Welcome to the Planetside Software Wiki
This is the primary documentation repository for Planetside Software's Terragen environment modeling and rendering product. This documentation refers primarily to the latest version of Terragen (currently Terragen 4). Whenever the general term "Terragen" is used, it is referring to this most recent version, unless otherwise specified, e.g. "Terragen Classic".
This wiki contains official information as well as community-written content. Official documentation is clearly delineated from user contributed information by section below. We hope you find this to be a valuable resource and we encourage you to contact us if you'd like to contribute in the community-generated areas.
If you are a licensed user of Terragen and you need direct support, you can contact us via our contact page.
Video Tutorials and Other Learning Resources
While the many documentation areas below are the most comprehensive source of specific information about Terragen, many people find it easier to learn through video tutorials. You can find links to several high quality, free Terragen tutorial channels on the Terragen Tutorials page of our website. We particularly recommend the TerraTuts tutorials for quickly learning Terragen basics.
Additionally you can find some helpful techniques and in-depth discussions of specific technical issues on the Tips and Tricks page. Check back regularly for new articles.
Fundamental Terragen Concepts
Articles in this section cover concepts fundamental to understanding and using Terragen.
What is Terragen?
An explanation of Terragen's design and purpose.
Some conventions of Terragen and how it differs from other 3D graphics programs.
Nodes are the fundamental building blocks of a Terragen scene. Learn more about how they work and are represented in the UI.
Shaders provide color and texture for the terrain in a scene.
Heightfield and Procedural Terrain
Terragen allows the use of both heightfield and procedural terrain. Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Tutorial 1: Creating Your First Scene
A step-by-step tutorial on how to create a basic Terragen 4 scene.
Tutorial 2: Adding a Lake
A guide to adding a lake to a Terragen scene.
Terragen's user interface is tailored to creating and rendering procedural landscapes and skies. This section will give you an overview of the Terragen user interface.
Terragen Menu Reference
This article describes the top menus in Terragen.
Main Window User Interface Elements
This article provides an overview of the main elements of the Terragen UI. You may refer to the following sections for details on specific elements of the UI:
This article describes the render window.
This reference describes the different windows used in Terragen 4.
Network View Guide
This is a guide to using the Node Network (Network View) in Terragen 4.
The Default Scene Explained
When you open Terragen the first thing you see is a "default" scene, with basic terrain, planet, and atmosphere. This page explains how the default scene is set up.
Organizing Your Terragen Project
An introduction to Groups, Clip Files and Notes, and other tips for sharing things between projects and keeping them organized.
Terrain and Water
Detailed information on creating and controlling terrain and water features.
Surface Mapping and Shading
Detailed information on applying surface maps, i.e. texturing, in Terragen 4. This section is oriented toward surface maps as applied to terrain, but much of the information also applies to object texturing.
This is a guide to using the Library and Library window in TG4.
Working with Objects
This is a guide to working with objects in TG4. It covers topics such as importing objects, creating objects, manipulating them in the 3D Preview and much more.
This is a guide to using Populator nodes. Populator nodes help you to quickly and efficiently add many objects, such as trees, to a scene.
Painted Shader Guide
This guide explains how to use and get the most out of the Painted Shader.
Working with Clip Files
This page introduces Clip files, how to create them and how to use them. Clip files let you save nodes or collections of nodes so you can use them again or send them to others.
This is a guide to using the Animation functions in Terragen. It has information and tutorials about creating animations using TG4.
Clouds Following Terrain Tutorial
Get an in-depth understanding of some powerful cloud control functions in Terragen with this tutorial by Martin Huisman
Terragen Node Reference
Describes all the Terragen 4 nodes.
The Glossary explains terms relevant to Terragen.
Input Settings Reference
Lists all the input settings, such as mouse clicks and hot keys, that can be used in various views.
Describes the menus in the Terragen 4 menu bar.
Describes the different windows used in Terragen 4.
Gives an overview of the Animation Module as well as a reference for animation related windows and views.
This reference describes Terragen 4's import and export capabilities.
Describes the project gathering process, which allows you to gather a project and related assets into a single folder.
Discusses the two rendering methods that Terragen uses: micropolygon rasterization and raytracing.
Beginning with Terragen 4.3, path tracing can be used to render more realistic images.
Ray Trace Objects and Defer Atmosphere/Cloud
How and when to use the rendering options "Ray trace objects", "Defer atmo/cloud" and "Ray trace everything".
Explains what Global Illumination is and how to use it in Terragen 4.
Explains the Render Layers system in Terragen 4 Professional, including Render Elements.
Describes Terragen 4's preferences, which let you customise how the application behaves.
How to run Terragen from the command line on Windows, Mac and Linux, and descriptions of all the command line options.
Find Terragen-compatible software, 3D models, content, and other resources.
Terragen Community-Generated Content
Terragen Tips and Tricks
Some quick tips and tricks for using Terragen, generated and maintained by our user community.
A list of tutorials, from beginning to advanced, to take you through how to do certain things with Terragen.
A heightmap or heightfield is an array of height values, usually in a grid which describe the height at specific points in a defined area. Heightfields are used to represent real-world and virtual terrain in a specific, easily converted format. Most heightfields can be represented as simple image data in grayscale, with black being minimum height and white being maximum height.