Building Carrara Terrains Intro

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  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,018
    edited December 1969

    welchrs64 said:
    Does anyone know if Carrara can export the terrain as a height map? I want to use the Carrara terrain in Unreal engine 4.

    Thanks

    Yes. The heightmap can be exported to standard image formats. I seem to recall that it will export at the render resolution, so keep that in mind so that you don't exceed the game engine's limits.

    The option to export the terrain is in the terrain editor on the left side.

  • Eric WinemillerEric Winemiller Posts: 84
    edited December 1969

    diomede64 said:

    After a little web surfing, I found that DCG has a plugin to bring real world terrain DEM elevation maps into Carrara. It is called ground control. Has anyone confirmed that it works in 8.5?

    diomede64,

    I didn't see anyone answer in the the thread. Ground Control works fine in Carrara 8.5.

    Regards,

  • VengedVenged Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    welchrs64 said:
    Does anyone know if Carrara can export the terrain as a height map? I want to use the Carrara terrain in Unreal engine 4.

    Thanks

    Yes. The heightmap can be exported to standard image formats. I seem to recall that it will export at the render resolution, so keep that in mind so that you don't exceed the game engine's limits.

    The option to export the terrain is in the terrain editor on the left side.

    Thanks!

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,814
    edited December 1969

    The really cool thing is that you can always export that map. So you can use the included map editor, if you wish, create a terrain topology and then export the map and tweak on it in an image editor and then bring it back in. Well now you can add some filters and generators to it to tweak it some more, and export that. Everything you've done with the filters and generators will affect the exported map as well. Really sweet!

  • cdordonicdordoni Posts: 577
    edited December 1969

    One thing I discovered recently is that if you export to RAW format, you can get 16-bit grey scale information from the terrain editor. For some reason, this is broken in the option to export as a 16-bit greyscale TIFF.

  • DiomedeDiomede Posts: 9,957
    edited December 1969

    diomede64 said:

    After a little web surfing, I found that DCG has a plugin to bring real world terrain DEM elevation maps into Carrara. It is called ground control. Has anyone confirmed that it works in 8.5?

    diomede64,

    I didn't see anyone answer in the the thread. Ground Control works fine in Carrara 8.5.

    Regards,

    Thanks. Yes, I appreciate you following up.

  • VengedVenged Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    The really cool thing is that you can always export that map. So you can use the included map editor, if you wish, create a terrain topology and then export the map and tweak on it in an image editor and then bring it back in. Well now you can add some filters and generators to it to tweak it some more, and export that. Everything you've done with the filters and generators will affect the exported map as well. Really sweet!

    Thanks! So i really don't have to buy a height map generator for my Unreal Engine 4 projects. Carrara always surprises me, always something else under the hood that I had not realized:-)

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,814
    edited December 1969

    cdordoni said:
    One thing I discovered recently is that if you export to RAW format, you can get 16-bit grey scale information from the terrain editor. For some reason, this is broken in the option to export as a 16-bit greyscale TIFF.
    Odd... and a bummer for tiff fans :(
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,814
    edited December 1969

    welchrs64 said:
    The really cool thing is that you can always export that map. So you can use the included map editor, if you wish, create a terrain topology and then export the map and tweak on it in an image editor and then bring it back in. Well now you can add some filters and generators to it to tweak it some more, and export that. Everything you've done with the filters and generators will affect the exported map as well. Really sweet!

    Thanks! So i really don't have to buy a height map generator for my Unreal Engine 4 projects. Carrara always surprises me, always something else under the hood that I had not realized:-)I know. It's amazing how much we can do without ever leaving Carrara!

  • Patrick210Patrick210 Posts: 19
    edited December 1969

    A long time ago I did a huge terrain for a video game using GeoControl & Carrara. I stitched together 16 hi-res terrain maps from GeoControl in Photoshop, and brought them into Carrara for these test renders. You're only seeing a small fraction of the actual terrain in these renders, it was massive. GeoControl has been absorbed by Cloddy and they are breathing new life into it. I preferred it to World Machine back in the day. Haven't been here in quite a while.

    http://www.cloddy.com/index.php/wc-product

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  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 9,018
    edited December 1969

    Nice to see you again!

    Thanks for the link. It looks really cool.

  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634
    edited April 2016

    Dart,  Excellent tutorial.  While reading I just had to crank up Carrara and leave a few times before reading your instructions/tips.  I created a few landscapes worth saving for further work/improvement.   Afterwards I read to ZERO the edges of the landscape... the edges often ruin a nice landscape by looking as if they are too sharp, sliced off, and I'd been thinking of doing something to calm them down in the Map Editor mentioned in "E" from your pic.

    One thing that you did not cover in the tutorial is "Preset:" - "Load" and "Save".  This is where I got myself into trouble is saving a "Preset" info my default Projects folder which is probably wrong and then loading that into the Assembly Room.  It loads but nothing appears in the Assembly room except the manipulation XYZ axis.  It does appear in the Landscape editor.  I think what's needed is to move the Terrains into Presets after creating my own folder there of course.  I've since been saving them both as a Preset and a Carrara Scene file now that I know better. :)

    Thanks to Everyone for posting their renders, ideas etc. After having Carrara since version 4 I'm finally taking the time to learn another powerful tool in it's huge toy chest... well I'm off to start pressing buttons.

    Post edited by wgdjohn on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,814

    I'm fairly certain that it is loading in correctly, but your camera is stuck inside of it. Select the terrain (after loading it from preset) and type the number 0 to center it in camera view.

    What happens is that they load in larger than often expected, so you need to back off in view so you can move them to where they should belong in the scene.

    You can save the terrain itself by just dragging it into your browser, but especially because of these issues you're mentioning, it's often best to save by using File > Save As...

    Save As "..." will save the whole scene, including the camera view. If you're looking through the Director camera while saving, it will load to the Director Camera's default position, but other cameras will save how they were set.

    Even if it was saved as a whole scene, we may still grab it from the browser and drag it into another scene. Scene settings won't come along, in that case, but cameras will, as wil anything else included in the scene when it was saved.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,814

    Example, when I drag in a small Evergreen forest block from Woodlands, I see it right in front of my camera. I can move it around and duplicate it... what ever I want... no problem.

    When I drag in the Larger Woodland block, I don't see it because I'm actually underneath it. So I use my Director Camera and, with that Large block selected, I type the number 0, which backs the camera off so that I can see the whole thing. Now I move the thing to a position where I'll be able to manipulate it from within the camera I want to render with.

    TIP: To help with the movement of the larger terrain/object, when I go into my Director camera, I use "Set position to.." and choose my render camera, to set the Director camera to the appropriate angle, so I know which direction to move the terrain or object. Then I type the number 0. Now I know to move the object away from my view.

  • TangoAlphaTangoAlpha Posts: 4,476

    Could it be a scale issue? If the terrain's created "large" and loads into a "medium" scene (or vice versa) it could be hard to see. Cmd/Ctrl-A followed by 0 should make sure the whole scene is in frame, regardless of the size (then worth checking the numbers to see how big it really is).

  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634
    edited April 2016

    Dart,  You are absolutely right of course.  I was stupidly just loading in the landscape "Terrain" file itself that I'd saved as a preset instead of first opening an empty scene.  Either way after typing "0" it magically, wallah, appeared.  Other errors I made was not saving as a Carrara scene file after making sure that the landscape was visible by the camera and affected by lights... some of the few landscapes I saved as Presets were represented by an icon/pic embedded in their files while others were completely black, not good, since I'd not checked and rendered them first... it's good that I found this out before saving more than a few which can't be recreated.

    After reading your very informative/helpful tutorial I'm now much more informatively playing around... thanks.  I'm also using "Save As" to save the complete scene settings. My third journey across the landscape was more pleasant than the last.

    The only thing I didn't fool around with today yet was "Set position to" - "render camera"... plenty of time for that... first I'm going to mess around more with the buttons/effects first.

    Post edited by wgdjohn on
  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634

    Could it be a scale issue? If the terrain's created "large" and loads into a "medium" scene (or vice versa) it could be hard to see. Cmd/Ctrl-A followed by 0 should make sure the whole scene is in frame, regardless of the size (then worth checking the numbers to see how big it really is).

    Yes seems to be a scale issue as well as other things, see above, I did wrong.  No big deal since I'm now getting my feet wet in the Landscape editor after a few tries which led to nothing.  Thanks.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,814
    wgdjohn said:

    Could it be a scale issue? If the terrain's created "large" and loads into a "medium" scene (or vice versa) it could be hard to see. Cmd/Ctrl-A followed by 0 should make sure the whole scene is in frame, regardless of the size (then worth checking the numbers to see how big it really is).

    Yes seems to be a scale issue as well as other things, see above, I did wrong.  No big deal since I'm now getting my feet wet in the Landscape editor after a few tries which led to nothing.  Thanks.

    In truth, this becomes much less of an issue once we understand the other thing about the fact that the terrain is being loaded "over" the camera, so we're actually just underneath the whole thing so it seems like we can't see it. The terrains supplied in the Scenes tab often load in as a Large magnitude scene, so if we grab one of those presets and drag it into an already opened scene, the terrain is REALLY HUGE compared to a smaller, Medium scene magnitude. To correct for this, just double-click the terrain (to open it in the terrain editor) and use the "Scale terrain to..." function at the bottom of the World Size tools, and reduce the size to something more manageable.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,814
    edited April 2016
    wgdjohn said:

    The only thing I didn't fool around with today yet was "Set position to" - "render camera"... plenty of time for that... first I'm going to mess around more with the buttons/effects first.

    This actually has less to do with Terrains and more to do with daily Carrara use. What I was referring to is aiming the Directors Camera, but it can also be used to aim any camera to the view of another... very useful to have a backup copy of a camera.

    I use my Director Camera all the time because it's not animated, so it never adds keyframes, and it cannot be undone! Since it can't be undone, it's not using up my undo buffer. When I'm modeling and making a lot of tiny adjustments to a mesh, I might need to undo back quite a few steps. If I'm looking through a rendering camera while I'm working, any camera changes get added to the undo buffer. So I rotate around, realizing that what I've just done was wrond and needs undoing, I have to undo through all of my camera moves first... and I don't want that!

     

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  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,814
    edited April 2016

    So with all of that said, it frees me up to be able to just select something and type 0 to zero in on that selection. I do this a lot, too.

    I'll load in a volumetric cloud and it's much larger than my scene - and I want it to be, because I just want to use the very top of the cloud for a nice fog effect.

    In my Director camera, I select the cloud and type the number 0, so that I can see the whole thing. If I want to do a lot of positioning, I'll also go Edit > Center Hotpoint, and then I often follow that up with Edit > Send to Origin, if I want the cloud centered in x and y.

    Now that I'm zoomed waaaaay back, looking at a 0.2 mile wide cloud, I can see the whole thing making it easier to lower the thing down to where only the top tenth or so is peeking up above the ground of my scene. This works as excellent fog for all sorts of scenes.

    Using "Set Position To..." I can easily get my camera back into the scene so much easier and faster than scrolling in manually.

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634

    Yes... "Set Position To" is quite handy... thank you very much. I always like to have my own render camera and nearly always use an empty vertex object "axis only" or a target helper to help out with pointing it. It wouldn't hurt if I had 2 render cameras since I'd accidently deleted one.

    Hmmm... not messed around with clouds... perhaps I'll try one out for a fog effect in Carrara Challenge #24 insted of Fog if I have time.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,814
    wgdjohn said:

    Hmmm... not messed around with clouds... perhaps I'll try one out for a fog effect in Carrara Challenge #24 insted of Fog if I have time.

    TIP: There's a bug!

    Never close the Volumetric Cloud window or you'll crash yourself out of your scene (and from Carrara) without having a chance to save (Don't Save While Stuck!!!!) forcing you to force-close Carrara. At least this is the case in Windows.

    So just switch back to the Assemble room when done with your cloud settings - Don't Close The Clouds Window!

  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634

    Good to know ahead of time... I'da  been reporting a bug that is likely known.

    On a similar subject to Landscapes but pertaining to anything I have watched you're "Carrara Walk Through: Shaders - Pt1" on YouTube but can't seem to find Pt2... is there one?  At the end of Pt1 you mention you're "Carrara Information Manual" discussion which I've not been able to find yet. Can you point me there?

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,814
    edited April 2016
    wgdjohn said:

    Good to know ahead of time... I'da  been reporting a bug that is likely known.

    On a similar subject to Landscapes but pertaining to anything I have watched you're "Carrara Walk Through: Shaders - Pt1" on YouTube but can't seem to find Pt2... is there one?  

    Not yet. I'm going to be redoing all of my tutorials eventually. EDIT: ...and making many more! ;)

    wgdjohn said:

    At the end of Pt1 you mention you're "Carrara Information Manual" discussion which I've not been able to find yet. Can you point me there?

    Yes, it's sticky at the top of the forum:

    ►►► Carrara Information Manual ◄◄◄

    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634

    Thanks

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,814

    Pleasure! wink

  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634

    Oh no... I just tried creating more terrains and ran into a problem I'd not noticed before... can't seem to make a terrain on a flat desertlike plain. Also when trying to create a flat plain I can't get one... it always seems to have some amount of raised suface then the mesa. I wonder if it would be better to create a taller Mesa and then sink it into a plain or infinite plane... hmm. Guess it's back to page 1 again. I should have practiced more after reading your very good instructions the first time around... oh well.

    Don't remember if I complimented you on your terrains/renders earlier.... they are very good.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,814

    Suited to the "Intro" title of this thread, try this as a beginning understanding of making flat terrains using the terrain editor:

    Download the attached Height Map and store it where it's easy for you to import it into your terrain editor

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  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,814
    edited June 2016

    It's very low-resolution, which can be just fine for terrains in Carrara. Sometimes you may want higher precision but, if not, try keeping to lower resolutions if you can.

    In the following screen shot, I need you to take notice of the fact that I've removed the default "Mountain" terrain generator befor importing the map, and changed the world size from 100 x 100 to 500 x 500 ft. 

    Basically, we just need to adjust the world size vs the height setting for the height map in order to get the appropriate effect on the resulting mesh. Also remember to set the 'resolution' settings for both rendering and visual precision of the mesh. I like to kjeep these two settings the same, so that it's easier to place other objects, etc., more accurately.

    (render of the above terrin)

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    Post edited by Dartanbeck on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,814

    Tip: There are many ways to achieve flatness - or any other type of shaping effect - with practice. For one, adding the "Terrace" filter will help flatten out areas of a terrain.

    If you have created a perfect shape using the generators and filters, but now you need to flatten a specific area of that, specific terrain, we can do that too!

    Simply export the current terrain as a Height Map from within the terrain editor.

    Now go into an image editor and select the area you need flattened, and reduce the contrast of that selection, then adjust the brightness accordingly. 

    Tip: For the above example, it helps to keep the image editor open as you test results in Carrara

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