Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"

Started by N-drju, May 04, 2020, 12:24:19 pm

Previous topic - Next topic

N-drju

I must admit that sometimes I find Terragen populator to be rather challenging. First and foremost, the more populations we get, the thicker a forest / tree stand becomes. What works with five populations instanced at 15m x,y, fails miserably with 20+ populations. This, basically, forces the user to rearrange instancing for each of those pops, one by one. It's hell of a work, trust me.

Secondly, I sometimes feel power fractals are just not the right way to imitate a real-life areas for tree stands. They are... well, a little too random in my view. Even if PFs are used just as mixer controllers or a portion of a mask setup, anything that has PF as an integral part is not guaranteed to yield a good result. Often, it does. But not always.

Sometimes I feel compelled to use just one mask for a certain species of trees to make it look believable. Again, trees do not grow 100% randomly. They tend to create families - scientifically proven. :)

The bottom line is that we need for populations, what has been done for clouds. "Easy populations" with multi-object (same species) support and object spacing modulator. The former is self-explanatory. The latter could let a user macro manage all population spacing at once in case they together get too clogged. Of course, affected populations could be grouped up, so that others that a user is happy with, would be left as they are.
"This year - a factory of semiconductors. Next year - a factory of whole conductors!"

WAS

That's just asking for the population to be rewrote, which it should be. But TG has no way to discover species, which means a whole framework fro the user to define ecosystems. Enter Vue realms and other software.

However, as far as I've seen ALL populators in ALL software work on random occurrences, ironically, with perlin fractal paths as masks.

I think you need to think about your PFs smarter, not harder.

For example. You could use a Voronoi Billows, with low colour roughness, and high contrast to create "patches" where "stands" of specific species gather, even creating more sparse patches around the radius of the main noise dump.

Reducing noise in general on a PF will give you more solid maps without all the speckling, than you can use your spacing, and spacing variation to place trees accordingly. For example, with voronoi billows you may want tighter spacing, and less variation to keep them in stand like patches.

N-drju

Why, of course - I'm not asking TG to identify species, no way. ;) My point is that a user could define (group them up) together on their own. Perhaps, maybe even allow a functionality of selecting a folder instead of a file and generate population from every asset in that folder?

Might not be good for all users though... I do have all of the plants grouped by species, but I guess that may not be the case with everyone.

It's not even the noise or roughness question. I just have that general feeling that shaping and shading is not quite what I'd expect, even when enhanced with solutions like your RGB Mixer (I dived into it a little more, tried it, took time to understand - it's good. Sorry if I've been an asshole.)
"This year - a factory of semiconductors. Next year - a factory of whole conductors!"

Tangled-Universe

This has been on my wish list for years. Or something like a master-control-node or the like, would save a ton of time...

Dune

It's in the project tracker as a feature request. For quite some time too. But maybe not easy to implement. Would be great to open a pop and pick a few species instead of one, indeed. But say for fringes, you could easily start out with a soft mask and do some math to get a separate fringes mask for say forest edge bushes.

cyphyr

I would prefer to see stepped rotation personally.

Setting up populations is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. In your hypothetical you are right that pops with a 15m spacing will stop looking good when you have too many but the solution is really to plan ahead and have an idea up front that you are going to need x many populations for a scene and start with lower population densities.

Stepped rotation (limit rotation to every x degree, 10°, 20°, 30°, 45°, 60°, 90°, 120°, 180° etc would be very useful for building cities and more "ordered" populations. Also not too hard to add I would imagine (not that I know the first thing about programming lol).
www.richardfraser.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/RichardFraserVFX/
/|\

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

Tangled-Universe

Quote from: cyphyr on May 05, 2020, 04:37:17 amSetting up populations is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. 

Yes and no.
Yes, because I know what you mean, I think. You have a bunch of populations and you decide to make the area larger, or somewhere else or..or...or...
Then you figured it all out for 1 populations and then you copy paste all those settings to your other 10 or 20 or even more populations. It would take you 10-15 minutes to do that including doublechecking it all, so that would count for answering no. It's not the end of the world, but man...do we REALLY HAVE to do it this way?
Selecting a bunch of objects within one node dialogue would be so much quicker for everything.
I also hate it that copy/pasting from one project to the other breaks it, by having to reconfigure the planet and sit-on shader (which usually is the compute terrain node if you respect TG's modus operandi, which in many cases is still best/most fool proof)

If an overhaul of the node would happen then rotate by shader (already requested I believe) and rotate by steps should be feasible I'd guess.

WAS

It would be really nice to see the population redone. I think it is about time. Like, yes, you can plan ahead, and as I explained used softer masks, and such to simulate the effect, but it's time consuming, and as Martin stated, translating that "simply" to another area or scene is a pain.

cyphyr

I definitely agree loosing the "Sit on Terrain" anchor is a royal PIA !
www.richardfraser.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/RichardFraserVFX/
/|\

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

N-drju

"This year - a factory of semiconductors. Next year - a factory of whole conductors!"

Dune

Quote from: cyphyr on May 06, 2020, 04:25:57 amI definitely agree loosing the "Sit on Terrain" anchor is a royal PIA !
? Why is that?

cyphyr

Because it seems somewhat needless ... especially since in most cases it remains at the default "Compute Terrain" ... having to re-assign it for every copy of a population when all other internal links remain functional.
I guess it's a left over from when the Sit on Terrain input was a node line.
www.richardfraser.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/RichardFraserVFX/
/|\

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

Dune

I don't think I want to loose that anchor possibility, as I often anchor on some other shader (like the last or an extra displacement for half-sunk instances). I often don't even use a compute terrain, so pops don't anchor to the planet at all, which means I have to reassign anyway.

N-drju

Quote from: Dune on May 07, 2020, 01:36:36 amI don't think I want to loose that anchor possibility, as I often anchor on some other shader (like the last or an extra displacement for half-sunk instances). I often don't even use a compute terrain, so pops don't anchor to the planet at all, which means I have to reassign anyway.

When you have a pretty flat terrain this, indeed, is not a problem. As a matter of fact, I did that with my current project (though, conversely, instances were levitating above the ground) and it had little influence on the image as a whole. I had four, maybe five nodes before compute terrain too.

But apparently, many of us work with undulating terrain where disconnected compute node is, like Richard elegantly put it, a PIA.

Probably this should be an option in the preferences menu - disconnect anchor upon duplication - check / uncheck.
"This year - a factory of semiconductors. Next year - a factory of whole conductors!"

WAS

My terrains always have other additions making the compute terrain create floating pops or in wrong positions. Its annoying and a bad change imo just to ease node lines. We could have a portal shader for that and be used for anything