Building Carrara Terrains Intro

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  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,606
    wgdjohn said:
    How I did it was incredibly complicated and might take a really long time to explain*... but I'll try:

    I selected the ground terrain and typed: Crtl D to make a duplicate

    Rotated the duplicated terrain to the upside down position and positioned it around to my liking.

    That's it!

    Cool. I can picture it now. With Errosion/Rain turned on you could end up with some stalagtites also.

    What I'm thinking of for an ouside view to the cave entrance is changing the terrain to a vertex object and, going to the vertex room of course, start messing with polygons etc and then extrusion to form an opening. Am I on the right track?

    Yup. That's one of many ways to go about it ;)

  • Darth RraraDarth Rrara Posts: 9,285
    edited June 2016

    I am a big fan of the erosion filter, but for medium scenes one has to remember to use very low settings.  I start with a rough greyscale map made in an image editor, then use the erosion filter to adjust to taste.  In this example, I also created a creek channel and opacity masks for a replicator along the banks of the creek.  Here is the start.

    The initial simple map starts with a very rough terrain that would ot be suitabel at all.

     

    But with importing a second terrain map (the black river with white land) set very low, and then applying a rain erosion filter set below 1%, the terrain improves.  I then duplicate the terrain, remove the river map, and flatten it in the z axis, apply a water shader, and raise it in the z axis, which provides the river in its channel.

     

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  • Darth RraraDarth Rrara Posts: 9,285
    edited June 2016

    And here is a draft with a figure.  Unfortunately, I don't have a fishing pole prop so these buckets are just placeholders.  And I will adjust the camera angle to get more of the creek.

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  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634

    Very good. I'd not considered using a mask for a river.

  • Darth RraraDarth Rrara Posts: 9,285
    edited June 2016

    Here is a closer look at the composition of the stream.  Here is the terrain modeling room with just the initial rough heightmap and a very small rain erosion.  Notice the existing valley.

    Using the ability to load a second heightmap, here is the terrain modeling room navigating to the river height map.  The map was created making sure that the black river channel went through the lowest part of the first heightmap.  River is black against a white background. 

    Here is the terrain modeling room with both heightmaps and the rain erosion filter.  The second heightmap is set low such as 5 feet.  This results in the white area rising 5 feet but not effect on the black area.  That creates the river channel.

    There are several options to create the river itself.  In this example, because the river falls gently,the river is just a second terrain model.  It is a duplicate of the first, but without the second heightmap (no river channel).  Use the scale tool to flatten this duplicate in the z axis and apply a shader that you want.  I also applied a filter make the river surface undulate.  Move the second terrain up or down for how deep in the channel is desired.

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  • Darth RraraDarth Rrara Posts: 9,285
    edited June 2016

    If the duplicated terrain is not resulting in a satisfactory river, one can use the heightmap that was used to create the river channel as a mask for a layer list shader.  Just apply a water shader to the river channel, but then one has to watch for the shader being applied to the steep banks.  

     

    And here is another update using a fishing pole by Alninja on sharecg and replicated trees from Dartanbeck's woodland realm set.  I used one of my heigtmaps to control te replicator because the river valley is near black.  For greater control of replicator placement, you can always duplicate the terrain and then make opacity maps with the 3D paint tool.

     

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  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634

    Just now noticed that the river starts/stops inside an edge so never runs through the terrain... is there a reason for that other than it's not noticable in your render? Pay no attention... just my crazy questions. :)

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,606
    edited June 2016

    Very much like diomede, I really like using erosion at times. Being a huge Howler fan that I am, I no longer fiddle with the erosion filter in Carrara's terrain editor, since I often accidentally crash my system getting too crazy with it.

    In Howler, I start with a simple (or not so simple) height map, and enter the 3D Designer, where we have many tools available for tweaking the height map in many ways - including adding erosion (with Rainfall slider) as well as sediment.

    We can then export an actual OBJ of the result or, my preferred method is to, export a new Height Map which depicts the changes made, as well as some of the extra settings on their own for further tweaking, if needed.

    Then I just bring the final map into Carrara and tweak away ;)

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  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,606

    Fact is, however, that Carrara's terrain editor does have erosion filtering among its fine arsenal of terrain mesh-tweaking generators and filters - in addition to having its own height map paint-style editor built right in. Add that to the fact that we can hand paint own own 3D objects using 3D Paint, right within Carrara, and make amazing terrain shader lists... Carrara is a lot of fun and has a powerful set of tools to boot!

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,606

    I also agree that making distribution maps can be fun for replicating masses of additional items across our surfaces. In Woodlands, I've come up with another great use of Carrara's terrains:

    Instead of replicating plantlife, I finally came up with a method which gave me a lot more control over the process - hand placing plants onto a smaller terrain piece, duplicating to get a whole bunch of plants across the terrain, yet still placed by hand - and then saving that whole structure to the browser. This became the smaller Nature Object of Woodlands - Evergreeen Grove Block. The next size up, Forest Block 1, uses a combination of duplicated and replicated objects, while the largest one is strictly replicated.

    I originally designed them as a method of 'replicating' these premade clumps, rather than having the replicator try to place the plants properly, all by itself - where I've often found that I was using far more replicants than I really needed. 

    Anyways, upon using these "Blocks", I've found them to work really well by simply duplicating the blocks rather than replicating them.

    Nothing against replicating, however... I love using replicators. 

  • Darth RraraDarth Rrara Posts: 9,285
    edited June 2016

    Great stuff, Dartanbeck.  I actually do have Howler but have not dedicated the time to learn it.  Looks like I really should.

    Post edited by Darth Rrara on
  • Darth RraraDarth Rrara Posts: 9,285

    For anyone who has Bryce, but not Howler, the always amazing Cripeman has a tutorial for bringing Bryce terrains and shaders into Carrara.  That way you can use Bryce's terrain editing tools.

     

     

  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634

    I'm wondering if there is a best practice/method for having small or average terrains, size 500, to create an infinite plane look and hide the horizon line. I've not normally had a problem but sometimes the terrain just didn't work out. In order to get around this I've placed other terrains of the same or even smaller size in the background, distance to hide an area or more that the wonky looking horizon line appears. Another way which I've used is to change the camera angle to shoot down at a terrain instead of trying to shoot across the terrain but of course most of the time I want the whole picture.

    In my search for an answer I took a look at Carrara EnvironKit - Underwater Realms by Dartanbeck.

    image

    What I've notice with them is there are at least 2 terrains in each... one sized at 500 and a larger one at 5000. I'll have to take a closer look at some that come with Carrara and Howie's Snow Scene... I expect the latter uses more than one terrain also. The key is to give them the same or similar Shaders to appear as part of one another.

    I'd read somewhere recently perhaps eve here that you could mirror or replicate terrains to paste them together. I'll have to experiment with trying this... might have even been Duplicate with Symmetry. Wish I could find this again. Hmm... perhaps it was in my modeling thread but I doubt it.

    Silly question. What does Editable Terrain mean? I just found out... If you enter the Map Editor any settings seem to be no longer able to be changed so those will be part of the Editable Terrain throught the Map Editor or an external paint program if exported... so it's wise to save before entering the Map Editor... then go ahead and edit to your heart's desire.

  • PhilWPhilW Posts: 4,909

    Regarding the mirror and replicate thing, you need a replicator (not surface replicator) and use the autogrid setting so that the replicated grid size matches your terrain size, and check the Seamless setting down at bottom left, this mirrors alternate terrains so that the edges match on all the seams.  And there you have a much bigger terrain (albeit with duplication of features).

  • Speaking of Modeling, and being in the Building Carrara Terrains thread, I'd like to share something fun:

    Owning Carrara, we have this powerful and fun modeler at our disposal which is the Terrain modeler, into which we may import texture maps as height maps, which get converted into a 3d mesh. 

    So here I just imported a bump map for a brick wall into the Terrain modeler (world size set at 10' x 10') and adjusted the height of the effect, as well as the resolution of the mesh, to my liking. 

    In the Texture Room, I've changed the shader from a Terrain shader to a Multi Channel, and brought in the accompanying texture map for the color, and still loaded in the Bump map under the Bump channel, but later found that it isn't needed at all. As it turns out, this renders a LOT faster than if I'd have used Displacement onto a flat plane, as well as being immensely easier on the working view.

    Anyways, while this might not be the greatest way to try and make 'real' geometry, it does help when we need something - and we need it fast!

    Using the terrain editor to make walls or other background is something that is part of my usual workflow. I like it because it's an easy and efficient way of having solid geometry and, specifically, nice self shadowing. See this post for example.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,606

    Awesome, Pilemo! I agree. As for the post and us not having much control over attachments, I think the images you refer to in the post are reversed, right? So example #1 is the bottom one, #4 being the top? Let's try this: (here's a copy of Philemo's post - but it's still worth going to that thread for more WIP information)

    For me, the advantage is in the self shadowing brought by having true geometry instead of faking it with bump map.

    You can see below:
    #1 using terrain


    #2 associated shadow map


    #3 no terrain (flat plane)


    #4 associated shadow map

    #3 is neater than #1 (there are resolution issue with my bump map), but, as it will be blurred by DOF, self shadowing is more important.

    Actually, having starting to work on it gave me a lot of ideas, specifically if you associate an alpha map (thus not limiting yourself with rectangular shapes). for instance, I remember a recent post about a turf roof. I think you can achieve good results using terrain.

    You can clearly see his point, where having that 'real' shaping in the geometry itself provides for 'real' shadowing. I think that where he's talking about it not being 'neat' is attributed to it being a very realistic representation of that sort of wall... which has a lot of texture from the masonry being done in a hurry, as well as the fact that, building geometry from a map like this in the terrain editor does have its price in quality-of-geometry, but since it IS made from a map, the software created a lot of geometry - so it's really quite accurate - making for a really nice wall! 

  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634
    edited August 2016
    PhilW said:

    Regarding the mirror and replicate thing, you need a replicator (not surface replicator) and use the autogrid setting so that the replicated grid size matches your terrain size, and check the Seamless setting down at bottom left, this mirrors alternate terrains so that the edges match on all the seams.  And there you have a much bigger terrain (albeit with duplication of features).

    Thanks Phil will give that a try which is what I should have done when I first heard about it. Cranking up Carrara now so's not to forget. :)  At first couldn't find the settings for the "replicator" but....Oh gosh... I'd watched your Learning Carrara 8.5 Tutorial video quite awhile ago where you show how to use it... my loss for not using it then. I refer back to your video often. Ha, ha.... it does looks like a terrain subdivision... duplication abounds.

    I suspect that by using Replica I can have some more randomization in looks to repeated terrains... scaling and rotating Zed would help. Ahh the posibilties are endless. :)  It would of course take longer in setting up and use more memory probably. I need to learn both methods Replicator and Replica properly.

    Thanks again.

    Post edited by wgdjohn on
  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634
    edited August 2016

    Philemo and Dart, Thanks to you both... I'd only thought about terrains as actual Terrains. Like Carrara... terrain possibilities are unlimited.

    Philemo, I checked out your WIP... kewl.

    Post edited by wgdjohn on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,606
    edited August 2016

    Oh yes! The Replicator is a lot more useful for certain things than the surface replicator, which is altogether more useful for following uneven landscapes.

    Like placing things on flat surfaces... bam. More control with how they're (replications) are placed!

    Also...

    Thank Phil! I've never tried seemless replications before... gonna have to try that!!!

    Also...

    For 'hiding' the distant transition between sky and ground, I love the ability to make a giant terrain piece, where I darken the center of the map so it goes below my main, central landscape - which will have much more detail - especially in the textures. That's how I made the EnvironKits. Two large background terrains are there... but the one that's a lot smaller and closer to the camera is set to invisible by default. 

    So I have a huge bit of terrain surrounding the whole scene, yet deep enough in the center to run way below my central area. This works great (for me) because now, if I use water, I have a floor - even if I don't model one separately.

    Now I work out my central piece, which I like to be nice and flat all around the camera area for ease of walk cycles, building placements, etc.,

    I spent many days, many hours each day, getting that part just the way I finally liked it.

    Now I make smaller pieces that I can use to rough up that flat area if I want to. Intersting thing about that was that I could populate those smaller pieces with plant life (and death) using hand placement of everything, and then those whole groups can be duplicated, rotated, translated... I found that to be a lot more controllable than replicating everything.

    I made a larger chunk for adding height in the near backgrounds, but they're detailed enough to bring into the foreground with the rest of the main scene. That one uses a replicator. Lately I've been duplicating that replicator, and choosing: "Create New" in the dialog, so that I can have tress much closer - a lot more dense and populated - making for an excellent backdrop of dense forest! ;)

    In the image to the right, the main Woodlands Promo, I used a white infinite plane and placed the central ground as the main point, placed it so that the white plane shows where water flows if the water isn't turned off.

    All of the custom plants that come with the set are placed out in front of that.

    The stacks of cards behind it are models of cardboard RPG-style gaming tiles that I made for each of the scene presets.

    Next to them, to the right, are the smaller chunks of terrain which are populated by hand.

    The next size up isn't done in the same scale as these game pieces and is to the left behind the box. That one includes the new berries I included in the form of wild cranberry trees, along with other shrubs as well as the rest of the trees and deadwood and such.

    The big one in the very back to the right looks a LOT SMALLER in this image than what it really is. I love that piece but it can slow down the preformance of the working view after duplicating it a few times! To avoid that sluggness, I just set the replicator to now show in 3d view. Bang... zippy fast control resumes! ;)

    Here's my initial instruction videos on Woodlands:

    Getting Started with Woodlands

    Building a scene (using Daz3d Palenque Ruins) in Woodlands

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  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,606

    Oh... and I also like to use the atmospheric fog from the Realistic Sky Editor!

  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634
    edited August 2016
    [cut ccj]

    In the image to the right, the main Woodlands Promo, I used a white infinite plane and placed the central ground as the main point, placed it so that the white plane shows where water flows if the water isn't turned off.

    All of the custom plants that come with the set are placed out in front of that.

    The stacks of cards behind it are models of cardboard RPG-style gaming tiles that I made for each of the scene presets.

    Next to them, to the right, are the smaller chunks of terrain which are populated by hand.

    The next size up isn't done in the same scale as these game pieces and is to the left behind the box. That one includes the new berries I included in the form of wild cranberry trees, along with other shrubs as well as the rest of the trees and deadwood and such.

    The big one in the very back to the right looks a LOT SMALLER in this image than what it really is. I love that piece but it can slow down the performance of the working view after duplicating it a few times! To avoid that sluggness, I just set the replicator to not show in 3d view. Bang... zippy fast control resumes! ;)

    [cut ccj]

    Thanks for the very clear details. I really must remember to grab Woodland Realms next time it's on sale or I have a few extra $s. I'd watched "Building a scene (using Daz3d Palenque Ruins) in Woodlands" long ago... probably the "Getting Started with Woodlands" also... bookmarked both to help me remember more often how badly I want it... already, long ago, added to my wishlist.

    Speaking of not showing in "3d view"... I've lately been using it or checking the 'visible' box... both are invaluable. I thought about that for a terrain that I, you or anyone creates which is only for background. Hmm... first set up camera angle... next hide/make visible... probably at some point load in a temporary backdrop image and temporary infinite plane or just a large plane for quick renders... finally go to town on the main smaller terrain.

    Oh... and I also like to use the atmospheric fog from the Realistic Sky Editor!

    Probably why your scenes always look *very* good.

    OT: In your posts... how do you get text next to a pic?  I'm thinking that you might be using the table function but probably wrong... tried in my earlier post here without using table with no luck.

    Back on topic... This is a great thread for anyone having questions/problems with the Terrain Editor and anything related to it!

    Post edited by wgdjohn on
  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,606
    edited September 2016
    In your posts... how do you get text next to a pic?  I'm thinking that you might be using the table function but probably wrong... tried in my earlier post here without using table with no luck.

    It's the text wrap positioning drop-down at the bottom of the Image Properties panel. Note that I also add some horizontal spacing (5 in this example) otherwise the text can get too darned close to the image, making it look weird and more difficult to read/enjoy the picture ;)

    Also, right after I paste the image addres in, I edit the size. Sometimes it won't automatically scale proportionally if we try to edit that later, like after sumbitting the post. So I try to get it down to a width of 200 - 300 px... sometimes smaller, sometimes bigger - depending....

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  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634

    Thanks Dart, I've never messed with anything but image size only.

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,606
    wgdjohn said:

    Thanks Dart, I've never messed with anything but image size only.

    My Pleasure! ;)

  • ARTOFMARK3DARTOFMARK3D Posts: 1,472
    edited September 2016

    Not sure if this was mentioned yet (I only quickly skimmed the thread) but along the lines of using terrains as walls and backgrounds, they make great caves!  Here's one of my near-infinite list of never-finished projects where I turned a terrain on it's side, duplicated and reversed it and voila! instant cave! :)

    Actually, now that I look at this, it was a little further along than I remember - maybe I will actually move it back from my "abandoned" folder to my "WIP" folder. :)

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  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,606

    That's really cool!

  • wgdjohnwgdjohn Posts: 2,634

    MDO...Great idea! Why didn't I think of that. :)

  • wgdjohn said:

    MDO...Great idea! Why didn't I think of that. :)

    It takes Tens of Thousands of us monkeys clickety-clicking for Tens of Thousands of Hours in Tens of Thousands of Rooms for Tens Of Thousands of...oh wait...well you get the idea...smiley

    Very cool MDO2010!

  • DartanbeckDartanbeck Posts: 14,606

    I did a similar thing with Badlands, but they're not flipped sideways, the ground has many cliff walls, and that is flipped upside down and squished down into what is still a very tall ceiling. Then we use separate cliff walls to decorate the inner passages however we like ;)

    I love the multitudes of workflows we can use! Carrara Rocks - but its users Rock even More!!!

  • Darth RraraDarth Rrara Posts: 9,285
    edited September 2016

    Experimenting with making some spherical landscapes.  Having trouble making the grass replicators dense enough.  Not bad, but I want it better

    .-  inserted a terrain and loaded a greyscale heightmap that I had made in photoshop elements

    - also created a jpg mask in photoshop to block out the path

    - used replicators to place trees, shrubs, and grass ( taken from sets by Dartanbeck, Mmoir, and Howie Farkes).  Replicators placement controlled by inverse of path.

    - inserted spherical camera and set Z axis where I would want a character.  Note - in general, the camera is in a valley and surrounded by hills.

    - used realistic sky and inserted a sunlight.

    - rendered at twice the width than the height (4000 x 2000).

    - started new scene and loaded spherical landscape render in the background.

    - did a test render of an empty scene with nothing but the spherical background.

    - In future, can use the spherical background and shadow catchers to minimze scene resources.

     

     

     

     

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