Terragen 4.4.40.frontier

Started by Matt, October 23, 2019, 10:44:46 PM

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Hi everyone,

The latest frontier build is 4.4.40. It's available on Windows, Mac and Linux (render node).

If you have a license of Terragen 4 Professional or Creative and your maintenance or subscription is current, use the Check for Updates feature in the application to get links to the latest 4.4 build.

Here's the change log:

Build 4.4.40 (Frontier Build) <-- Windows, Mac, Linux

Changed how bump mapping affects the shading position. Bump mapping doesn't affect shading position anymore because this was causing incorrect rendering of transparency. However, this also means we can't use the positive bump trick to avoid sharp terminators on low-poly geometry. We'll need another solution for this in future builds.

Glass Shader and Water Shader have a checkbox called "Evaluate colour function volumetrically (without UVs)". When checked, the shader is evaluated in 3D world space at each scatter point. The default is unchecked, which evaluates the texture at the surface and allows UV-mapped textures to be use.

Build 4.4.39 (Frontier Build)


Changed the default render settings:
- "Robust adaptive sampler" is enabled by default.
- "Anti-aliasing" default is 3.
- "Defer all shading" is enabled by default.

Path tracing is now ready for use in production.

The robust adaptive sampler is now ready for use in production.

The "Robust adaptive sampler" checkbox in the Render Pixel Sampler has been replaced by two radio buttons: "Legacy adaptive sampler" and "Robust adaptive sampler".

Fixed a bug with the ray bias in reflection/refraction rays in the RTP.

Fixed a bug with the ray bias in shadow rays originating far from the camera. The fix makes distant vegetation render more correctly.

Worked around a bug which can cause large amounts of noise in the atmosphere GI cache if reflective shaders are visible to the camera in the GI prepass. To work around this bug, the reflective shaders do nothing when hit by camera rays in the GI prepass.


Before writing an image file, Terragen prints to stdout "Attempting to write image: " followed by the filename. ImageWriterTIFF no longer prints anything when it succeeds, only when it fails. This is consistent with the behaviour of ImageWriterEXR.

Path Tracing

The path tracer is ready for use in production. Removed "work in progress, not for production" from the label for the path tracing on surfaces option.

Transparency (glossy/specular transmission) can be rendered with the path tracer.

Improved the performance of the path tracer. It should render with less noise in some places. Improved the adaptivity of the path tracer when using the Robust Adaptive Sampler.

You can control the path tracer quality with "Max paths" on the Advanced tab of the render node.

Faster path tracing with soft shadows: When path tracing, the sampling of direct lights uses fewer samples in bounced light. The number of soft shadow samples has much less impact on render times.

Subsurface Scattering in Path Tracer

Water Shader and Glass Shader "volume density" and "volume colour" can be used with the path tracer. This can be used to render objects with subsurface scattering. You can choose from 3 different methods to calculate subsurface scattering.


When rendering with the path tracer, direct light sources reflecting off or refracting through shiny objects can cause caustics. They are only roughly approximated to reduce the amount of noise they produce.

These caustics may also show up in renders that don't use path tracing, but at a lower quality.

Water Shader, Glass Shader and Reflective Shader have a new parameter called "Caustic intensity" which defaults to 1. When a ray bounces off (or passes through) other rough surfaces before hitting this shader, "Caustic intensity" controls the brightness of the specular highlights of direct light sources. This is what causes this shader to cast direct light caustics (reflective and refractive), but it is often a major source of unwanted noise in path traced renders (or flickering in other renders) so it may be useful to control its intensity.

Caustic refractions and reflections are not cast by objects that have "Cast shadows" disabled. This is to obey conservation of energy and to avoid making path-traced underwater surfaces too bright under the Lake object which has shadows disabled by default.

Water and Glass

When simulating solid panes of glass with two parallel faces with opposite normals, previously there was a bug with direction of the rays emerging from the far side. This has now been fixed.

Glass Shader's "Double-sided surface" parameter is labeled "Double-sided / Thin-walled". This is to indicate that it's similar to the "Thin Walled" option found in other renderers.

Moved the Water Shader's "seed" parameter to the Waves tab and removed the Seed tab.

Build 4.4.18 (Frontier Build)

Fixed a bug in the path tracer that sometimes made it impossible to finish or stop renders and previews.

Build 4.4.17 (Frontier Build)

Improved the performance and reduced the memory use of the 2D and 3D previews.

When an OBJ file is read into a project for the first time, it creates material nodes for any material references in the OBJ (or groups/objects if there are no material references) as well as materials defined in the MTL file (if any). It does this regardless of whether a MTL file is found.

Build 4.4.16 (Frontier Build)

There is a new checkbox at the top right of the main window called "Dynamic Layouts". This controls what happens when you click on the Layout Buttons to the left of it. When it is checked, the user interface behaves as it did before. If you uncheck this box, Terragen won't automatically open or close the 3D Preview or Node Network (except when you click on the Node Network layout button) and it won't automatically change the shading, atmosphere and lighting settings on the 3D Preview.

The Preferences item "Centre on nodes selected in node lists" is respected when switching between layouts. Previously it was respected only when manually clicking on nodes in node lists, and a change of layout caused centering to occur regardless of this preference.

New variables can be used in rendered output filenames. The complete list is now as follows:

    ${BUILDNUMBER} // e.g.
    ${CAMERA} // the name of the camera at the moment the frame started rendering
    ${IMAGETYPE} or IMAGETYPE // e.g. tgSurfDirect, tgCloudRgb etc. If used for the main output it will insert tgBeauty
    ${LAYER} or ${RENDERLAYER} // the name of the render layer at the moment the frame started rendering, if one was connected
    ${RENDER} or ${RENDERER} or ${RENDERNODE} // the name of the render node at the moment the frame started rendering
    ${RENDERSECONDS} // render time in seconds, e.g. 134
    ${RENDERTIME} // render time formatted with hours, minutes and seconds (e.g. 1h07m24s), or without the hours if shorter than 1 hour, e.g. 02m14s
    ${TGDNAME} // the name of the last saved or loaded TGD file at the moment the frame started rendering (or "Untitled"), without the path and without the extension

More RTP improvements and bug fixes:

    Fixed some bugs related to path tracing in RTP.
    Corrected the normals of instanced (populated) objects in RTP mode.
    Translucency of direct lights is rendered in RTP mode if shading is enabled.
    Fixed a bug in the interaction with license servers.

Build 4.4.11 (Frontier Build)

Changes to RTP:

 - The 3D Preview allows objects, lights and cameras to be manipulated when in RTP mode. Camera wireframes are drawn and handles are shown for objects and lights. When hovering over a handle, the object is drawn in the same way it is in non-RTP mode, according to the Object Display Mode (bounding box, wireframe, smooth shaded or textured).

 - Specular highlights (from direct lights) are rendered in RTP mode if shading is enabled.

 - Path Tracing can be enabled or disabled in RTP mode by clicking on the gold cup icon or by using the right-click menu (context menu) in the 3D Preview while in RTP mode.

 - RTP iteration limit is now 36 (it was 20 before).

Build 4.4.09 (Frontier Build)

Rendered output filenames can include the following variables (Feature #611). The curly braces are optional but recommended for consistency with future syntax that may rely upon them:

    ${BUILDNUMBER} // e.g.
    ${IMAGETYPE} // same as IMAGETYPE, e.g. tgSurfDirect, tgCloudRgb etc. If used for the main output it will insert tgBeauty
    ${RENDERSECONDS} // render time in seconds, e.g. 134
    ${RENDERTIME} // render time formatted with hours, minutes and seconds (e.g. 1h07m24s), or without the hours if shorter than 1 hour, e.g. 02m14s
    ${TGDNAME} // the name of the last saved or loaded TGD file, without the path and without the extension

The default output filename and extra output filename are "${TGDNAME}.%04d.tif" and "${TGDNAME}.${IMAGETYPE}.%04d.tif" respectively.

Output folders are verified and automatically created if necessary at the start of a render that outputs files. The render aborts if output folders don't exist after attempting to create them. (Feature #742)

Temporary/automatic render output files (the ones named "tgout") have a new filename format that includes the render time and the version of Terragen.

When tgSurfIndirectDiff is enabled in a render layer, two new elements tgSurfIndirectDiffRefl and trSurfIndirectDiffTrans are automatically output as well. When tgSurfIndirectSpec is enabled, two new elements tgSurfIndirectSpecRefl and tgSurfIndirectSpecTrans are automatically output as well. Please note that these images are not being properly generated in this build; they are always black.

Path Tracing Improvements:

  - Faster Path Tracing when combined with the Robust Adaptive Sampling. When rendering with the robust adaptive sampler, that path tracer optimises the samples of some elements of the lighting equation according to the noise levels detected in those elements, and also considers atmosphere, cloud, surface emission, surface direct to further optimise the samples.

  - Path tracer's max ray depth is now 5. (Developer controls allow this to be set as high as 13.)

  - Path tracer clamps albedo to 1 on all bounces except the first. This is necessary to be physically correct and to avoid extremely bright samples after multiple bounces.

  - Various other optimisations and quality tweaks.

Faster, Higher Quality Cloud GI:

  - Cloud GI calculation is now much faster in scenes with high micropoly detail and/or high ray detail multiplier. This change comes at the expense of slightly reduced correctness which is unlikely to be noticeable in renders.

  - Slightly increased the spatial resolution of cloud GI (relative to the number of voxels), taking advantage of the faster calculation in this version.

Faster, Higher Quality Robust Adaptive Sampling:

  - Two changes were made to the the Robust Adaptive Sampler (BETA) to produce better looking images in a shorter render time. We fixed an important bug in the way it handled colours, and implemented a new method of evaluating contrast. Both of these changes provide a better ratio of image quality to render time. The noise threshold might need calibrating in future builds, so we are still calling this feature Beta.

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

Bump maps and displacement maps are read from OBJ MTL files and are applied to the displacement channel.

Populator V4 "terrain shader" and "object to sit on" inputs are hidden from the network view so that they don't draw connections. The change was made because terrain shader connections from every populator were causing a lot of ugliness in projects.

Steppers are provided in the GUI alongside many edit boxes.

Mac only: Some changes have been made to work better in the OS's dark mode, but this is still a work-in-progress. If you switch the OS between light mode and dark mode you should restart Terragen to allow it to adjust to the new mode. This change was also included in 4.3.23.

Constant Colour node has individual parameters to control red, green and blue values.
Just because milk is white doesn't mean that clouds are made of milk.