A New Gaea Update Revealed

A New Gaea Update Revealed

A major update of Gaea has been revealed with new Erosion, node updates, several convenience updates, and more.

A major update of Gaea has been revealed with new Erosion, node updates, several convenience updates, and more. Let’s take a look at some of the new features. 

New Erosion

Gaea 2480 introduces a comprehensive erosion node, simply called Erosion. It provides sophisticated erosion with a very easy to use interface. The Erosion node provides control over the scale, where you can choose the size of the largest erosion feature, as well as the overall scale of the terrain.

2048 x 2048 heightfield created in Gaea, rendered in 3dsmax with Corona Renderer
The Erosion node’s algorithm addresses one of the biggest problems in digital erosion: it preserves features across different resolutions. This means that a 512 x 512 preview build will maintain essential parity for all major erosion features with a high-resolution 4K or 8K build. You no longer need to guess the output type.

The algorithm also creates exquisite flows with naturalistic curves that have never been seen in digital erosion before.

This is the first iteration of the Erosion node in Gaea. Expect many improvements over the next few builds. Also see the known issues at the bottom of this post for using the Erosion node.

Node Updates

Name Updates

Some nodes still carried their prototype names, which were not truly descriptive of their function, and as such have been renamed.

  • JErosion is now called Fluvial.
  • SErosion is now called Alluvium.
  • Talus is now Deposits.

Soil Map

Soil Map is the first of a slew of new texturing nodes we are working. Soil Maps, like all Gaea Data Map nodes, can be used at any point of the graph and can create erosion data without requiring an erosion node.

Soil Map creates a soil mask, with increased density in crevices or other areas where the slope allows for soil to settle. By increasing the number of power, a higher number of soil settling cycles are simulated. A low value provides a “fresh” sprinkling of dust with very little wind and other simulations to “move” the dust afterward. High values perform more simulation cycles to sprinkle dust but also move it around (repeatedly).

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You can combine different Soil Maps using the Combine node set to Max, and even combine with other Data Maps such as Flow or Velocity, to create a texture mask upon which color production can take place.

(Color production nodes will ship in the next build.)

Apex and Pyramids

These nodes both provide similar functionality. So to reduce cluttering, we have subsumed Pyramids inside Apex. The new Mode property lets you select between Distance (Apex) and Slant (Pyramids).

Flow Map

The Flow data map now has an option to simulate constant rainfall as opposed to a weighted average. Previously, a total “amount” of rain was calculated for the simulation. The new option keeps adding new rainwater to the simulation. 

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There are advantages to both options. Average rainfall can be used to highlight stronger flow areas, while Constant rainfall can be used to highlight all flow areas. Combining both can be useful for texture creation.

With this update, Flow map is also able to perform 10x simulation cycles.


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Convector is an exaggerated form of thermal erosion with a bit of tweaks thrown in for stylized output. It creates strong slopes and terraces at the same time, giving you a unique flavor of erosion.

The delicate terracing can be very useful as a base for the new Erosion node. As you can see in the second screenshot, these terraces help mimic a big mountain — especially for snow accumulation purposes.


The Sediment node gets a big new overhaul in this version. The processing is a bit faster and now can go to much higher values.

The new Drift mode creates an extremely large buildup of sedimentation (be it snow, sand, etc.) offset to the main terrain. This can be great for creating snow buildup, glaciers, etc.

Use the Strength and Seed properties to fine tune.

This is a preliminary update to Sediments. Additional functionality and tweaks will be added over the next couple of builds.

Interface Updates

Manual Update for Heavy Nodes

Use the Apply button to update a heavy node after modifications.

We have classified some nodes, such as Erosion, Fluvial, etc. as “Heavy” nodes — meaning, they can take a long time to process, and sometimes cannot be canceled mid-process. Updating multiple settings on such a node can slow down or even freeze up the application.

When you modify a Heavy node, it will not update automatically anymore. It will instead show an Apply button, which you can click when you have made your changes.

If you move away from the node or select another node, changes will be applied automatically, so you won’t lose any modifications.

You can optionally turn on the manual node update for all nodes if you prefer, by turning off “Automatically apply Node Modifications” in the Preferences. If the setting is turned on, which is the default, only Heavy nodes will require manual updates.


Want to learn more. Head over to this page.

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