Author Topic: Answers and Help Needed!  (Read 4219 times)

Offline burtward

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Answers and Help Needed!
« on: November 10, 2007, 12:38:36 AM »
Answers and Help Needed!

I purchased Terragen 2 with animation and I intend to use it for creating photo-realistic backgrounds in the feature films that I will be producing.

I have a few questions that I would appreciate being answered for me, so I can learn the software more quickly.

(1)  Is there an "Undue" button in the Terragen 2 software?  If so, I cannot find it, and that is problematic because in learning the software, I often make mistakes that I cannot correct because I cannot recreate exactly what I was working on without saving every change.  If there isn't an "Undue" button, I hope that the code writers will program one into the next version of the software - every user can benefit using that.

(2)  In zooming in and zooming out of the main window, I find that I sometimes get lost and cannot find the terrain that I am working on.  I do know about checking to make sure that my camera is above ground - that isn't the problem.  The problem is locating the terrain.  Is there or are they going to program in a "Select Terrain " button that users can select the terrain in the node network or in a side panel when they can't find it in the main window, and then select a "Frame Selected Objects" button to locate their terrain?

(3)  I've read and followed the directions in the partially completed tutorials and they are very helpful.  I would like to know if anyone knows when they will post additional information, because there is so much more I need to learn to become even moderately capable of using the software for the professional use that I intend to use it for.

(4)  I've tried to find helpful tutorials to learn Terragen 2, however, what I have found so far is not that helpful, but maybe I am just looking in the wrong place.  Can anyone direct me to tutorials so that I can learn to use the software as well as some of your users who have provided images on their website that are magnificent?

(5)  What file formats can the Terragen 2 software use dependably to import models.  I imported a few plants from Xfrog into Terragen 2, but instead of them being in .obj format, they were in a custom .ter format (which works well) - does or will Terragen 2 accurately import .obj files, because I haven't been able to do so?

(6)  How can I create deep canyons in Terragen 2?  Also, how can I create tunnels, waterfalls, plants and buildings in Terragen 2?

(7)  Will the code writers be providing more and precise animation tools in the next release?

(8)  Will coordinate and measurement tools be implemented to  provide exact angles, distance and light intensity measurements of the sun and exact angles, lenses and focal lengths of light sources and cameras as well?  In production, I will be blue screening and green screening my actors, and I would like an absolutely precise way of duplicating the sunlight, moonlight and shadows as well as the camera lenses, focal lengths, etc. so the integration of the actors into the backgrounds is precisely accurate.

(9) Will the code writers consider providing a color matching tool so that I can maintain precise continuity of color from shot to shot that I create in Terragen 2?  Of course, if I am using different angles in the same scene that I create in Terragen 2, that won't be a problem.  But, in newly created scenes that I want to keep color continuity, it would be important to be able to precisely define and match each color of the same terrain or similar objects from one scene to another.

I would appreciate anyone knowledgeable answering my questions and I hope to find a dependable path to learn the software to create amazingly detailed backgrounds that I can already see is capable of being done.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Burt Ward
vfx2@gentlegiantsrescue.com

Offline Matt

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Re: Answers and Help Needed!
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2007, 03:57:20 AM »
Hi Burt,

(1)  Is there an "Undue" button in the Terragen 2 software?  If so, I cannot find it, and that is problematic because in learning the software, I often make mistakes that I cannot correct because I cannot recreate exactly what I was working on without saving every change.  If there isn't an "Undue" button, I hope that the code writers will program one into the next version of the software - every user can benefit using that.

Not yet, but it's getting higher on our priorities as the rest of the application matures. Right now I can only recommend that you save often, but an Undo feature will be implemented.

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(2)  In zooming in and zooming out of the main window, I find that I sometimes get lost and cannot find the terrain that I am working on.  I do know about checking to make sure that my camera is above ground - that isn't the problem.  The problem is locating the terrain.  Is there or are they going to program in a "Select Terrain " button that users can select the terrain in the node network or in a side panel when they can't find it in the main window, and then select a "Frame Selected Objects" button to locate their terrain?

Something similar has been requested a few times and will probably be implemented next year.

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(3)  I've read and followed the directions in the partially completed tutorials and they are very helpful.  I would like to know if anyone knows when they will post additional information, because there is so much more I need to learn to become even moderately capable of using the software for the professional use that I intend to use it for.

We are currently working on completing the Node Reference which will document every single shader or node in TG2. That should be finished by the end of this year. We will then work on completing other parts of the documentation next year.

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(4)  I've tried to find helpful tutorials to learn Terragen 2, however, what I have found so far is not that helpful, but maybe I am just looking in the wrong place.  Can anyone direct me to tutorials so that I can learn to use the software as well as some of your users who have provided images on their website that are magnificent?

The documentation section has a subsection of user-contributed tutorials: http://forums.planetside.co.uk/index.php?board=6.0;sort=subject
We will continue to work on the main User Guide early next year. http://forums.planetside.co.uk/index.php?board=12.0;sort=subject

There's a lot going on in this forum, too, and searching for specific topics usually leads to useful discussions with contributions from some of the most capable users of TG2. There may be other good tutorials around - I'd be grateful if anyone else reading this can provide links to tutorials which are not already listed above.

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(5)  What file formats can the Terragen 2 software use dependably to import models.  I imported a few plants from Xfrog into Terragen 2, but instead of them being in .obj format, they were in a custom .ter format (which works well) - does or will Terragen 2 accurately import .obj files, because I haven't been able to do so?

The Xfrog Plants which are provided in Terragen format (.TGO) are usually converted from .OBJ versions within Terragen itself. The .OBJ format is the format which we provide most complete support for at the moment (apart from .TGO). There are some limitations (such as a maximum of 16 textures per object), and some objects can cause problems.

Terragen 2's object import is extensively tested with and built to support the XfrogPlants V2.0 Plant Library DVDs. It also works with .obj files exported directly from the Xfrog software, although there are sometimes subtle differences in the material setups which make this less bulletproof than with the objects from the DVDs, but to the best of my knowledge these are usually issues with the materials and textures and there are solutions to these problems.

What specific problems have you had with .OBJ import, and where did the objects come from?

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(7)  Will the code writers be providing more and precise animation tools in the next release?

The animation features will be significantly improved in the first half of next year. The main thing we want to do is implement a curve editor with complete control over key frames and a few different interpolation schemes. Import and export of motion data with other apps will also be improved.

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(8 )  Will coordinate and measurement tools be implemented to  provide exact angles, distance and light intensity measurements of the sun and exact angles, lenses and focal lengths of light sources and cameras as well?  In production, I will be blue screening and green screening my actors, and I would like an absolutely precise way of duplicating the sunlight, moonlight and shadows as well as the camera lenses, focal lengths, etc. so the integration of the actors into the backgrounds is precisely accurate.

Relative light intensities are already implemented, and the declination and bearing of the sunlight can be specified with accuracy (heading and altitude in TG terminology). There are no immediate plans to allow light source intensities to be specified in absolute real world units except to the extent that is necessary to render a physically realistic image within TG2. In order for these absolute values to be useful for matching to your set, I think TG2 would need to know everything about the film stock used, and there are no plans to give TG that sort of capability. Although I suppose it might be easier to calibrate with DV, I'm not sure. However, I don't think this is a barrier to matching lighting with your sets.

We'd like to make it easier to translate between real lens specifications and their TG2 counterparts, so will likely address that next year. However, with a few one-off calculations it is possible to calculate field-of-view angles to match TG2 cameras and real cameras. Barrel distortion is not supported, so you would need to perform that in compositing software if it is important.

In practice these limitations do not pose any significant difficulties to matching lighting and cameras between TG2 and the real footage.

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(9) Will the code writers consider providing a color matching tool so that I can maintain precise continuity of color from shot to shot that I create in Terragen 2?  Of course, if I am using different angles in the same scene that I create in Terragen 2, that won't be a problem.  But, in newly created scenes that I want to keep color continuity, it would be important to be able to precisely define and match each color of the same terrain or similar objects from one scene to another.

Colours that you use in any of the shaders within TG2 can be copied to other shaders very easily using drag-and-drop. If colours need to be copied from another project/scene, you could temporarily copy whole nodes into the project so that you can source the colours.

Other challenges may be posed by differing lighting conditions from scene to scene, but if the aim is to have continuity then I imagine you would probably want to keep the lighting conditions the same in your various scenes. There should be no problems there.

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I would appreciate anyone knowledgeable answering my questions and I hope to find a dependable path to learn the software to create amazingly detailed backgrounds that I can already see is capable of being done.

I hope I've answered your questions. I haven't answered your question about canyons yet - I'll get to that in a short while.

Cheers,

Matt
« Last Edit: November 13, 2007, 04:49:09 AM by Matt »
Just because milk is white doesn't mean that clouds are made of milk.

Offline Oshyan

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Re: Answers and Help Needed!
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2007, 05:48:52 PM »
Like most things, especially terrain shapes, canyons can be created in many ways.

Perhaps the easiest and most controllable would be to use a dedicated heightfield generator and editor such as World Machine, Geocontrol, Leveller or Wilbur. All except the last are commercial products. The advantage of these programs is that they are dedicated to terrain modeling and thus give you more control, particularly over erosion and other filters that will greatly enhance realism.

Within TG2 you can use Power Fractal terrains with high "bouyancy from variation" values (on the Tweak Noise tab) to get basic canyon-like shapes. This will give you a simple start from which you can work to create more complex and realistic forms using techniques described elsewhere on the forums.

Finally there are some resources available for creating procedural canyons which might provide better results: http://forums.planetside.co.uk/index.php?topic=1266.0

In regards to creating "tunnels, waterfalls, plants and buildings" within TG2, none of these things are supported at this point. TG2 is primarily a landscape *renderer*, it is not intended as a modeler. Plants and buildings should be modeled in other applications or purchased to suit your needs and then imported into TG2 for rendering.

Tunnels in the terrain are not very easy to create right now, but there are many "hacks" and workarounds, some involving heavy displacement, others relying on the use of large overlapping objects (spheres or "fake stones"). These techniques are described in various threads here in the forums. A search for "caves" or "tunnels" ought to give you a few places to start.

To properly render waterfalls would require a particle system which TG2 does not currently have. This may be something that is better handled in another program and then composited into the TG2 scene in post. You might be able to make a reasonable approximation of a waterfall using precisely controlled clouds and texturing, but it would be difficult to get high quality results.

- Oshyan

 

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