Terragen Modo workflow

Started by James Adamson, October 18, 2019, 08:28:06 am

Previous topic - Next topic

James Adamson

Hi all. 
I currently use Modo and Nuke and am looking to build some animations containing some beautiful snowy alpine type scenes. (Think Alpine landscape photograph.) And some broken apocalyptic landscapes.  The alpine scenes will be very wide so amazing detail is not necessary. Building these in Modo I think will be painful. Does anyone have any advice on the best workflow. i.e Terragen/Vue whatever terrain package I use exports assets to Modo for render or the other way round. I have no experience with terrain generator software so ease of use and speed of turn around is important, but I am after broadcast quality animations.
Many thanks in advance.
James.

Oshyan

What non-terrain (e.g. character, vehicle, etc.) elements do you plan to have in the scenes? If they are mostly or entirely terrain, atmosphere, etc. (i.e. environment elements), I would recommend doing all your work in Terragen, including rendering. You can import and export camera and lighting data between Terrragen and Modo using FBX format, but getting Terragen terrain to render in Modo as well as it does in Terragen will be quite difficult. You can export terrain in various ways, it's just that the detail of render output will not compare to native Terragen rendering. That being said if you really prefer to bring your Terragen elements into Modo, we can provide more specific resources on how to do that. 

- Oshyan

James Adamson

Hi. Thanks for your reply. So I have a large amount of buildings all textured and ready to go in Modo. There are hundreds of buildings though.
What would be the best way of getting those into Terragen to Render. I definitely want the final look to come from Terragen, but I do intend comping it all in Nuke.
Cheers.
James.

Oshyan

It would probably be a not-insignificant amount of work to move that many buildings into Terragen. The ideal scenario would be if you could select them all and export them as a giant object with all textures intact and then hopefully Terragen could read that with all textures correctly assigned. This would ensure that the placement of objects relative to each other is preserved and doesn't have to be reproduced for 100s of buildings in Terragen, and would also cut down on the number of exports and imports you'd need to do. But depending on the number of unique textures and amount of geometry it may just be too much. And this also depends on the distribution of the buildings on the terrain being already correct in Modo. Is that the case?

If you're already planning to composite and have experience with Nuke, the easiest thing may be to just to render out the environment aspects from Terragen and output a bunch of render elements like atmosphere, depth, etc. Output a 360 environment map (spherical render) and render your buildings in Modo using that for lighting (you may get away with a somewhat lower resolution image since it's just for lighting purposes), and again output render elements like depth. Depending on what the ground area in/around the city looks like, and how you are planning to do any terrain elements, you may need to import or export aspects to/from Terragen or Modo to match that up for shadow casting, etc. Terragen can export terrain as heightfields or geometry, which you could use for correct shadows in Modo, for example. 

- Oshyan

James Adamson

Thanks Oshyan.
Great. Thats the workflow I had in mind. Yeah I thought importing one ginormous obj would be problematic and as I am already using an 
environment to light my scene in Modo I would just swap it out with Terragens' environment. And likewise swap out my current significantly inferior
displaced ground plane with one created in Terragen.
POifect! And whilst I am here, although I have gone through quite a few tutorials, it is still not clear to me how on the basic scene the terrain leading into the distance is flat and then the hills suddenly start. I guess what I am asking is how to localise displacements and position them to taste etc.
In the meantime I will keep watching those tuts.
Many thanks.
James.

Oshyan

October 27, 2019, 01:15:30 pm #5 Last Edit: October 27, 2019, 01:33:19 pm by Oshyan
As it happens we have a section of the documentation that explains exactly how the default scene works. :) https://planetside.co.uk/wiki/index.php?title=The_Default_Scene_Explained

And that approach is definitely a good one to reference when thinking about how to localize and otherwise control displacement. There are other tools for this kind of thing as well, for example the Transform Shader to move terrain shapes around. If you have specific questions let us know and we can give more direct advice.

- Oshyan

WAS

Check out the Terragen Community on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Terragen.Galleries/