What did I Break?

Started by elipsis1, March 12, 2012, 03:12:22 PM

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Hello, I'm trying to learn shaders.  Attached is a default project that I have attempted to add colors to.  The colors are there, but the terrain is flat.

I'm sure I've done something simple in error, but can't see it.


Hmm, just noticed that although my placement in the node network is within the shaders block, up top I see no shaders at all?

Looks like that Mix Colour 01 has moved it all over to the terrain as far as the object types are concerned.


This is what you get when you release software in 2006 and after almost 6 years still don't have a proper manual explaining these things.
Leaving us experienced users to keep it going by repeatingly answering the same questions over and over again. Where did they all go, except for a couple/few? ;)

Elipsis1, don't feel offended by that. You're question is upright and although there is a search it isn't always easy to find what you're specifically looking for especially if you don't know what's wrong which in turns has to do with the very first thing I mentioned.

Anyway, here we go...

The information on what to put where is very mixed and unclear now and then.
What Planetside tried to do with creating a terrain group and a shaders group is to create a common workflow or consensus on how to set up a scene.
Summarized: create your terrain and displacements in the terrain group and texture it in the shaders group. That's the basic idea.

However, this does not mean that if you alter your network in the shaders group to only process colour information that the displacement data will be preserved.
That's what happened here: you mixed your displaced terrain with texturing and mixed it by colour (mix colour 01).
The output of the mix colour 01 is colour and not displacement. So you end up with a flat surface.

See attached file for a possible solution.
What I did is I created a surface layer and hooked that up in the main network.
So from the compute terrain to base colours to surface layer = terrain displacement + colours from 'base colours' as data input into the surfacelayer.
The output of the mix colour 01 is then connected to the colour input of the surface layer. The diffuse colour of the surface shader is set to 1, which means that the colour input will be multiplied with 1, so un-affected (0.5 = half time the brightness of the input).

The simplest solution is to replace the 'mix colour 01' with a 'merge shader'. The merge shader merges both displacement and colour data by default.
I attached the previous example to try to explain different data types/flows/usage.

I hope it's a bit more clear now that the data flows from top to bottom to the planet node and that all data should remain intact.
The node group paradigm can be useful, but basically if you know which data goes where and what node accepts/outputs which data then you won't need any of these paradigms.

Good luck!



I do not take offense Martin.  Thank you for your repy.  So I was stripping out the displacement info.  

I agree, if there was a complete manual, I would be looking up things like "lead in scale" for example.  I have no clue what it does so I tweak, render, tweak, render, to try and figure out what it does.

I do feel like I just keep asking things everyday, and am worried that some people will just start ignoring my posts.

I do want to learn, and just today I think I answered someone else's question on heightfield vs power fractal terrains.

I even went to the node reference but didn't even find anything on the Power Fractal Shader v3? That is a pretty basic thing used every day, and I have yet to find a good write up of every feature.

I am very pleased with what Terragen 2 allows me to create.  I just have loads of questions.  Being addicted to Terragen 2 doesn't help hehe.

So I love Terragen 2, and will be a lifetime upgrader.  The lack of documentation is quite frustrating.

Hopefully, as I have heard Oshyan say, they are working on the documentation.

Some youtube videos by planetside would be a GREAT thing too.  Just a basic walkthrough of the power fractal shader and what all the controls do would be excellent!

Thank you so much, hopefully I will be one of those who becomes "experienced" and stays around to help answer the noob questions :)

lat 64

I'm in the same boat. I have taken the "Hmm, What does this slider do?" approach to learning this stuff. That way is problematical because I don't have clue as to the magnitude of effect any one thing has on the parameter I'm messing with. This wastes a lot of time but I'm slowly getting it. Interestingly, I found that using the animation keys has actually taught me how many of the inputs affect things. Sort of a before-and-after view of the effect when I render a short sequence of frames. It helps a bit anyway.
I checked out a few of the new 'Tube videos, That's going to help a lot for beginners like me.

With all that, It's still very fun working with TG@2 and learning from all the Braintrust here.

Stumbling in the gloom,
I'm a half century plus ten yrs old. Yikes!