Testing a new kind of previsulisation

Started by DocCharly65, July 19, 2016, 03:13:33 am

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July 19, 2016, 03:13:33 am Last Edit: July 19, 2016, 04:29:36 am by DocCharly65
Just what I did:

I used FastStone Capture to take screenshots via "Print-button"
I set FastStone Capture to save to Files with consecutive numbers in the name (any other screencapture program should work as well)
I set Terragen animation playback to "frame by frame" or alternatively called frame by frame manually.

I got a previsualisation of moving objects in relative short time (app. 30 minutes each animation)
I got a previsualisation of the moving objects in higher object quality than using usual rendering with low res and low AA.
Every safed file is surely a single frame (with fraps eg. you perhaps get the same Terragen frame 1-2 or 3 times or frames are dropped)

Only minor ones: my forefinger aches from pressing "print" some hundred times  ;D
It works best if the terrain isn't that relevant - for terrain you better wait until the 3D Preview has rendered at least 40-80 %
It needs your full concentration especially if you let run the animation automatically and your PC is fast.

But I love this way to work. So I can work easier and faster and more accurate on camera paths and object movement.

What do you think: Is it worth to wish this feature as another way for animation rendering in the new TG4?
My suggestion would be:
A special "OpenGL Rendering Node" with these features:
Select quality of terain rendering: 0, 20, 40, 80, 100, HD
Export either 3d Preview frame by frame as bmp or jpg
Or export whole Terragen window frame by frame as bmp or jpg if you have a special parameter in the left side you want to watch.

Have a look and decide:
(I did these previsualisation some weeks ago and needed some time to think about how to describe my "dream-function") But I use this technics now for most of my animations.

Here I could early find out that the heli-movement (lateral tilt) needs a bit work but I could check that the overall movement and path seems ok.

Here is the helicopter fly-by over your heads as already shown in some rendered frames in the image section:

Dear Matt and Oshyan, does it make sense to save a copy of this topic in Terragen Discussion as a feture request for TG4 (perhaps even TG3)? I don't want to post it twice but if users are interested in this idea, perhaps it could be posted there as a public poll too. But perhaps TG already has something like this feature and I am just blind - please let me know if so..  ;D


This sounds really interesting, Nils!!


It certainly does. Can't you have a screencapture automatically, each X seconds, timed with the frame by frame animation? No more sore forefingers  ;)


July 19, 2016, 03:42:40 pm #4 Last Edit: July 19, 2016, 03:53:02 pm by DocCharly65
Yes I theoretically could, Ulco, but it will not work for a neat test render. Unfortunately there are no regular intervals between the rendered OpenGL 3D previews.

If I concentrate and follow the frame numbers or the slider intervals and push the button manually I get a capture frame by frame. That is a a feasible thing. If I let it run automatically, I will get dropped frames or double frames in unknown intervals. To find them and delete or to fill gaps, is a horrible job!

Just using the "play" option of the animation preview can be too stuttering for eg. checking smooth camera movements or  difficult object movements.

Also I don't have any control about eventually interesting 20 / 40 / 80 / 100 % or HD renders of the terrain. I don't know a way for automatically set delays before the next frame number is set.

So I would be quite pleased about Matt's programming talent and a little Terragen feature in this direction.

To make it appetizing to all of you another test animation, I could finish within about 30 minutes as you can see at the PC Clock. No PC could show the objects rendered in this detail in this time:


Here I checked my "look under the ground and check the robot's traction -technics" (and the balls rotation over the distance)
It's almost indecent how fast that goes   ;) ;D


That is cool Nils............can't wait for the full animation.  :)


I can't wait too  ;D
But I've just full employment on all render licenses and I have my budget used up to the limit. (I have set a personal limit for pixelplow jobs per month. Just for a bit financial discipline - if not you could spend more money there than in Las Vegas  ;D  )


Of course, they won't all be finished in the same time. Too bad. Hopefully Matt wil think of some nice extra feature.

But how about rendering an animation the normal way, but with nearly all features turned off? No GI, no atmo, nearly all objects and pops turned off. No compute terrain, no colors, detail 0.2, AA1.....


July 20, 2016, 03:09:44 am #8 Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 03:22:05 am by DocCharly65
Quote from: Dune on July 20, 2016, 02:08:24 am
Of course, they won't all be finished in the same time. Too bad. Hopefully Matt wil think of some nice extra feature.

But how about rendering an animation the normal way, but with nearly all features turned off? No GI, no atmo, nearly all objects and pops turned off. No compute terrain, no colors, detail 0.2, AA1.....

Good morning Ulco (and of course all the others too :) )
Your idea is not bad and I used it in my very beginning of rendering animation. I did the rendering test of the "start of the viper at the mountain lake" during about 4-5 hours in 500x200 resolution, detail 0.1, AA1. But in that quality I had overseen many mistakes in details.

In some cases (unfortunately most of my cases) I need to see some model details. In these cases I even need the pops because eg. to check if the helicopter doesn't touch or flies through trees. The "No compute terrain, no colors, detail 0.2, AA1" is similar to my idea to "OpenGL-render" the terrain in 20-80% detail.

For the robots animation on the other side I needed the terrain rendered in HD to check the robots "ground contact". But I only needed to render the terrain once, move the cam a bit (to avoid camera movement in the playback) and could easily check how neat the animation was.

I admit that my idea would be suitable primarily for object animation (minor camera movement in the terrain) and for usage by hobby artists. I think professional / business or commercial users may prefer investing the money for renderfarms or even own a little one :)
My experiences so far: 10 seconds animation in something like "my typical quality" needs 2-3 days depending on pixelplow-load and costs me 50-100$ per job. With enough financial investment you could reduce the time to one or two hours. For me and my "dream-project" the 2-3 days and 50-100$ are ok but frustrating if you find some weird object-collissions or some similar fails after rendering.

Edit 09.17am:
I thought about some more advantages: Not only objects animation could be checked. also eg. smoothness of a camera movement, rotation, angles. Or to check if eg. camera shaking effects work fine... With OpenGL rendered objects you can better see than in flickering detail 0.1, AA1 renders. In these cases my 20/40/80% terrain rendering idea would be necessary but still faster than "real" rendering.


In Maya this is called a Playblast, and people often use that term to describe this features in other programs too. It would be great to have this in Terragen, especially as more people are animating directly in Terragen these days.

I enjoy watching all your animations, btw :)

Just because milk is white doesn't mean that clouds are made of milk.


You convinced me. Just thinking along  :)


July 20, 2016, 05:35:15 am #11 Last Edit: July 20, 2016, 05:41:13 am by DocCharly65
Thanks Matt, that keeps me motivated  :)

For me of course it's most interesting to follow the development of Terragens animating features because 3 years ago (really such a long time? - wow!) Oshyan convinced my to change from using the CryEngine for my film ideas to Terragen 3.

As a passionate viewer of Youtube Let's plays I get many impressions of the 3D graphics development and the power of the graphics / physics / game engines.

Most of the games I bought for my Xbox One I  primarily look out for interesting graphically impressions (with my over 50 years and my reaction rate like a lava lamp I am surely the worst player on this earth  ;D ) At a first glue eg. I was very impressed by Fallout 4 or Forza Horizon but now I can relaxed lean back and say "not as authentic as most of my terragen animations".

Besides some independent game developers offer quite more graphically interesting projects than the big mainstream developers. Just have a look at eg. "Layers of Fear" or "The Vanishing of Ethan Carter".

So I think it's good for Planetside that you keep in touch with the animation-world and their features, wishes and development.