Studying Terragen 4.2
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Studying Terragen 4.2
26 July, 2018
News

Planetside Software has recently presented a new update for Terragen, bringing new features for creating realistic natural environments. Let’s study the update. 

Rendering

Much faster ray tracing of displaceable surfaces in some cases, especially where rays travel nearly parallel to the surface.

Corrected a flaw in the rendering of clouds whenever the camera’s altitude is higher than the base altitude of a cloud layer (either within the cloud layer or looking down on them from above). The distant part of the cloud layer was being cut off where the planet’s curvature should make the layer visible from underneath. This flaw was sometimes noticeable when looking towards the horizon with the camera near the clouds, and also at higher altitudes if clouds should be seen curving around the planet near the horizon.

Reflections can pass through a Surface Layer that has child layers as long as “Apply Colour” and “Enable Test Colour” are disabled and the child layers are disabled (or don’t interfere with reflections by themselves). This won’t work if the child layers are function nodes (blue nodes) because they automatically convert to black Lambert shaders when they are disabled.

Luminosity (emission) can pass through a Surface Layer that has child layers as long as “Apply Colour”, “Enable Test Colour” and “Luminous” are disabled and the child layers are disabled (or don’t interfere with luminosity by themselves). This won’t work if the child layers are function nodes (blue nodes) because they automatically convert to black Lambert shaders when they are disabled.

Export

Micro Exporter allows you to choose which texture space to use for the exported UVs or UVWs. “Image UV (render projection)” or “UVW from Compute Terrain or Tex Coords)”. You should select “Image UV (render projection)” if you want to use the rendered image as a texture for the exported object. You can use this with any type of camera, including spherical cameras.

Groups and Notes in Network View

After moving groups with the mouse, those groups auto-capture any nodes they surround.

After resizing a group with the mouse, the group auto-captures any nodes it surrounds.

After moving or resizing a Group or Notes node, they snap to the grid in a similar way to other nodes. When you first use this on an existing project you may find that the contents of a group shift around a bit, but after they have snapped once they should behave predictably.

Until now, the resize handle along the top edge of a Group or Note was gradually reduced as we zoom out to make it easier to click on the title bar at low zoom, but this made it harder to grab the top edge for resizing. Other edges kept the same screen space size for the resize handle. Now, rather than making it progressively difficult to resize the top edge at low zoom, it’s simply disabled when zoom is below a certain level. Left, right and bottom edges can still be grabbed at any zoom level.

Inputs and outputs in Network View

Shaders’ main input which was previously called “Input node” in the GUI is now called “Main input”.

Labels are shown above some input plugs that have a connection to another node, even when you’re not hovering over them. The labels fade out and disappear when zoom is below a certain level. To reduce clutter, “Main input” and “Input 2” are not labeled (except when hovering over them).

Gradually fade opacity of input/output arrows when zoomed very far out.

New preview options

Heightfield Shader has a checkbox “Show b-box in preview”. This controls whether previews should show a bounding box and manipulation handles for the heightfield.

Simple Shape Shader has a checkbox “Show b-box in preview”. This controls whether previews should show a bounding box and manipulation handles for the shape. Moved “Draw shape edges” up alongside “Show b-box in preview”.

Camera has new checkboxes “Show frustum in preview” and “Show path in preview” below the existing “Show camera body in preview”. When showing neither the camera body nor the frustum, no manipulation handle is shown or selectable in the preview.

File and image handling

Added “Reload File” to the popup menu for file parameters.

Renamed “Open Preview” to “Preview Image” in the popup menu for image file parameters.

Licenses and key files

Fixed problems auto-updating key files that have expired or are are invalid because of maintenance date.

Changes to splash screen for expired keys and keys that are invalid because of maintenance date: text more accurately describes the reason why it’s running in non-commercial mode (expiry or maintenance date) and that text is coloured red. In this situation the “Buy Now” button is labeled “Upgrade/Renew” and opens a different URL in the browser.

If running in Free mode because of an expired license, when you check for updates it will still report available versions according to what type the license was before it expired.

Planetside Software 

You can find the full breakdown here

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