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Short Grass Rendering

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Most of the demos for grass I see use tall prairie looking grass. But the billboard techniques do not look good when viewed from a bird's eye. Since I want to render short grass (like a lawn) where if they player looks down it will sort of be a "bird's eye" view, I have doubts about the billboard approach. Does anyone have experience with this? Right now I am leaning towards a shell/fin system, but I would still like advice from anyone with experience in short grass rendering before starting.

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Besides billboards or using a massive amount of little polygons, you may want to look at
"Steep parallax mapping"
Which is nothing but improved parallax mapping. There is a screenshot with some test grass and a reference to a useful paper on my blog here:
http://tower22.blogspot.com/2010_06_01_archive.html

Notice that my implementation didn't use self-shadowing so far. You can improve the results by taking more samples, varying the grass blade length & colors with some noisy maps, and apply self-shadows. Besides grass, this shader can also be used for carpets or fur. You could also play around a little bit with the blur directions to simulate some wind.

Rick

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