opening lots of new tricks for me to handle models, thank you for the article, very helpful!
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Gaea Early Access is finally available! The new standalone terrain creation suite brings pioneering methods for fast prototyping, artistic control, and realistic results. The tool is said to combine the power of procedural construction with the intuitive methods of sculpting, and offers new cohesive workflows.
Here are some details on the tool from QuadSpinner:
Forces of Nature
Gaea catapults erosion into a new stratosphere of what’s achievable, far beyond the limiting processes and vertical lines that have genericized industry terrains.
This new platform delivers a natural randomness, which is key to believable environments. It also removes the frequent bottleneck of the erosion process. By placing different components of erosion at different stages of a graph, and at multiple junctions, you can create highly realistic and unique terrains.
Gaea has elevated erosion to an art form. Uniting the best of sculpting and procedural design, Directed Erosion lets the artist direct how and where erosion occurs.
Physics-assisted tools enable you to sculpt erosion strategically and iteratively. Separate erosive flows automatically interact with each other. Feel your way visually through the process rather than wait for a uniform output.
Gaea’s hydraulic erosion is one of the most advanced algorithms ever created for artistic visualization. It avoids the pitfalls of common erosion algorithms found in terrain software, and raises the bar for CG erosion.
The scale of the erosion is exposed, so you can arbitrarily erode a terrain as 2km or 20km. Controlling the scale opens up new avenues of erosion which can help you achieve a distinctive look. Other features include vertical erosion (downcutting), river generation, and much more.
Gaea separates the essential processes of Sediments, Channels, and Debris for maximum control of your erosion elements. You can erode your terrain in specific ways without cannibalizing the other components.
Carve channels from thin grooves to wide canyons, without affecting sediment deposits. You can also nest channels within channels by using different widths.
Gaea’s Debris node lets you add rocks and even rockslides using Physics-assisted scattering. The debris can be produced as data-only masks and as point clouds which can be used to drive scattering in other applications.
Data maps (Deposits, Wetness, Velocity, Flow) often present bottlenecks in the graph. Gaea decouples data maps from erosion delivering the freedom to create textures and effects without destroying your terrain. You can also generate data maps anywhere in your workflow.
The Biome map uses rainfall, temperature, moisture, and altitude to produce a splat-style supermask for different ecosystems – taiga, swamps, grasslands, and more. Easily export the Biome map as a splat map, or individually export each biome mask. These masks work well with Gaea’s other coloration nodes for sophisticated color maps of the entire terrain.
Strata + Talus
These vital erosion properties are among the most overlooked aspects of arid terrains in CG. Gaea changes that. Now you can create non-uniform stratification with plate-breakage, terrain folding, and rifts just like in nature.
Realistic sediment accumulation – or talus – can also be easily generated, with expanded options to exaggerate the build-up for increased dramatic effect.
You can learn more and join the party here (15% off now or 25% if you own GeoGlyph).