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Support => Terragen Support => Topic started by: N-drju on May 04, 2020, 12:24:19 pm

Title: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: N-drju on May 04, 2020, 12:24:19 pm
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.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: WAS on May 04, 2020, 02:40:32 pm
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.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: N-drju on May 04, 2020, 02:54:53 pm
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.)
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: Tangled-Universe on May 04, 2020, 05:56:23 pm
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...
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: Dune on May 05, 2020, 01:24:50 am
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.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: cyphyr on May 05, 2020, 04:37:17 am
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).
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: Tangled-Universe on May 05, 2020, 03:28:43 pm
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.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: WAS on May 06, 2020, 03:14:29 am
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.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: cyphyr on May 06, 2020, 04:25:57 am
I definitely agree loosing the "Sit on Terrain" anchor is a royal PIA !
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: N-drju on May 06, 2020, 05:09:32 am
Quote from: cyphyr on May 06, 2020, 04:25:57 amI definitely agree loosing the "Sit on Terrain" anchor is a royal PIA !

Same here.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: Dune on May 06, 2020, 07:45:32 am
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?
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: cyphyr on May 06, 2020, 08:00:27 am
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.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: Dune on May 07, 2020, 01:36:36 am
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.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: N-drju on May 07, 2020, 03:12:28 am
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.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: WAS on May 07, 2020, 03:36:45 am
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
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: Dune on May 07, 2020, 04:06:37 am
I probably misunderstood what you guys are referring too, as I work in undulating terrains too and never have problems with anchors and whatnot.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: WAS on May 07, 2020, 04:28:47 am
Quote from: Dune on May 07, 2020, 04:06:37 amI probably misunderstood what you guys are referring too, as I work in undulating terrains too and never have problems with anchors and whatnot.
It was just easier changing it out as a plug rather than a strong/drop-down, and in most my cases at least it requires a new compute, or shader set, other than compute terrain. Sometimes my patch size of my terrain is more or less in line with proceeding shaders but I often gotta change it.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: N-drju on May 07, 2020, 12:03:35 pm
The amount of replies to this topic clearly shows that populator needs some kind of a revamp.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: sboerner on May 07, 2020, 12:37:26 pm
I'd be happy if you could just reference more than one source object, and set the relative weight of each.

No complaints here about the anchor field, as I usually reset that anyway. The only time it's an issue is when I duplicate a population and want it to be anchored to the same node, and have to reset it. But that's pretty minor.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: Dune on May 08, 2020, 02:17:03 am
Yes, copy/paste is pretty easy. I'm glad the lines are gone anyway. The only thing that bothers me sometimes is that a pop looks the same as an object. Sometimes, when I add a pop it ends up somewhere between a big number of objects. So maybe it can have a different color, or some other sign (big P in the rectangle).
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: N-drju on May 08, 2020, 03:11:58 am
Quote from: Dune on May 08, 2020, 02:17:03 amThe only thing that bothers me sometimes is that a pop looks the same as an object. Sometimes, when I add a pop it ends up somewhere between a big number of objects. So maybe it can have a different color, or some other sign (big P in the rectangle).

That's practically unavoidable at 10+ populations. The way I do it, is by attaching a colour to "key populations" and keep "filler tiles" white. As Richard put it, densities need to be planned ahead. Something, I guess, I still have to learn.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: Dune on May 08, 2020, 04:54:56 am
I get the impression we have a misunderstanding. I was talking about the nodes themselves, not the pop rectangles in the preview.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: N-drju on May 08, 2020, 05:46:01 am
Quote from: Dune on May 08, 2020, 04:54:56 amI get the impression we have a misunderstanding. I was talking about the nodes themselves, not the pop rectangles in the preview.

Ah, this thing. Ok. ;)
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: Tangled-Universe on May 08, 2020, 08:04:18 am
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.

I didn't say we need to get rid of it, I meant to say I want to be able to copy/paste populations from one project to the other and have them work/render right away without having the need to go through all of them again defining anchors.
I think that's also what was referred to being a PIA.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: Nala1977 on May 08, 2020, 08:23:13 am
i would love a node that would group objects and then scatter a random number of the objects in that group in one go.

lets say you have a patch of grass, a dandelion, and a bush, instead of creating 3 different population nodes, you group them with a GroupPop node (example) and then scatter that group, in the GroupPop node you would set to randomly pick between the object inside it and scatter them.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: N-drju on May 08, 2020, 08:56:57 am
Quote from: Nala1977 on May 08, 2020, 08:23:13 ami would love a node that would group objects and then scatter a random number of the objects in that group in one go.

That's exactly the "item of first necessity" that we would like to see in TG.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: Dune on May 08, 2020, 09:08:02 am
Yes, I figured that too finally, Martin. Hence my note about misunderstanding.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: WAS on May 13, 2020, 01:21:14 am
Quote from: Tangled-Universe on May 08, 2020, 08:04:18 am
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.

I didn't say we need to get rid of it, I meant to say I want to be able to copy/paste populations from one project to the other and have them work/render right away without having the need to go through all of them again defining anchors.
I think that's also what was referred to being a PIA.

Seems like there could be a simple check for that when pasting/inserting clips. Though honestly, you'd think it'd be part of the clip "Planet 01" and "Compute Terrain" and be pretty cross compatible with projects and work already, so I wonder what's up. In XPath logic it should work wherever.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: N-drju on May 13, 2020, 03:45:29 am
I just thought it could also be nice to have an outline populator. For instance, if you would like to create an irregularly shaped flower bed surrounded by a palisade. This cannot be done with the regular X, Y, Z placement. That would perhaps require a path-defining tool or a curve tool.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: WAS on May 13, 2020, 04:23:39 am
Quote from: N-drju on May 13, 2020, 03:45:29 amI just thought it could also be nice to have an outline populator. For instance, if you would like to create an irregularly shaped flower bed surrounded by a palisade. This cannot be done with the regular X, Y, Z placement. That would perhaps require a path-defining tool or a curve tool.
Like the paint shader? Use orthographic view and pause preview in HD to paint.
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: N-drju on May 20, 2020, 12:15:55 pm
Coming back to the populator thing, I just thought it would be great to have a "scale modulator" parameter in there. This way, one could use a power fractal or a function instead of sliders to set an object's size. Even a simple shader would yield a pleasing effect this way!

Quote from: WAS on May 13, 2020, 04:23:39 amLike the paint shader? Use orthographic view and pause preview in HD to paint.

Not exactly what I meant Jordan. I mean a situation in which a tight outline can be made and objects follow the outline, instead of being clumped up together by XY values. Not sure if I make myself clear?
Title: Re: Feature request - population macro manage / "easy population"
Post by: sjefen on May 21, 2020, 06:27:26 pm
I said in another thread somewhere that it would be nice if one could select multiple objects in the population.

Say 3 different objects for example and have these type of settings that could be changed to whatever you need:
Object 1 = 70% coverage
Object 2 = 30% coverage
Object 3 =  5% coverage

Would also be nice with a "clumping" option to have control of how much they should clump together.