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News => Announcements => Topic started by: Matt on November 07, 2018, 08:08:20 am

Title: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: Matt on November 07, 2018, 08:08:20 am
Howdy Folks!

Terragen 4.3 is going to be a big update. I'm putting together the final change log, and yet again I'm surprised by how much has changed since 4.2.

The final release of 4.3 is just one or two weeks away. Here's a detailed (maybe too detailed!) list of what's new:

UPDATE: Terragen 4.3 has now been released!


FASTER RENDERING


Shaved about a third off calculation times for the colour generated by Power Fractal Shader V3 (colour/value, not displacement). This makes a big reduction in render times for Easy Cloud, for example, and is expected to speed up many scenes that use the Power Fractal Shader.


CLOUDS


Animation of Easy Cloud. A new "Anim" tab on the Easy Cloud node has two new features to animate the cloud texture:

Easy Cloud also has a new feature called "Time warp". When using any of the animation effect (Drift or Evolution), normally these are calculated from the distance between the current frame and the reference frame, but this produces animation with a constant speed. "Time warp" allows you to vary the speed during the animation, pause or reverse time, create bounce effects, and so on. You do this by editing the animation curve on the "warped frame number" parameter.

In GI Settings, the default value for "Voxel scattering quality" is now 100, and the slider goes from 0 to 160. Although the optimal value depends on many factors, we've found that a value of 100 tends to render higher quality images in a shorter time than the old default of 50. We recommend updating any of your existing projects to use a value of 100 for "Voxel scattering quality".


PIXEL SAMPLING / ANTI-ALIASING


"Defer all shading" can now be enabled on the render node's Quality tab. This was first available in Terragen 4 Beta but it had some bugs so we disabled it. Now we've fixed those issues. Deferred shading is a great way to improve anti-aliasing of textures and lighting on the terrain and other displaced surfaces, and it unifies adaptive anti-aliasing across all parts of the scene. In some cases it will render faster, and in others it will render slower. Image quality and render time depend on anti-aliasing settings.

New controls for adaptive sampling in Render Pixel Sampler:

- "New curve (BETA)." THIS MAY BE RECALIBRATED IN FUTURE BUILDS. When enabled, this changes how the adaptive sampler evaluates RGB values for contrast with neighbouring samples. The main difference is that the new curve increases the noise tolerance on bright pixels (especially super-bright pixels), which allows more time to be spent on shadows and mid-range areas. When enabled, render times are usually shorter. Therefore higher anti-aliasing can be used to get better quality images in less time.

- "Robust adaptive sampler (BETA)." THIS MAY BE RECALIBRATED IN FUTURE BUILDS. When enabled, the adaptive sampler uses a more robust strategy to estimate noise in order to improve image quality. It looks at a larger grid of samples surrounding the current pixel or subpixel that is being considered for supersampling. This can be important when rendering scenes that have a lot of Monte Carlo noise from depth of field, 3D motion blur, path tracing, or small objects that are sparsely distributed. It helps to reduce temporal aliasing in animations. It can improve the quality of fine vegetation, because it includes samples that were often missed by the old adaptive sampler. When enabled, render times may be shorter or longer than before, depending on the scene. Some parts of an image may appear noisier than before, while other parts may appear cleaner, so you might want to adjust anti-aliasing and/or pixel noise threshold to get the desired result. It automatically uses the "New curve" described above, regardless of that checkbox setting.

- Two new levels of adaptivity can be selected: 1/256 and 1/1024.

Professional Edition only: There is a new Render Element called "Sample Rate" This shows how the adaptive sampler decided to distribute ray-traced subpixel samples in response to the noise it detected. If viewing the image as an EXR, you should clamp the values at 1 (white) for ideal viewing. Full white pixels in the render element mean that the pixel contains the maximum possible samples for the Anti-aliasing parameter (e.g. 64 samples for AA 8 ). Magenta pixels mean 10% of the maximum possible samples per pixel were traced. Blue pixels mean 1%. Black pixels contain 0 samples. Although a pixel might contain no samples, interpolation occurs wherever samples are sparse. If viewing this element as an EXR, the green channel goes from 0 to 1 to represent the fraction of samples, while the red and blue channels may exceed 1 as they are equal to the green channel multiplied by 10 and 100, respectively. When you clamp the EXR at 1 you obtain an image with the colours described above.


PATH TRACING ON SURFACES (WORK IN PROGRESS)


"Path tracing on surfaces" is an option you can enable on the Advanced tab of the render node. Radio buttons are provided on the Advanced tab to switch between "Standard renderer" and "Path tracing on surfaces".

Please note that path tracing is still in development, and we don't recommend using this in production yet. Future builds may radically change the appearance of materials, sampling quality and so on. Subsurface effects in Water Shader and Glass Shader are not working yet. There may be other rendering features which don't work correctly when path tracing is enabled. You may find corner cases where the renderer becomes extremely slow - if you do, please send us TGDs so that we can optimise for these cases.

The joys of enabling "Path tracing on surfaces" include:



Path Tracing On Surfaces automatically uses "Defer atmo/cloud" and "Defer all shading" regardless of those checkbox settings, and the UI doesn't let you change those options when path tracing is enabled.

When "Path tracing on surfaces" is enabled, the normal GISD is not performed by the renderer. In GI Settings there is a new set of GISD options called "Exaggerate surface details" which applies to path traced renders only, and this is turned OFF by default.

Image quality is controlled using the overall anti-aliasing settings of the renderer. We recommend using the new "Robust adaptive sampling" mode whenever you render with path tracing. This can be found in the Pixel Sampler settings ("Edit Sampling..." on the renderer's Quality tab). The old adaptive sampler has trouble dealing with some of the Monte Carlo noise created by the path tracer, especially on darker surfaces. The new robust adaptive sampler was designed to work well with the path tracer (although it is useful in other cases too).


OTHER RENDERING STUFF


Adjustment to ray tracer to fix some failed intersections of nearby displaceable surfaces, particularly when there was no default background sphere in the scene. We're not sure whether this will have any adverse effects until more tests are done.

Fixed a bug with Surface Layer Intersect Underlying in "Displacement intersection" mode. The bug sometimes caused incorrect self-shadows, and also caused incorrect mixing of layers when seen in reflections and any other situation where the ray tracer hit the surface.

Corrected some flaws with DOF when the pixel sampler is adaptive, by reverting to a random sampling strategy in this case.

Fixed an incorrect surface normal in the RTP, which caused warp shaders to behave incorrectly when the warper displaced along the normal (among other things).


SHADER IMPROVEMENTS


The "unpremultiply" option in Image Map Shader (and hence Default Shader) does a safer unpremult that won't exceed 1 on brightest channel when images aren't properly premulted. They still won't look right but at least they won't cause asymptotes and fireflies. It won't allow unpremulting of HDR images but that seems like a rare use case.

Surface Layer has options on the "Effects" tab called "Better colour/shade continuity" and "Better displacement continuity". These cause the fuzzy zone calculations to use a higher quality exp() function instead of the fast approximation which was used before. The fast approximation is usually good enough for colour/shade distributions, but it can cause visible segmentation of the fuzzy zone when used to constrain displacements.

Added "Smoother fuzzy zones (better curve continuity)" checkbox to Distribution Shader V4, on the Tweaks tab. This is similar to "Better colour/shade continuity" in Surface Layer (see above).


OBJECTS AND FBX IMPORT


Better handling of objects that have a scale of 0 in one or more dimensions.

Null object node has rotation and scale parameters.

FBX Importer: Nulls imported from FBX files import rotation and scale.

FBX Importer: Automatically unrolls Euler flips on rotation parameters for Spotlights, Nulls and Markers (it was already doing this for Cameras).

FBX Importer: Converts rotation order from the order stored in the file to Terragen's native rotation order when importing Nulls and Markers. Spotlights may still be incorrect in some cases.


UI IMPROVEMENTS


Fixed a problem with the update timer in the Node Network when the view is being repositioned. With some projects the view would reposition very slowly after loading the project.

When loading a project from the command line or opening a project from the OS, errors and warnings during the load are directed to the Errors and Warnings window, the same as when loading from the File menu.

Heightfield Erode V3 updates the progress dialog more frequently, especially to help with UI issues during long erosion calculations.

The mesh subdivision feature of the Rock object updates the progress dialog more frequently, and can be aborted.

If the app is closed while the progress dialog is open, the app attempts to abort the operation safely before closing.

Windows only: The progress dialog is brought to the front of other Terragen windows whenever an operation updates the progress bar.

The render node's Advanced tab controls have been rearranged.


MISCELLANEOUS BORING STUFF


Changes to automatic updates of license key files and display of license info. In particular:

- Expiry dates for maintenance and subscription are synced with the server whenever Terragen checks for software updates (either manual check or automatic check). Terragen asks the planetside.co.uk server whether the maintenance date on the license has been extended. If the maintenance has been extended, a new key file is downloaded from the server.

- For subscription-based (non-perpetual) licenses: On startup, if the number of days remaining on a license <= 0, Terragen will attempt to download a new license key file from the server.

- The number of days remaining on maintenance or subscription is recalculated based on the current date whenever that information is displayed (in case the app was started on a previous day).

- Show License Info (and stdout) shows the number of render licenses included in the license key file. The formatting has been simplified and some info is omitted in cases where it's unimportant.

Various fixes, below, which are planned to be ported back to support updates for v4.1 and v4.2:

- Fixed a bug that led to an illegal instruction exception on the Mac and possibly memory leaks on other platforms.

- Fixed a crash when deleting animation on some nodes that have hidden internal nodes, such as Easy Cloud.

- The text colour for animated parameters is properly updated when a key is removed or the animation is deleted.

- The Add Lightsource button is now labeled "Add Light Source".

- Updated tooltips for the Add Cloud Layer button and Add Light Source button.

Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: jaf on November 07, 2018, 12:13:57 pm
My maintenance agreement is expired.  What are the implications of renewing now or in two weeks when 4.3 is released?
[edit] I'm retired now on a fixed income, so I can't always renew yearly -- just depends on expenses during the year.
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: Oshyan on November 07, 2018, 02:28:44 pm
When you renew, you get access to updates for 1 year from the time of renewal. If you want access to 4.3 features, you could renew now (you'll get immediate access to 4.3 Frontier builds), but frankly there's no reason for you not to wait a few weeks and do it then, unless you want access to 4.2 features in the meantime or 4.3 Frontier builds. The difference will just mean a couple weeks of access to potential new releases toward the end of your year of access (in late 2019), and it's impossible to predict now how that will affect your access to new versions. If it were me I'd just wait a couple weeks. :)

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: jaf on November 07, 2018, 04:39:20 pm
Thank you Oshyan
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: pokoy on November 08, 2018, 07:14:47 am
Can't wait for it, and also intrigued to see what's coming next. Good work, thank you!!
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: OldFlak on November 08, 2018, 06:07:15 pm
Hey all :)

Still waiting for subscription - I am starting to think this is never going to be implemented, but still hoping...

OldFlak....
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: Oshyan on November 08, 2018, 06:44:09 pm
Subscription is coming with 4.3. Check out the changelog details in the "misc. boring stuff" section... ;)

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: OldFlak on November 08, 2018, 09:56:57 pm
Thanks Oshyan,

Really excited now - will check it out pronto!

OldFlak....
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: OldFlak on November 08, 2018, 11:56:56 pm
@Oshyan

Wow, I am sure I looked at the product comparisons page not that long ago, and there was no listing for subs! There is now - cool.

The primary use of Terragen for me is for game engine skybox creation.

As has been discussed many times on these forums the issue Terragen has for this kind of rendering is tile seams as discussed in this thread (http://www.planetside.co.uk/forums/index.php?topic=20533.0).

Assuming this problem can be reliably overcome, which version is required to achieve consistent skybox tile rendering?

Thanks
OldFlak....
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: Oshyan on November 09, 2018, 05:48:32 pm
Yes, we just added that in preparation for rolling out subscription availability in the coming weeks.

For skybox creation (*not* using a spherical camera, but rendering square cube faces), you would just need GI caching ability, which is available in the Creative version. You would render out GI caches for all of your cube faces, then use "Equal blend within range" across all 6 cache files for *every* render. It will require some memory to load it all, but should eliminate seams.

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: Agura Nata on November 12, 2018, 04:01:00 am
Great news!
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: archonforest on November 12, 2018, 04:20:33 am
I have a TG4 creative pack but never paid for maintenance. If I want the 4.3 update all I have to do is to pay the 89 bucks?
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: Matt on November 12, 2018, 09:36:18 am
Yes, that's right. Creative Maintenance is currently on offer at the reduced price of $89. That will get you 4.3 and all updates for 1 year after you buy the maintenance.
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: OldFlak on November 13, 2018, 12:04:03 am
Quote from: Oshyan on November 09, 2018, 05:48:32 pm
Yes, we just added that in preparation for rolling out subscription availability in the coming weeks.
......
- Oshyan


So can I buy the sub now? :)

OldFlak....
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: Oshyan on November 13, 2018, 02:37:38 pm
Not yet, but very soon. ~2 weeks. If you are not yet on our mailing list, I suggest you subscribe, you will get notification of subscription availability. You can sign up with the email icon upper-left of our website, or the subscription form in the footer: https://planetside.co.uk/

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: OldFlak on November 14, 2018, 05:43:47 pm
@Oshyan
Quote from: Oshyan on November 09, 2018, 05:48:32 pm
For skybox creation (*not* using a spherical camera, but rendering square cube faces)..... You would render out GI caches for all of your cube faces, then use "Equal blend within range" across all 6 cache files for *every* render. It will require some memory to load it all, but should eliminate seams.


Sounds good :) Is there a tut anywhere for this?

OldFlak....
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: Oshyan on November 14, 2018, 06:23:31 pm
Not that I'm aware of. But if you're familiar with normal skybox rendering, then this is just a minor modification. You would follow the GI cache use instructions here to generate the GI caches:
http://planetside.co.uk/wiki/index.php?title=Terragen_4_Global_Illumination#Rendering_with_GI_cache_files

Remember, 1 cache for each of the cube faces (and these *all* need to be generated before final rendering of *any* cube face). They should be created with file names incorporating a number corresponding to the cube face, e.g. cubeface_0001.gic, cubeface_0002.gic, etc.

Then when you render, either use a GI cache loading name that incorporates an appropriate sequence wildcard (e.g. %04d), or if this doesn't make sense to you, I believe if you specify just the 1st file and set the rest correctly, it should auto-load. So the number of files to blend should be set to 6, equal to the number of cube faces (and the number of GI cache files, of course), and then use "Equal Blend Within Range".

Also don't forget to turn off motion blur when rendering cube faces, at least if you are animating the camera to achieve the 6 views (you can also do this manually).

As an alternative to all that you *could* try GI Prepass padding, however it's not guaranteed this will work as well as the cache-based method.

Honestly generating sphericals is much, much simpler. :D Maybe you can just convert a spherical image to a cube map with 3rd party software?

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: Suppybird on November 19, 2018, 06:17:22 am
Oh, nice ! Why OpenVDB export is just in LINUX ?????
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: pokoy on November 19, 2018, 06:31:10 am
Quote from: Suppybird on November 19, 2018, 06:17:22 am
Oh, nice ! Why OpenVDB export is just in LINUX ?????


Same here, I had expected this to be part of 4.3, the e-mail sent out recently states it's Linux only... I hope it's planned to support VDB with Win/Mac soon.
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: Suppybird on November 19, 2018, 06:36:01 am


Same here, I had expected this to be part of 4.3, the e-mail sent out recently states it's Linux only... I hope it's planned to support VDB with Win/Mac soon.
[/quote]

Yes, it's really hard to understand. In general, 70% Graphics users use PC - Window. Peronally I will never use MAC and Linux (anymore).
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: Suppybird on November 19, 2018, 06:36:21 am
Quote from: pokoy on November 19, 2018, 06:31:10 am
Quote from: Suppybird on November 19, 2018, 06:17:22 am
Oh, nice ! Why OpenVDB export is just in LINUX ?????


Same here, I had expected this to be part of 4.3, the e-mail sent out recently states it's Linux only... I hope it's planned to support VDB with Win/Mac soon.


Yes, it's really hard to understand. In general, 70% Graphics users use PC - Window. Peronally I will never use MAC and Linux (anymore).
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: Matt on November 19, 2018, 02:23:15 pm
We plan to get VDB working on Windows and Mac soon. The developers of OpenVDB do very little to help Windows developers, so it's quite difficult. I decided to get it working on Linux first. We didn't want to delay the release of a working feature on Linux, so there it is.
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: pokoy on November 20, 2018, 02:31:09 am
Thanks for the info, Matt. Fingers crossed it can be resolved without too much effort.
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: OldFlak on December 09, 2018, 08:28:23 am
Quote from: Oshyan on November 14, 2018, 06:23:31 pm

Then when you render, either use a GI cache loading name that incorporates an appropriate sequence wildcard (e.g. %04d), or if this doesn't make sense to you, I believe if you specify just the 1st file and set the rest correctly, it should auto-load. So the number of files to blend should be set to 6, equal to the number of cube faces (and the number of GI cache files, of course), and then use "Equal Blend Within Range".

- Oshyan


@Oshyan
Just wanted to let you know I have got this working just fine using the GI cache method.

Not been able to work out the sequence wild card business - lol - so have to save and load next tile manually, but all sides are matching up nicely!

Can finally ditch Bryce and render some real nice skyboxes!!!

OldFlak....
Title: Re: Terragen 4.3 Release Coming Soon
Post by: paq on December 09, 2018, 09:31:27 pm
Quote from: Suppybird on November 19, 2018, 06:36:01 am


Same here, I had expected this to be part of 4.3, the e-mail sent out recently states it's Linux only... I hope it's planned to support VDB with Win/Mac soon.


Quote
Yes, it's really hard to understand. In general, 70% Graphics users use PC - Window. Peronally I will never use MAC and Linux (anymore).


Hello,

I couldn't wait ... so I had to install Linux to try the exporter ... I was really pleased how fast and easy it takes to install Mint ... then of course I had to add the others software's I'm used too, like Clarisse and Houdini ... and again.
everything runs great, I have the feeling Clarisse is even more stable, as I didn't had a single crash since. I discovered that other of my softwares were also ported to Linux, like black magic fusion.

Honestly I don't really care about windows, mac, linux ... all I need it's a bunch of icons on my desk to run softwares, and a good file explorer. But lately I started to really be annoyed by windows 10 candycrush edition, and the lack of control I have on my computer about upgrades. I discovered than I couldn't even edit some options now, probably because I tried to disable all those telemetry stuffs.

Anyway, I know it's too much work for Planetside, but I still wish for a full linux Terragen flavour with a GUI now. Out of the box (and with my limited knowledge), the wine emulation don't work very well , I have extremely slow perfs in the software navigation and even the rendering. The native command line version works fine of course.

++