newbie frustrations - ARRG!

Started by gepisar, September 03, 2018, 09:49:24 pm

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Im new to the forum and to TerrorGenerator. (Gosh, that learning curve!)

Been trying to work it all out. Figured out a few things thanks to some really helpful postings in this forum. Still trying to work out stuff!

Thought Id upload my first couple of images. The first was a total "fluke". The fog, the broken ice on the river (is there a river below "Half Dome") - just appeared after clicking some stuff - ah, yeah, figured out how to get GeoData in and then "find" the point of interest.

The second image is using geodata from Monument Valley. Unlike the first, i kinda had an idea for reflective sand, quartz or marble in the tower, (constrained by angle of incline) and to glimmer - but couldnt quite get that.

The skies in TG are frickin awesome!

Really a kick-ass bit of software.
Though it looks spectacular - its not "quite real". Theres a touch of the "uncanny-valley" (if you will forgive the pun) -


Welcome to this forum! Always good to have someone new. And your first renders are not bad at all. You'll get the hang of it. After you know the basics, you'll discover the endless possibilities.
Hope to see more of your work, and if any questions, do ask.


I can only echo Dune :)

But in any case wlecome to the forum and a compliment to your first renders!


Welcome to the forum. If you have any questions do just ask.
Great renders (good lighting and POV).
Did you use much post processing and how did you get the foreground sand dune effect?

Ryzen 9 3900X @3.79Ghz, 64Gb (TG4 benchmark 6:20)
i7 5930K @3.5Ghz, 32Gb (TG4 benchmark 13.44)


Thanks for the welcome!

Quote from: cyphyr on September 04, 2018, 04:17:38 am
Welcome to the forum. If you have any questions do just ask.
Great renders (good lighting and POV).
Did you use much post processing and how did you get the foreground sand dune effect?

The dune effect was more or less ripped off the "Dunes and Sandwaves" tutorial by Laurent Avenel. (Though i think i should have scaled it down, i was looking to get subtle waves like one might see at Sedona or Monument Valley)

I pinched and poked so many things from the forum, and i didnt keep track of whose tips n tricks I used, but i suspect the artists will recognise their own work!

Post processing: yeah, the Half Dome was worked in the shadows.

Trying for the depth of field was awkward. And the results just looked weird! Because of the distances, the effective f number was less than 1. (Had to dig out the depth of focus calculator for the hyperfocal distances, which was still in the tens of meters - hence had to tweak the camera position to get some rock that close!)

And the Dunes had a slight magenta overlay in regions of the chalk-like layers. It looked just too white otherwise.

The setting for the sand, I suspect also from the forum. I did a quick check of my browser history but I couldnt find anything(!).

So, attached, the clip for the sand texture. The texture was grabbed from a site that alleged it was royalty free... but, hmm... im sure there's many to find.


The dune texture-effect will work akin to sun reflecting in water (i.e. sun,sand,camera must be aligned and works best with a low sun (7deg or so))



A particularly stunning, and unique vision of color conformity here in my opinion. Your use of colours is far superior to even some of the greatest abstract science fiction art I collect. And that's not just being nice. While I know a lot is coming from TG handling the colours, the colours you picked out with post processing really makes things pop in a certain way.

When you get the hang of Terragen, I imagine so absolutely fantastic work from you. You're already ahead of most on their introductions on the forums.

Pretty sure my first piece was like a simple strata setup and a lake? Lol
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Ah sci-fi abstract! I love all that! (i guess you also know of Isaac Arthur's YT channel - a bit more real-world-grounded in where humanity is going and transhumanism and all that, but based on concepts from sci fi... )

Re colour, i used to do a bit of amateur photography and i read "Professional Photoshop: The Classic Guide to Color Correction" (Margulis) and understanding colour curves, colour spaces, sharpening, chromatic aberrations kinda got it in my head. Forever after i was seeing colour casts and limp "curves" everywhere. (Find the dark spot, the highlight, then steepen the curve between, more or less! Even with unsharp masks, to apply them individually in each colour channel or even switch to LAB colour when required...)

Having said that, TG seems to do a lot under the hood: auto exposure, auto contrast and lots more im unaware of... its quite a bit of kit. Last time i had this level of fun was with Bryce 2... and last time i had this level of frustration was... er... hmm... ;-)


Update... reduced dunes, added tracks... very happy with this!


Quite impressive for your first scenes! And yes, Half Dome does have a river (and a lake) beneath it, but it's not quite that wide. ;)

- Oshyan


September 05, 2018, 02:00:04 am #9 Last Edit: September 05, 2018, 02:01:35 am by bobbystahr
Quote from: gepisar on September 05, 2018, 12:37:57 am
Update... reduced dunes, added tracks... very happy with this!

And well you should be. As good as the first iteration was this is better as the tracks indicate a story in there.
and Welcome to the forum....looking foreward to your continuing input...
something borrowed,
something Blue.
Ring out the Old.
Bring in the New
Bobby Stahr, Paracosmologist


okey dokey... so while figuring out how to put those tracks in the right place (seemed fiddly with translators and scalers and which way around to put them, as distance translations seemed to get scaled too - i probably wired it wrong) i wondered:

a) how could i bend the tracks. The right track was a translated output of the left.  But a curve means the inside track has a smaller curve radius than the outward one, and vice-verse on a reverse bend.

b) how to introduce a fractal noise pattern at the edges of the treads to "erode" the edge tracks

c) how to actually create an overall track impression (the crests of those mini dunes to get lowered slightly more than the troughs) and then to put the tyre tread track impressions on that.

d) then i thought about a low-level blowing dust layer...



a: use a warp shader, a vector displacement shader and a power fractal. There's some examples to be found in the forum (I once shared a road setup).
b: if your track mask is a bit blurred, you can mask a surface shader by it and use the breakup input for such 'erosion' of the grey areas of that mask. Uncheck 'breakup colors only' if you displace directly in that surface shader. If you just use the color of the output, you can leave that. But play with values of the breakup input PF (I personally don't like the warp, e.g. and you should change sizes to accomodate to track erosion.)
c: if you mask your track displacement by the heights of the sand crests (or multiply), you will get just that. If your dunes are based on color, that's easy, if it's just displacement, use a displacement to scalar, and adjust values (color adjust) for the perfect effect.
d: that would be a low cloud with whispy, perhaps warped PF, and adjusted cloud colors.

Agura Nata