Parting Sea Tutorial

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Mohawk is writing his tutorial for his Parting Sea scene here, or at least he says he is... :p

Creating a scene like the Parting Sea is not very hard to do, it just take time, and lots of it. What you need is a lake, and a painted shader. Set the water's height to the desired level, and start painting.

Remember to use enough brush falloff to have a gradient on the edges. That way you won't have hard edges later on.

What I did in my scene was paint straight along the x axis, so I could follow the line of the bounding box. It also helped when I added both height fields for the shores.

Once you have painted the line, create a displacement shader. Plug your painted shader into the displacement shader and plug that into the lake's plane object. Now open the settings of the displacement shader and set a negative value. If all went according to plan, the line you made should now have become a gully.

Adjust the displacement value until the bottom of the gully is just below the planets surface. You should have a slope from the ground to the vertical edge of the water, unless the water plane is very high and the displacement very strong.

Increase the wave size and roughness of the water to get less smooth walls.

To increase render times, add a surface layer with a green colour and a strongly warped fractal breakup shader to create a seaweed impression (also plug the fractal breakup shader into the surface layer's displacement input to add depth). Add another surface layer with a reflective shader as a child, so the seabed looks wet and muddy.

Place the camera at the right spot, et voilla, your very own parted sea.

A shader is a program or set of instructions used in 3D computer graphics to determine the final surface properties of an object or image. This can include arbitrarily complex descriptions of light absorption and diffusion, texture mapping, reflection and refraction, shadowing, surface displacement and post-processing effects. In Terragen 2 shaders are used to construct and modify almost every element of a scene.

The bounding box is a box which surrounds (or bounds) an object or shader. This box shows the maximum extents of the item inside it. Sometimes abbreviated as "b-box".

Literally, to change the position of something. In graphics terminology to displace a surface is to modify its geometric (3D) structure using reference data of some kind. For example, a grayscale image might be taken as input, with black areas indicating no displacement of the surface, and white indicating maximum displacement. In Terragen 2 displacement is used to create all terrain by taking heightfield or procedural data as input and using it to displace the normally flat sphere of the planet.