View Full Version : Procedural Terrains in LW

11-16-2015, 01:18 PM
I've been using LW and Vue for a while now and was wondering...I know we can use procedural textures to displace and texture terrains but what about using them to actually create the terrains like VUE does...any thoughts anyone?

11-16-2015, 01:26 PM
What do you see as the distinction between "displace terrain" and "create the terrain", in this context? I'm not seeing the difference based on how you're stating your question.

Are you asking about how to convert a texture-displaced terrain into equivalent geometry (doable in Layout for ages)?

11-16-2015, 01:37 PM
Vue (and other programs) actually use a fractal to create the terrain but as far as I know the only way to make a terrain in LW is to create a subdivided plane and then displace it with either a procedural texture or an image (height field map) or use a tool like airbrush or magnet or jitter. Am I missing something in LW? I know the subdivide command has a 'fractal' option but there's not way to edit the fractal that's being used...In VUE the terrain remains a fractal which allows you to get really close and still maintain excellent resolution because the program is just recreating the fractal over and over again.

11-16-2015, 04:54 PM
The principles are the same for lw displacement and vue terrain generating when you speak of it non specified.
in vue it creates a divided poly mesh, not very different from lw create a polyplane divided, the difference is that you can paint sculpt with itīs editor.

but fractals are behaving the same on these meshes both in vue and in lightwave..at least for standard vue terrain...you are also messing with modeler fractal subdivide command..thatīs a completly different story compared to using fractals in layout, skip trying to edit the fractal, you can only apply that once, and then redo and do another...use layout and add a plane with divisions and toggle subpatch directly ther, and edit it with fractals in layout....so not sure you should refere to a compare betwee lw modeler fractal and vue fractal..when itīs better to compare layout fractal displacement and vue.

Regarding fractals to allow to get really close, that is procedural terrains, I am not talking about the fractal applied, but I think it is some kind of volumetric procedural..which converts to a polymesh at some time..or not, that sort of procedural terrain will give infinite detail..and that is something lightwave do not have..they are slow to render though, I think it is similar perhaps to using hypervoxels surface..like I have done here, I could zoom in how close I want, and the detail would be infinite just as good as vueīs terrain detail...


and this...

and this..just a few nulls with hypervoxels and dponīt node procedural..I could zoom in how much as I like without loosing detail...


Ogo taiki (old lightwave plugin) has the option to use a procedural volumetric surface mode in layers, not requiring nulls..so it could work more as it does in vue, (except no sculpting option) but it is also extremly slow to render..it would need optimizing to be of really good use...but you could just the same have Infinite detail unlike ordinary displacements....

11-19-2015, 05:38 AM
131095This is a procedural terrain in VUE rendered at 13 cm with global illumination. It did take 3:39 sec so it wasn't that quick. The idea I'm interested in is creating a terrain this way in LW. This is awesome though...thanks...

11-19-2015, 12:36 PM
131095This is a procedural terrain in VUE rendered at 13 cm with global illumination. It did take 3:39 sec so it wasn't that quick. The idea I'm interested in is creating a terrain this way in LW. This is awesome though...thanks...

well you can get close..at least enough, with the right resolution etc, and combination with both displacement, normal map, and bump in that order all stacked together, but you have to split it where detail is needed.

And there are a couple of more ways, one would be to use microdisplacement, dponīt has a free node for that, it may however be very slow to use..I had some crashes with it and havenīt tried it further unfortunatly..I may do that later.

There are also newer tech with surface displacement that will be great for this, and with octane..there is a thread here about octane and a new texture set that is real 3d scanned surfaces for grit/gravel and stone that is looking sweet, the question will be how well it performs on large areas of terrain..and you would of course have to invest additionally in it.

Microdisplacement is something that is said to be an important tech that Lino says they are tracking, it may not be available in lw 2016 though.

You could also get ogo taiki..but when I checked it was quite slow to use.

Another method..similar to what I showcased above with hv and nulls, if you divide your terrain with subpatch mode, you can control the mesh poly and vertex amount, then apply hvīs on to the whole object..that way you can have hv infinite procedural detail on top over the terrain..it may impose issues and not ideal all the time, I havenīt tested it enough either..but the technique can be used..the main displacement is still a matter of using standard displacement.