Author Topic: Terragen 4.2  (Read 632 times)

Offline Matt

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Terragen 4.2
« on: July 22, 2018, 07:38:35 PM »
As you may know already, Terragen 4.2 is now available. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Faster rendering of terrain and displaceable surfaces
  • Fixed cloud layer cut-off bug
  • UV mapping on exported geometry for camera projections
  • Improvements to the Node Network
  • Surface Layer improvements
  • New preview options for controlling the visibility of various scene elements
  • Reload function for images and other file parameters
  • Numerous other bug fixes and improvements

Check out the full change log for details: https://planetside.co.uk/change-logs/terragen-4-2-10-release-change-log/


Faster rendering of terrain and displaceable surfaces

Terragen uses ray tracing to calculate shadows cast by the terrain and other displaceable primitives. It also uses ray tracing to render these objects whenever they appear in reflections. This is now much faster in some cases, especially where rays travel nearly parallel to the surface.

Check out these examples:





When the sun is low in the sky, the terrain casts long shadows across the scene. In these examples we also enabled "receive shadows from surfaces" in the atmosphere. For the images shown here, Terragen 4.2 was faster than 4.1 by factors of 3.5x and 5x. While typical render time reductions will likely be less dramatic than these examples, youíll still enjoy improved rendering speed in many situations.


Fixed cloud layer cut-off bug

We've corrected a flaw in the rendering of clouds whenever the cameraís altitude is higher than the base altitude of a cloud layer (either within the cloud layer or looking down on them from above). The distant part of the cloud layer was being cut off where the planetís curvature should make the layer visible from underneath. This flaw was sometimes noticeable when looking towards the horizon with the camera near the clouds, and also at higher altitudes if clouds should be seen curving around the planet near the horizon.


UV mapping on exported geometry for camera projections

The Micro Exporter has an option called "Image UV (render projection)". This creates UVs that are suitable for projecting Terragen renders onto the geometry in other renderers and game engines. The UVs are derived from whatever camera you use to render your Micro Exporter. You can use this with any type of camera, including spherical cameras.


Network View: Groups and Notes

Have you ever been bothered by the ugly white boxes surrounding some nodes in the Network View? We added that feature a few years ago to help show you whenever a node isn't properly captured by the group that it appears to overlap. There are times when it's extremely important to know this (e.g. when using Render Layers). However, we've noticed that lots of scenes are being created where nodes aren't properly captured, and those white boxes are just making things look worse.

With 4.2 we've made some changes to automatically capture nodes into groups. After moving or resizing groups with the mouse, those groups auto-capture any nodes they surround. We hope this will make things simpler and cleaner looking from now on.

We also added "snap to grid" to Group nodes and Notes. After moving or resizing a Group node or a Note, it snaps to the grid in a similar way to other nodes. When you first use this on an existing project you may find that the contents of a group shift around a bit, but after they have snapped once they should behave predictably.

Resizing of Groups and Notes has another improvement. Until now, the resize handle along the top edge of a Group or Note was gradually reduced as we zoom out to make it easier to click on the title bar at low zoom, but this made it harder to grab the top edge for resizing. Other edges kept the same screen space size for the resize handle. Now, rather than making it progressively difficult to resize the top edge at low zoom, itís simply disabled when zoom is below a certain level. Left, right and bottom edges can still be grabbed at any zoom level.


Network View: Inputs and Outputs

The "Input node" label which appeared on each shader's first input is now called "Main input". This is to be consistent with what we usually call this input in normal conversation.

Labels are shown above some input plugs that have a connection to another node, even when youíre not hovering over them. The labels fade out and disappear when zoom is below a certain level. However, to keep things tidy we don't show labels for "Main input" or "Input 2", except when hovering over them.

Input/output arrows now fade out when the view is zoomed very far out.


Surface Layer improvements

Reflections and luminosity can pass through a Surface Layer from previous layers in some situations where it couldn't before. Previously this could be interrupted if the Surface Layer had children.

Now in 4.2:

  • Reflections can pass through a Surface Layer that has child layers as long as "Apply Colour" and "Enable Test Colour" are disabled and the child layers are disabled (or donít interfere with reflections by themselves).
  • Luminosity (emission) can pass through a Surface Layer that has child layers as long as "Apply Colour", "Enable Test Colour" and "Luminous" are disabled and the child layers are disabled (or donít interfere with luminosity by themselves).

Bear in mind that these things wonít work if the child layers are function nodes (blue nodes) because they automatically convert to black shaders when they are disabled.


New preview options

Heightfield Shader has a checkbox "Show b-box in preview". This controls whether previews should show a bounding box and manipulation handles for the heightfield.

Simple Shape Shader has a checkbox "Show b-box in preview". This controls whether previews should show a bounding box and manipulation handles for the shape. Moved "Draw shape edges" up alongside "Show b-box in preview".

Camera has new checkboxes "Show frustum in preview" and "Show path in preview" below the existing "Show camera body in preview". When showing neither the camera body nor the frustum, no manipulation handle is shown or selectable in the preview.


File and image handling

Added "Reload File" to the popup menu for file parameters, such as textures, object files and so on.

Renamed "Open Preview" to "Preview Image" in the popup menu for image file parameters.


Numerous other bug fixes and improvements

We've made other changes to help you understand the status of your license, and more. For full details, check out the complete change log here:

https://planetside.co.uk/change-logs/terragen-4-2-10-release-change-log/
« Last Edit: July 22, 2018, 07:41:12 PM by Matt »
Just because milk is white doesn't mean that clouds are made of milk.

Offline Matt

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Re: Terragen 4.2
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2018, 07:51:39 PM »
Free Non-commercial Edition:

In Terragen, use the Check for Updates feature. Alternatively, you can download it from our website.


Terragen 4 Creative or Terragen 4 Professional:

The 4.2 update is free to all users who have current Maintenance. If your Maintenance has expired youíll need to renew it in order to access 4.2 and future updates. To check your Maintenance status, you can use the Check for Updates feature in Terragen, or login to your account on our website (https://planetside.co.uk/my-account). Maintenance lasts for one year from your original purchase, and then must be renewed annually to maintain access to updates. If your last renewal was more than 1 year ago, youíll need to renew to access 4.2.

You may download the 4.2 Free Non-commercial Edition, but if your Maintenance has expired then it will only run in Free Non-commercial mode.


Incorrectly reporting "Your Maintenance has Expired"?

We recently discovered that for some people Terragen is showing a message saying that their maintenance has expired when in fact their maintenance was up to date. If this happens to you, you may need to download a new key file from our website. To do this, log into your account at https://planetside.co.uk/my-account and click on "View Details and Downloads" for your most recent purchase. From there you should look for "Key File (tg4key.lic), click on that and follow the instructions on the next page.

« Last Edit: July 22, 2018, 07:56:19 PM by Matt »
Just because milk is white doesn't mean that clouds are made of milk.

Offline WASasquatch

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Re: Terragen 4.2
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2018, 07:14:01 PM »
Wow! Those render comparisons are nuts! Really? That's so cool! Thanks a lot for your effort in this. I imagine it took a lot of optimization and planning.

Capturing node idea is awesome. I always use the capture nodes feature or the fun "drag off screen and back" but that might just be my OCD. This will make things so much easier. Great idea on the main inputs, too.

Also, thanks a lot for the reload images feature! I usually had to resort to throwing in and deleting a character to the image path to get TG to reload them.

Lots of great stuff in this update. Thanks again!

Art can be a window into the soul