Bryce mini-recipe thread - "Here's what I do to get XXX effect..."

mindsongmindsong Posts: 1,616
edited December 2016 in Bryce Discussion

Hi all,

I've noticed that the various terrains, skies, and water material presets being viewed with a particular camera FOV and distance will vary widely in their 'correctness' or believability, depending on the material presets being applied.

Obviously, different materials will look... different, but the variation in 'correct lookingness' from the same POV is surprising to me, and I wonder if others have clever tricks/hints they employ to quickly assess and adjust to the effects they don't like. E.g. I don't care for tiling patterns, moire effects, and super-stretched textures, so I do XXX to fix it.

After a while, we all seem to figure out how to adjust the size/distance/frequency of the material and terrain to get things 'right' to our eye, but it feels very ad-hoc to me, and I'm wondering if I'm missing some obvious convention or workflow sequence that 'gets you there' faster.

Question to start with: are most terrain (water or cloud) materials designed with a suggested/expected starting camera distance, terrain size, or material frequency? e.g. Do folks develop/save these materials with the default bryce scene in mind, then leave it up to the user to adjust the scene from there?

Or, do folks that know what they're doing... start with something like dropping a terrain in, move it to 3000BU from the 60degree camera, resize to to 8000BU square, add an earthen-type material, up the frequency to 600% and off they go?

Same with clouds - is there a standard sphere-size (100BU or 10000BU) and material-frequency pairing that folks use to get a good-looking puffy cloud scene with a particular material as a rough starting point?

Water favorites and parameters to start with?

I believe I'm suffering from Bryce parameter-itus, where it's letting me flail around with so many choices that I'm not able to converge on a trend nearly as quickly as I feel I ought to. I can make a decent scene, but it always feels like a brand new adventure, rather than the learning convergence that I'm used to in my other disciplines/activities.

With all of the videos and tuts about, I see trends forming from the collective, but perhaps there's a community wisdom available that we could record here in the form of mini recipes.

The take-away might be to use this thread to share your favorite recipe snippits for a particular scene element you've pulled-off with a standard or clever approach!

For example, to get a decent ocean/island scene I ...

 - blank bryce scene

 - move my camera to xxx with FOV of yyy for a helicopter view (or to zzz for a eye-level)

 - to get my ocean started right, I add the XXX material to a plane and change the frequency to YYY, and will fine-tune it when the final composition is near-complete

 And that would be it - short, sweet, starting points. Tricks like adding mirror to plasma to get smoke, or some-such would be a treasure as well.

Perhaps enough of these mini-recipes will show both the diversity of approaches and/or commonality of the 'things-that-work' that everyone (else?) has figured out.

I like how David Brinnen sets up his default bryce scenes to face the camera north, etc. Stuff like that. How do you set your memory dots in the camera/lighting? Do you create a small goto-menu of materials that you always use? Which ones do you put in it?

cheers,

--ms

 

Post edited by mindsong on

Comments

  • mindsongmindsong Posts: 1,616

    Saved for sample recipe TBD

    --ms

  • David BrinnenDavid Brinnen Posts: 3,134
    edited December 2016

    Added my opening gambit for camera settings and about the sort of size (in comparinson to the camera (see at the bottom of the second image)) I make my terrains - edit about five to six zooms back from the default in the overhead view or between 2500 and 4000 Bryce units along each side.

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  • ChoholeChohole Posts: 33,604

    This is going to be useful, so am going to add a link to the Useful Threads Sticky

  • mindsongmindsong Posts: 1,616
    edited December 2016

    Added my opening gambit for camera settings and about the sort of size (in comparinson to the camera (see at the bottom of the second image)) I make my terrains - edit about five to six zooms back from the default in the overhead view or between 2500 and 4000 Bryce units along each side.

    Thank you David! Exactly what I was looking for (and others who follow!). 

    Right now, I am actually looking at a Bryce screen with one of your Pro-Material terrain Material presets (Rolling Hills) assuming the Pro-Materials are as close to a standard as we'll get - and it's on the default terrain as I iterate through the terrain sizes, looking for the right 'feel' for that camera distance - your comment couldn't be more timely!

    To your experience, do most terrain material presets have a similar camera-distance to terrain size range? Or does it vary as much as we silly people do?

    cheers,

    --ms

     

    Post edited by mindsong on
  • Dave SavageDave Savage Posts: 2,418

    Hi Mindsong.

    David & Horo's High Res terrain sets materials (for sale in the Daz store), helpfully include in their descriptions, an optimal size terrain for them to be applied to.

    It may be helpful for you to do something similar in your material library, when you get a good match to add your own note in the description section so that you have the information you need for your own future reference. smiley

  • mindsongmindsong Posts: 1,616
    edited December 2016

    Simple as it is, one of my biggest break-throughs when using presets that didn't look right from my camera-distance/angle was the Material Lab's 'frequency' adjustment.

    This was a Bryce show-changer for me! The presets kept *not working together* as I'd wanted them in my mind's eye, and this got me back on track!

    Scenario - I open a scene, make a terrain, bury it half under the default infinite plane, apply a water material to the plane, and apply some vegitation to the terrain - wala! island scene - just like the pros!

    Except it wasn't... The water material (Clear Swirl) I'd picked with the default scene looked something like:

    Interesting, but not right...

    Using the frequency setting found in the Material Lab:

    I upped the X to 200% (from 1.5%!) and now, without having to move the camera back, and resize the island to get the right mix of island textures and water textures,

     I had a wind-blown water surface! Too cool.

    This also works when you're standing on a landscape close-up and it looks like huge chunks of plastic have been carved out of the terrain. Crank up the frequency (play with the A/B/C/D channels - one or all) to get that local surface back into the look you saw from far away...

    --ms

     

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  • mermaid010mermaid010 Posts: 3,580

    This is going to be a very useful thread thanks Mindsong for starting it.yes

     

  • mindsongmindsong Posts: 1,616
    edited December 2016

    Hi Mindsong.

    David & Horo's High Res terrain sets materials (for sale in the Daz store), helpfully include in their descriptions, an optimal size terrain for them to be applied to.

    It may be helpful for you to do something similar in your material library, when you get a good match to add your own note in the description section so that you have the information you need for your own future reference. smiley

    Thanks Dave - I love your work.

    Yes!, I have been adding those sorts of notes on my own presets, but will start doing that with the others that I use. Somehow I treat original products as 'sacred', but that's kind of silly, especially when the change doesn't effect the actual product/preset...

    Tidbits to 'note' include (for me) the camera FOV, distance, size, light type (ibl/hdri or simple sun, etc.), as well as other presets that something may work well with. e.g. In a note on a terrain, I may add that a particular material works well with certain tweaks or lighting. Even if not comprehensive, such notes will trigger my noggin to recall something I'd done before and maybe get me back on that tweak-path again.

    My usual method is to save the result I like as a new preset in my 'user' area (usually in a project subfolder) with such notes, but having the reminder in the original preset is good when browsing for an effect later.

    I also use the 'save as...' often to save numbered project progressions, but there aren't any notes in those. I *do* wish I could save such notes in a scene file.

    I love the adage "long memory good, short pencil better..." especially since I can't seem to remember much anything these days!

    cheers,

    --ms

    Post edited by mindsong on
  • ArtiniArtini Posts: 6,570
    edited January 2017

    This is very useful for any kind of materials, I think. I have changed the X frequency to 25% and got much nicer pyramid look

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    than when using the default X 0%

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  • mindsongmindsong Posts: 1,616
    edited January 2017

    great - you can also *really* stretch the effects by going to values I would have previously thought were extreme, like 250% or 2500%, but in bryce, all values may prove valuable, even if it may not have been what you thought you wanted! You can also go negative, or really close to zero (e.g. 0.001), and/or only change a single axis, rather than all three (my usual is all three).

    Lastly, if you like the general texture, you can sometimes improve your use of it in your scene by using the rotate and translate options. I use those one at a time (x or y or z) to move clouds around in a sphere (fine tuning), or to adjust textures on a terrain that might look better if shifted a bit in some direction.

    nice to see other folks playing with these settings!

    --ms

    Post edited by mindsong on
  • mindsongmindsong Posts: 1,616
    edited January 2017

    Ok - another simple one close to my learning heart - quick and dirty haze tweaking in certain kinds of scenes.

    After a while, seasoned Bryce users can identify a classic Bryce sky without a second thought, just by looking at that horizon line:

    One trick I use to tone down that 'hot' horizon, is to set the haze color to something close to the prevailing sky color - selected from near that specific horizon. This preserves some of the natural distance/separation that should occur at the horizon, but lets you control the look pretty easily. This can be done in the sky lab (clouds and fog=>haze color swatch), or, more easily from the main page with the 'Sky & Fog' settings:

     

    So - In this case, I take a simple scene, change the sky to the basic, but pretty useful  "Lazy Afternoon" sky that comes with Bryce (in the 'Sky=>Daytime" sky settings libraries), and it's still got a pretty hot horizon line:

     

    If haze isn't super critical to other depth effects in the scene, try this trick to tone down that line: Click on the haze color swatch, and drag the color dropper to somewhere in the sky color that's a bit darker than the hot horizon line:

    and re-render:

    undo/redo until you find a color you like!

    You can also use the Sky Lab => Atmosphere => Haze => Density slider (0.2-ish) and maybe adjust the color swatch there (maybe change the color to yellow-ish/brownish for a slightly voggy sky). Sometimes turning off the 'Color Perspective'  setting or tweaking those colors (less blue, more red?) can help in the experiments too.

    But the bottom line for me, is a quick.easy tweak to tone down that haze strip is to simply color it like the sky in that scene.

    If you are really using the haze to generate depth between scene elements (hills/mountains/buildings), this technique may fail miserably, but for a simple scene where the focus is in the foreground, and the sky is needing some 'softening', this might help!

    Any other thoughts/tricks are encouraged here, as I'm probably doing as many things 'wrongly' as I am 'rightly'! Sure is fun, either way!

    cheers,

    --ms

     

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