Exporting Blender Objects to Terragen 2 (Blender Section)

Started by Henry Blewer, September 17, 2009, 04:52:34 pm

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Henry Blewer

This is the first part of my tutorial for using Blender Objects and Terragen 2. It covers just the Blender aspect so far.

                                                              Blender to Terragen 2

  This tutorial describes how to use Blender 2.49b to import objects into Terragen 2. The first step is to load Blender and create or load the object you wish to import. I am not going to describe how to make Blender objects here. Because Terragen 2 does not use the proceedural textures which Blender uses, you will have to remove these. The exporter does export multiple objects. Just select all the objects before starting the export. I model my Blender objects as a single object with multiple materials.

                                                                      Using Blender

   If the object does not have multiple materials, you will have to select each surface normal group and assign a material to these. This can be done by selecting vertex groups, edges, and faces. I think selecting the faces is easier. The vertex method sometimes includes surfaces which you do not want to be in a group.

   To do this, select the Editing Mode of Blender. It looks like a square with a dot attached at each corner. Right click on the object so it is outlined in pink. Now press the TAB key, this changes the Objects mode to Edit Mode. You should see the object and the vertices. If everything is yellow, then all the vertices's are selected. Press the A key, they should turn purple. On the tool bar below the 3D view, find the Faces Select icon. As you move the mouse over the icons, a pop up info bubble should appear after a second. This tells you what the icons do. Click on the Face Select icon.

   The object in the 3D view should change. The objects vertices's should disappear, replaced by black squares. These black squares are used to select the objects faces. Right click on one, it should turn yellow with the edges which make up the face. Press the A key to deselect everything. Press the B key. This enters the Box selection mode. You can now select groups of faces. This is done by dragging a box around the area you want to select. Just click on the top left corner, keep holding the left mouse button, and drag the box out right and down until all the faces you want are selected.

   It may be necessary to zoom into the object. To do this, use the mouse wheel. To change the 3D view orientation, use the number keys on the key pad. Num Lock must be on. 1, 3, and 7 are Front, Side, and Top. 5 enters perspective mode. The other keys are used for rotation. You can also rotate using the Middle mouse wheel. Move the mouse onto the 3D view. Hold down the mouse wheel. Now move the mouse around. The whole view rotates. To get back to the Front, Side, or Top views, press 1,3, or 7. Pressing 5 toggles between flat and perspective views. CTRL-Z is the Undo, if while manipulating faces, edges, or vertices, you make a mistake.

   With the selected faces now yellow, click on the Assign Button. This makes a Material group of faces. If this is the first Material, go to the menu just below the 3D view. Click on Select, then go to the menu item Inverse. This makes the unselected faces now the selected faces. Click on the New Button. This makes a new Material. Click on the Assign Button. You now have two Materials. This is also a good time to change the color.

   Click on the Sphere Icon, the balloon under the mouse should say Shading (F5). You should see a shaded sphere on the left. This is a raytraced preview of the material. Next to this are Icons to change the previews shape. To the right of this is the color selection area. There are three boxes, one gray, and two white. We are interested in the grey one next to Col. Click on the gray color. The Color Selector should appear. The rainbow at the bottom are the colors. The large box top left, is the 2D Value and Saturation selector. Move the little ball on the bottom color area. When you get to the color you want, move the mouse up to the 2D square. This changes the color saturation and the color intensity. When you are happy with the color, move the mouse off the Color Selection Box. The changed color should be in the spot next to Col. If your mouse moves off the Color Selector, it will close. You'll have to click on the color slot again.

   Now press the A key to deselect all the faces. You can now create more Materials by selecting faces, and clicking on New in the Edit Mode. You do not want to Select Inverse from now on. Click Assign, and go to the Shader Mode to assign colors.

   To make a group of faces smooth, there are two buttons in the Edit mode. Set Solid makes the faces flat. Set Smooth causes the area between the vertices's to appear rounded. There is an issue here. When tow Materials are adjacent, the smoothing continues because the faces share vertices's. This can cause unwanted smoothing. I avoid this by duplicating the vertices's and making a new material before continuing with extruding, or other modeling. If you are using an existing model. it is necessary to select the vertices's In a Material, duplicate them, and then hide them. Now you have to re-select the vertices's, and unselect the vertices's which are shared. Erase the vertices's which are still selected. Next reveal the hidden vertices's. If you do not do this you'll need to reconnect the vertices's. Remember CTRL-Z is the Undo.

                                                                    Exporting from Blender

  You are now ready to export the object. I did not include a section on using image mapping. I did not cover this because I am not familiar enough with the way Terragen 2 handles image mapping. When I am sure of how to do this, the image mapping steps will be added.

   Press the TAB key. This takes Blender out of Edit Mode and into Object Mode. Make sure you are in Object Mode. The face squares, or the vertex points should not be visible. On the 3D view, it should say Object in a square at the bottom of the view. If the objects are not surrounded by a pink line, press the A key. This should select/deselect all Blender Objects, including lights and the camera. You don't want or need the lights or camera. When there is not a pink line, right click on the object. If you need to select multiple objects, hold down the Shift key while right clicking.

  Now, at the top of the screen there should be the File Menu. Open the File Menu and move the mouse to Export. A sub menu should appear. The third option from the bottom is the Wavefront object exporter. Its text is Wavefront (obj)...  This should open the file saving area. It should default to the Blender Data directory. The P button is the parent. It moves back in the directory tree. The Up and Down arrows below this allow you to select Storage devices. Various directories are displayed in White. Files are black. Next to the Up and Down arrows is the file name. Type in a file name you like. At the far right are two buttons Export Wavefront Obj and cancel. Click on the Export Wavefront Obj button.

   A new window should pop up. It is devided into sections. In Context, the Selection Only should be dark. Output options, Rotate X90 should be selected. If Object Modifiers are used, select this, and if image mapping was used select Images. The Export section you want to select all of the buttons. The Blender Objects as OBJ, select Objects, Groups, and Material Groups. Now click on Export. Now you are ready to import the object/s into Terragen 2.

Forget Tuesday; It's just Monday spelled with a T


Henry Blewer

I'm trying to get some feedback first. Plus I need to write the Terragen2 import section. Also, pics of where things are is nice, some do not read English well. I have forgotten almost all my French. :(
Forget Tuesday; It's just Monday spelled with a T


Thanks for the tutorial, I think this is great and useful. Trying to digest it ...  ::)
BTW, this could have been more easy to understand with few images, at least of relevant buttons or menus.

Henry Blewer

When I get the Terragen 2 section done, I'll add images. They do help. As I learn more, I'll edit sections and make changes. I want to do an image mapping section also. Generally, I do not use image mapping in Blender. I use procedural textures only.
I am glad you liked this.
Forget Tuesday; It's just Monday spelled with a T


Very nice tutorial.  Only crit i can make is you might want to nix the REALLY basic Blender stuff.  Chances are if someone is looking to export a model from blender to terragen they alreadly know how to navigate blender's file trees and assign materials.  But I'm glad you put emphasis on the making sure you have a material assigned part, as I think that might be the mistake that caused me to seek this tute out in the first place.  Thanks much alantin.