models, shaders, image effects and scripts, created for those who want to tell a story in a colorful and painterly world.



It all started with an experiment where I combined digitally painted brush strokes with 3D geometry to create a scene that looked very much like a digital painting. Not trying to achieve realism, instead going for a painterly look in 3D.

This direction slowly materialised in what has become The Illustrated Nature, a project close to my heart where I could focus on bringing the two worlds I most enjoy together, digital paintings and 3D graphics.






Every model is made with patience and love, and harmoniously sits inside the scene like a brush stroke in a painting.

The vegetation models are lush and alive. I wanted the trees and the grass to be dense, perform well, and move in the wind in a believable way.


I intentionally kept all the textures abstract. One leaf texture is a brush mark scattered a few times, another texture is a scattered square, the pine needles are grungy lines.

I use white textures with alpha for the vegetation, compressed at a 256x256 size. All the colors in the scene are controlled through the color property of the materials. This allowed for easy and instant color changes to the assets and made the process of coloring the scene feel more like painting in an application.


The vegetation is animated with the help of two types of animations - vertex and UV, both happening at the shader level. 

Vertex animations are used to create the sway motion. UV animations act as a secondary, subtle wiggle of the leaves. They can be individually turned on and off for a better control over performance.

I use the same type of UV animation to bend the grass blades in the wind, instead of only skewing them with the vertex offset.



Features Overview


Colorful Demo Scene

Large demo scene with 4 different color palettes that completely change the mood of the environment.


Wind Manager

The Wind script is used to globally control the wind animations in the scene.


Color Manager

The Color Manager is an editor tool for changing the colors in the scene with ease.


Cloud Animations

Custom solution for animated clouds based on particle system, with infinite variation.