"Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free; Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; Where words come from the depth of truth; Where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection; Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit; Into that heaven of freedom it should be our intent. ( my adaption from Rabindranath Tagores famous lines)

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Terragen is a photo realistic landscape and scenery-rendering program. This article is a brisk walk- through into TERRAGEN. By using this program you can generate the landscape as per your intent by working on several make-believe aerial views "taken" of terrains. It is as if a satellite kept photographing the earth and you render the images later. The terrains are "height maps" seen as Black and White images. White is the tallest mountain (snow!) and Black is a lowest valley; all colors in between portray heights as in a terrain 3D photograph. Here Blue is water. Apart from that you have several options for locating a "camera" in various (x,y,z dimension parameters) and focusing on a target scene. You can zoom and adjust the camera. You get options for setting the height of the sun, reflectivity of the water, changes to the atmosphere like coloring and misting and fogging and hundreds of preferences. That’s it. Now render the scene. Play God.
No photographs! No Photoshop! Rendering takes a little time and you may have to do it several times before you get something you like.
When we first load Terragen, the terrain is blank. In order to generate some scenery, we must generate a terrain. At first the terrain is generated at random. Then we use dialogue boxes such as:
Rendering Control: Camera position, Target position, Camera orientation, exposure and Zoom: Width of Image to generate.
Landscape Control: Modification, Use of surface maps (and designing them), Sculpting Tools, etc
Water Control: Setting Water level will give water/no water. Then controls for Water roughness, wave size, visibility, reflectivity, diffuse color of water, etc.
Cloudscape Control: Cloud and haze color, frequency & size of clouds, altitude of clouds, etc.
Atmosphere control: Density and atmospheric color, (Sunset settings), Haze/Mist settings, etc
Lighting and Sun control: Angle and altitude and position of sun, Sunlight strength and Colour, Brightness, penetration, shadows, Suns disc diameter and Carona, background light, etc.
The program was free when I started with it. It can be downloaded from: http://www.planetside.co.uk/terragen
All this may sound very difficult, but as you "set and render " the results will amaze you. I will now give you a glimpse of some Dialog boxes Screen Shots ....


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