Planet orbit views

Started by TerraGianca, November 05, 2021, 02:35:36 pm

Previous topic - Next topic


I'm working on a blue marble project, and I need to set camera views from specific areas of earth, like the Australia west coast, and the Namibia desert.
First of all, I already set up good ol' earth using the blue marble maps, and it looks great, however, I got two major issues that are on my way to get what I need:

  • When I go to the chosen locations sunsets look way different than the default location.
  • Gimbal locks! It is so hard to navigate the camera from these locations I'm about to give up and animate in another app and import back a fbx...

So my questions are:
  • is it better to try to rotate the entire planet to get my location to the default terragen location? (instead of trying to animate my camera from where these locations are situated on the planet). If yes, how?
  • is there is a trick to make a sunset consistent (within reason) from different locations across the planet?
  • Same about the sun: it is really hard to make it go where it's supposed to be with just an elevation and latitude
  • and finally: how to deal with the camera gimbal lock...

Thanks in advance for any advice!


For stuff like this you would be better off importing the cameras from another software. TG camera does need some work. Orbit and heading could help a lot in, well, orbiting a planet. I struggle here too as I haven't figured out how to do these camera rigs in blender to export to Terragen.

As far as the sunset looking different Id need an example. The default scene is setup to light the north pole area. It probably isn't accurate to earth.


The default terragen location is on the upper side of the planet, but it isn't correspondent to the north pole: the sun from the default scene behaves like from some average location above the tropic line.



The maximum zenith for the north pole region is 23.5 degrees, the default scene is already above this at 25 degrees, and if you're doing a more mid-day scene you'd raise that further at 0,0,0.


Unless you are making a very specific animation you may find it easier rotating your planet so your desired locations are at the top of the world.

You can do this either by entering the coordinates of your desired location in the "Lat long at apex" in the Planet node.


by placing a transform node after your image maps and rotating the texture so you can see the geographical areas you want at the top of the planet.

Hope this helps

Ryzen 9 3900X @3.79Ghz, 64Gb (TG4 benchmark 6:20)
Ryzen 9 5950X @3.4Ghz, 16Gb (TG4 benchmark 4:28)


There were a few things I set wrong: all the image map shaders had their centers set at -6.378e+06  instead of zero.
After that change, everything became more predictable...
Luckily I'm not using heightfields (this time), so I'm avoiding that headache.

I'm going to build a rig in Maya to animate cameras and even figure out complex gimbal lock rotations: I did a quick&dirty one and I was able to rotate the planet to match what I had in Maya, but some of the cartesian axes are inverted in Terragen (or vice-versa) so I still had to do some hand conversions.
Once I got it tested to be reliable 100% I will post it here.