UltraScenery Experiments and Experiences

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  • barbultbarbult Posts: 19,375
    edited March 25

    I am now using Daz Studio 4.15.0.14 Public Beta and UltraSceneCreator 1.3.3.1 with the Accelerator 1.0.2.4.

    Experiment: Use Iray Decals to Add Details to UltraScenery Terrain

    I had an Aha Moment! I can use Iray decals to add details to UltraScenery Terrain!

    This is what led to this idea: I wanted to combine my previous experiments of a paved road Feature and a railroad track Feature into a new RR Crossing Feature. But I had a quandary. In both cases I had used the Roadbase and Roadsurface of UltraScenery to define where the road goes or where train tracks go. The UltraScenery Terrain shader supports only one set of Roadbase and Roadsurface. How would I combine both a road and a train track in one feature? I decided to use Roadbase for the train track and Roadsurface for the paved road. But I had previously used the Roadsurface to create the yellow line separating the lanes of my road. My combined Feature would use Roadsurface for the road paving itself; I wouldn't have another surface for the yellow line. This is where the Iray decal idea came to the rescue! Not only can decals add the extra markings I want on the terrain, but I can save the decals as props in Daz Studio and update the info.json file of my new feature to add those decal props to the scene automatically each time I build an UltraScene with that Feature. For me, this was a life changing inspiration LOL!

    Here is a render with my RR Crossing Feature, which includes several Iray decals on the road. I also added some speed limit and stop sign props to the Feature props list.

    Edit: More information on using the new decal product Ground Decal Materials. with UltraScenery here.

    BV RR Crossing 01 With Iray Decals.jpg
    2000 x 1125 - 3M
    Post edited by barbult on
  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,708

    Sweet! You are quite creative with Ultrascenery. Great idea with the decals. Thanks for documenting it all in your writeups.

  • TotteTotte Posts: 12,548

    Very cool things Barbult!

    You show how very versatile UltraScenery is. 

     

  • Can one create a clear level clearing in the middle, so that one could use e.g. a gazebo set?

  • TotteTotte Posts: 12,548

    DoctorJellybean said:

    Can one create a clear level clearing in the middle, so that one could use e.g. a gazebo set?

    Maps are your friends..... (and yes, I'm working on that too too) 

  • AgitatedRiotAgitatedRiot Posts: 2,117
    edited August 2021

    You could flatten the terrain by adjusting the brightness and contrast. Adjust height lower. Build UltraScenery without trees. you'll get gentle slopes. Place your gazebo set. Add tree props.

    Post edited by AgitatedRiot on
  • barbultbarbult Posts: 19,375

    DoctorJellybean said:

    Can one create a clear level clearing in the middle, so that one could use e.g. a gazebo set?

    You have two issues here: shape of the terrain and location of vegetation instances.These are my thoughts:

    You can try using a height map on the UltraScenery Scene tab to specify the bumpy and the flat areas of your terrain. To keep it flat, you need to set the noise component to solid black, white, or gray, using the brightness and contrast controls. If you select any Feature other than _No Features, that will usually change the shape of the terrain, too, and your flat area may no longer be flat.

    To keep vegetation instances out of that flat area, you need a layer mask in the UltraScenery Build tab. The layer mask needs to be applied to every layer that you want to keep out of the area. You can use different layer masks for each layer. You may want grass coming up close to the gazebo, but trees kept further away. It won't be perfect, because the origin of the prop will be considered when comparing to the mask, not the outside boundary of the prop. I don't think you will get a perfectly clear circle with no grass encroaching into the area, for example, because the grass patches are generally rectangular and not just a single blade of grass.

    You can create your own Feature, too, where your Feature has all the height maps and layer masks essentially built in. For example, my RR Track Feature kept the track area perfectly flat for ease of placing the track pieces. I created field, forest, verge, litter masks, etc. to control where plants, rocks, etc. were allowed to go. When using my RR Track, I can use the Noise and Max Altitude to vary the terrain, but the track area stays flat at a fixed height.

  • barbultbarbult Posts: 19,375
    edited August 2021

    I created this quickly with a height map and layer masks.

    • I used an old strange height map that I had created for experimentation in the past. I inverted it in UltraScenery for my height map for this scene. I also used it for the layer mask on some layers. I used a max altitude of 4 to make gentle terrain.
    • I used Dirt Track 1 for the feature, because it is one that follows the terrain without changing it much. I was just lucky that it didn't run through the gazebo area. The ecology is Harpwood 4.
    • I generated the UltraScenery and then placed the gazebo on top of the hill. The gazebo is an old Poser prop, Summer Gazebo.
    • I created a new layer mask the size and position of the gazebo in my scene. Then I used that layer mask for some of the layers that I wanted to be everywhere except under the gazebo.
    • Then I rebuilt the UltraScenery using the new mask for some layers.

    Gazebo on the Hill

    Strange Terrain Layer Mask.png
    1024 x 1024 - 14K
    Strange Terrain.png
    2048 x 2048 - 2M
    Screenshot 2021-08-10 13.35.53.png
    816 x 624 - 77K
    Screenshot 2021-08-10 13.36.10.png
    816 x 624 - 67K
    Screenshot 2021-08-10 13.36.16.png
    816 x 624 - 64K
    Screenshot 2021-08-10 13.48.18.png
    816 x 624 - 288K
    USC gazebo on the hill_Default Camera.jpg
    2000 x 1125 - 3M
    Post edited by barbult on
  • I did use a simple set of maps for the image below. Used a small square sized so 1 pixel = 2cm for clearing the grass giving a tight tolerance around the 200cm square obalisk, and a bigger clearing map for the trees.

    I didn't flatten the ground in the way Barbult suggests, which was a good thing for the image, serendipitously allowing grass to be visible in the reflections inside the obalisk.

  • barbultbarbult Posts: 19,375

    richardandtracy said:

    I did use a simple set of maps for the image below. Used a small square sized so 1 pixel = 2cm for clearing the grass giving a tight tolerance around the 200cm square obalisk, and a bigger clearing map for the trees.

    I didn't flatten the ground in the way Barbult suggests, which was a good thing for the image, serendipitously allowing grass to be visible in the reflections inside the obalisk.

    Nice work yes

  • richardandtracyrichardandtracy Posts: 3,174
    edited August 2021

    Thanks, Barbult, means a lot from you.

    Thinking through the map sizes to get the right sizes took a fair time, but I know next time a 3200 pixel square map image gives each pixel a size of 2cm at a 100% landscape X & Z scale. From that everything else can be positioned on the map (if you actually want precision, that is).

    Post edited by richardandtracy on
  • barbult said:

    DoctorJellybean said:

    Can one create a clear level clearing in the middle, so that one could use e.g. a gazebo set?

    You have two issues here: shape of the terrain and location of vegetation instances.These are my thoughts:

    You can try using a height map on the UltraScenery Scene tab to specify the bumpy and the flat areas of your terrain. To keep it flat, you need to set the noise component to solid black, white, or gray, using the brightness and contrast controls. If you select any Feature other than _No Features, that will usually change the shape of the terrain, too, and your flat area may no longer be flat.

    To keep vegetation instances out of that flat area, you need a layer mask in the UltraScenery Build tab. The layer mask needs to be applied to every layer that you want to keep out of the area. You can use different layer masks for each layer. You may want grass coming up close to the gazebo, but trees kept further away. It won't be perfect, because the origin of the prop will be considered when comparing to the mask, not the outside boundary of the prop. I don't think you will get a perfectly clear circle with no grass encroaching into the area, for example, because the grass patches are generally rectangular and not just a single blade of grass.

    You can create your own Feature, too, where your Feature has all the height maps and layer masks essentially built in. For example, my RR Track Feature kept the track area perfectly flat for ease of placing the track pieces. I created field, forest, verge, litter masks, etc. to control where plants, rocks, etc. were allowed to go. When using my RR Track, I can use the Noise and Max Altitude to vary the terrain, but the track area stays flat at a fixed height.

    It sounds like the dark arts laugh Think I'll wait to see what @totte cooks up re masks.

  • richardandtracy said:

    I did use a simple set of maps for the image below. Used a small square sized so 1 pixel = 2cm for clearing the grass giving a tight tolerance around the 200cm square obalisk, and a bigger clearing map for the trees.

    I didn't flatten the ground in the way Barbult suggests, which was a good thing for the image, serendipitously allowing grass to be visible in the reflections inside the obalisk.

    That looks great!

  • Going to be coming back to this thread and trying a few things in it just as soon as I can find some head space :)

  • I need help from the experts\gurus.

    How do I add a US Layer from one ecology to another? Harpwood 4 ecology has a Base Grass Layer, where Harpwood 3 doesn't. Sure, I can create an UltraScene using the Harpwood 4 ecology, unparent the Base Grass Layer and rebuilt UltraScene using the Harpwood 3 ecology. However, when adding masks to rebuild, it won't take the Base Grass Layer into consideration as it's not part of the UltraScene group.

  • TotteTotte Posts: 12,548

    DoctorJellybean said:

    I need help from the experts\gurus.

    How do I add a US Layer from one ecology to another? Harpwood 4 ecology has a Base Grass Layer, where Harpwood 3 doesn't. Sure, I can create an UltraScene using the Harpwood 4 ecology, unparent the Base Grass Layer and rebuilt UltraScene using the Harpwood 3 ecology. However, when adding masks to rebuild, it won't take the Base Grass Layer into consideration as it's not part of the UltraScene group.

    That is one thing that I plan for UST - Volume two :P 

  • ecks201ecks201 Posts: 344
    edited October 2021

    DoctorJellybean said:

    I need help from the experts\gurus.

    How do I add a US Layer from one ecology to another? Harpwood 4 ecology has a Base Grass Layer, where Harpwood 3 doesn't. Sure, I can create an UltraScene using the Harpwood 4 ecology, unparent the Base Grass Layer and rebuilt UltraScene using the Harpwood 3 ecology. However, when adding masks to rebuild, it won't take the Base Grass Layer into consideration as it's not part of the UltraScene group.

    You could try Barbult's instructions for creating your own ecology and see if you can make a hybrid of Harpwood 3 & 4. See the first page of this thread.

    Post edited by ecks201 on
  • Yes, I saw those instructions by @barbult. She mentions using other props, maybe creating a hybrid of 2 ecology sets is a bit different.

  • barbultbarbult Posts: 19,375
    1. Follow the instructions to create your own ecology, copying Harpwood 3 as your starting point.
    2. Open both your newly created ecology json file and USC Harpwood 04.json file in a text editor.
    3. Copy the Base Grass layer from USC Harpwood 04.json. The copied text must start with the {  line 7 right above "name": "Base Grass", and contain everything up to and including the matching closing }, on line 173. Getting the correct group of lines with proper punctuation, including that trailing comma is critical.
    4. Paste the copied text into your new ecology JSON file in the list of layers. Since it doesn't use affinity, it can go anyplace in the list of layers. Just be sure to add it properly before all other layers or between other layers. If you add it at the end of the layers list, you will need to change the syntax to put a comma before it and delete the comma after it.
    5. Copy the entire text of your new ecology json file and paste it into the JSON validator to check your file syntax. Correct any errors back in your text editor, and retest until you get it right.
    6. Save your updated new ecology json file.
  • barbult said:

    1. Follow the instructions to create your own ecology, copying Harpwood 3 as your starting point.
    2. Open both your newly created ecology json file and USC Harpwood 04.json file in a text editor.
    3. Copy the Base Grass layer from USC Harpwood 04.json. The copied text must start with the {  line 7 right above "name": "Base Grass", and contain everything up to and including the matching closing }, on line 173. Getting the correct group of lines with proper punctuation, including that trailing comma is critical.
    4. Paste the copied text into your new ecology JSON file in the list of layers. Since it doesn't use affinity, it can go anyplace in the list of layers. Just be sure to add it properly before all other layers or between other layers. If you add it at the end of the layers list, you will need to change the syntax to put a comma before it and delete the comma after it.
    5. Copy the entire text of your new ecology json file and paste it into the JSON validator to check your file syntax. Correct any errors back in your text editor, and retest until you get it right.
    6. Save your updated new ecology json file.

    Many thanks, that worked perfectly!

  • barbultbarbult Posts: 19,375

    DoctorJellybean said:

    barbult said:

    1. Follow the instructions to create your own ecology, copying Harpwood 3 as your starting point.
    2. Open both your newly created ecology json file and USC Harpwood 04.json file in a text editor.
    3. Copy the Base Grass layer from USC Harpwood 04.json. The copied text must start with the {  line 7 right above "name": "Base Grass", and contain everything up to and including the matching closing }, on line 173. Getting the correct group of lines with proper punctuation, including that trailing comma is critical.
    4. Paste the copied text into your new ecology JSON file in the list of layers. Since it doesn't use affinity, it can go anyplace in the list of layers. Just be sure to add it properly before all other layers or between other layers. If you add it at the end of the layers list, you will need to change the syntax to put a comma before it and delete the comma after it.
    5. Copy the entire text of your new ecology json file and paste it into the JSON validator to check your file syntax. Correct any errors back in your text editor, and retest until you get it right.
    6. Save your updated new ecology json file.

    Many thanks, that worked perfectly!

    Great! I'm glad you got what you needed.

  • barbult said:

    Great! I'm glad you got what you needed.

     This is the end result. The reason I wanted it is the dense Harpwood 3 forest with the grass from Harpwood 4.

    The paving is from Totte's Auto Paver, and the house is a freebie.

  • barbultbarbult Posts: 19,375

    Nice and very seasonal. Thanks for showing your successful result!

  • Doc AcmeDoc Acme Posts: 1,129

    Some definite impressive reworking there.

    In the meantime has anyone taken the plunge yet with the new:

    C66 Graphics Plug-in & Ultra Scenery Toolbox - Volume One?

    There are pdf's, but would really like to see a vid or two.

     

  • sandmanmaxsandmanmax Posts: 989
    edited October 2021

    Here's my first road.  There are still some kinks that I need to work out, things I need to learn but overall, well, it's a road. Good enough to keep me motivated to try another one.  And to buy some more regular cars.

    Test Drive 3.png
    900 x 900 - 1M
    Post edited by sandmanmax on
  • barbultbarbult Posts: 19,375

    It's a great road!

  • ChumlyChumly Posts: 660
    edited November 2021

    Greetings!

    I have had US for a while now, but have kind of put off giving it a go, as there are some other aspects of DAZ that I really need to get my arms around before other cans of worms are opened...

    But hopefully this will be a quick question that you can answer.

    I am a bit OCD as far as file management  for Daz's user facing files goes, and have read in the various US threads that you "can't move around US assets" or the program won't work.

    So, the US assets are all the ones listed on the first page of the US Thread?
    https://www.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/380431/ultrascenery-commercial/p1

    If I am understanding the process, you create a US scene, then, if you want to swap out particular items for NON US assets, you use another program (Alienator Pro?) to make the swap for items that US has generated?

    And those "3rd Party" assets don't have to be in their original DIM install location, as they are relying on "Alienator" instead of US.... ?  

    Cheers

    List of Addons for UltraScenery

     

    List of Addon Bundles for UltraScenery

     

     

    Post edited by Chumly on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 12,548
    edited November 2021


    If I am understanding the process, you create a US scene, then, if you want to swap out particular items for NON US assets, you use another program (Alienator Pro?) to make the swap for items that US has generated?

    And those "3rd Party" assets don't have to be in their original DIM install location, as they are relying on "Alienator" instead of US.... ?  
     

    Hi,

    Alienator Pro was written to make it easy to replace one type of prop in an ecology with another type of prop.
    If you are hard core you can create your own ecologies by copying existing ones and editing them, or you can wait until I release UST - Volume II, with among other things UST Ecology Engineer and UST Ecology Layer Editor, (the latter in very early development stage)
     

    Post edited by Totte on
  • @Barbult I applied your tutorial.

  • Norman_R said:

    @Barbult I applied your tutorial.

    That is fantastic!

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