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Shloime
03-26-2019, 11:40 PM
Hi, just a heads up:

Maybe I missed another official post, just wanted to point to it:
Gaea is released and there is a free version with limited resolution, but perfect to play around and try the software. I didn't explore the export settings yet.

Look at quadspinner.com

alexs3d
03-27-2019, 01:51 AM
Hi, yeah gaea look very cool and promising, also the new upcoming draw mode.

here is the directlink to gaeawebsite - https://quadspinner.com/gaea/

OlaHaldor
03-27-2019, 03:04 AM
Gaea has matured a lot during the last couple of months after it became available to early adopters.
It's got some quirks and bugs, but they're being squished at rapid speed. It's an awesome newcomer, and should definitely be part of anyone's toolbox.

If you have World Machine or World Creator 2 already, is there space for Gaea? Certainly. All these have their own strengths and weaknesses.


If own them all, so feel free to ask about anything :)


From the top of my head, these are my opinions on all three:

World Machine
+ Node workflow, very versatile and flexible.
+ Import and process GeoTIFF and other heightmap formats.
+ Great for both natural/photo realistic and non-photo realistic landscapes.
+ Can do HUGE landscapes. Continents even.
+ Tiled output. Supports UDIMs too.
+ Rivers and lakes tool in the latest dev build looks promising.
+ Production proven and solid.
+ Few bugs.

- Can be experienced as slow compared to competition, depends entirely on your CPU speed and number of cores.
- Requires quite a bit of RAM for big projects. Better get 32GB or 64GB minimum. Or be super safe with 128GB.
- Looks are deceiving; many I talk about WM with says they are put off by the "Windows 95" like interface. Too bad for them though they don't know what they're missing. :) But I agree it could need some modernizing.
- Low resolution preview. Old tech.
- Slow development.
- Slow or dying community forums.


Gaea
+ Modern UI and user experience.
+ Nodes - very flexible workflow!
+ Layer based workflow as an alternative to nodes.
+ Modern high quality 3D viewport.
+ Young product - more features being announced and in development.
+ An impressive amount of various erosion nodes!
+ Very active development - friendly, open for discussion, improvements and ideas.
+ Growing and helpful community.
+ Import custom heightmaps.

- Can be buggy at times (they're squishing bugs fast though!)
- No tiles export (yet)
- Still young, missing some features.
- Can export only 16K or 32K for now (will be easier to handle with tiles when it's released)


World Creator 2
+ Rapid speed with GPU processing.
+ Tiled export.
+ A large selection of filters to process and refine the landscape.
+ Intuitive and interactive shape tools.
+ Intuitive and interactive masking tools - paint directly on the landscape (not a top-down view)
+ Possible to scatter foliage on the landscape, great to get an idea of scale, for screenshots or get started on concept art quickly.
+ Possible to import your own 3D meshes and textures, use to scatter or hand place, and texture the terrain.
+ Import custom heightmaps.
+ Powerful and intuitive way to translate, scale and rotate imported heightmaps.

- Requires a relatively beefy GPU to work efficiently (I would say a GTX 1070/RTX 2070 at minimum)
- GPU dictates how big the terrain can be. 8K is bordering to the limit of what's possible even with a 1080 or 1080 Ti without pulling hairs because of lower performance.
- Cannot pick which tiles to export. It's either all or nothing.
- Layer based/level step based workflow is not intuitive, and has some severe limitations to flexibility.
- Masking tools aren't as refined or versatile as the competition.

TheLexx
03-27-2019, 03:36 AM
Thanks OlaHaldor. My question would be about licensing, and which one matches the friendly nature of LW licensing. I think Gaea Enterprise (https://quadspinner.com/Gaea/Compare) is the only one which allows offline usage - apparently Gaea is not node locked, but is any kind of online activation required ? Are the other softwares offline too ?

Also, which one tops it for ease of use in your view (example think of thick jungle with running river and mountains in background) ? Many thanks.

OlaHaldor
03-27-2019, 03:40 AM
Up until now, licensing for World Machine has been offline. You input a serial code when you launch. But that's about to change it seems. In the latest dev build you are required to input the license code, and it will connect to their server to verify.
You can activate WM on up to two computers on one license, but run on only one computer at a time. You can deactivate the license at any time to move to a different computer.

I'm not sure if World Creator 2 is online only or not. The launcher has the option to login to check for updates at least.


Gaea and offline; Enterprise. That's it. I'm not sure how the other models go, as I have the enterprise license. And really, at that price point, I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't go enterprise.

Greenlaw
03-27-2019, 10:53 AM
The demo/tutorial videos for Gaea look pretty cool. Considering the Indie price, I'll have to seriously think about this. Thanks for posting the info guys.

I've always liked Vue Infinite and I kept up a maintenance subscription on a personal license for many years, but I might finally drop it this year because, TBH, I hardly ever use the program anymore. The last time I used Vue for actual production work was back in my Rhythm & Hues days, so maybe six years ago?

Since then, I've created a lot of realistic environments mainly using LightWave with instanced trees, grass, rocks, etc., and terrain sculpted and painted with 3D Coat. Adding an affordable terrain generator like Gaea to this mix might be all I really need.

I'll be giving up some cool bells and whistles from Vue, but I guess I'm not exactly missing them right now anyway.

Greenlaw
03-27-2019, 11:08 AM
OT but kinda related: Does anybody know of a decent and affordable city generator? There used to be an add-on for Vue that I never used, but I'd still like to have something that's compatible with LightWave.

Recently, I had to create several city blocks and streets for LightWave and it was a real pain in the butt to create a realistic urban layout (i.e., irregular shaped blocks and streets, and non-flat terrain.) I experimented with using instances and some scripts I found, but everything I tried looked too grid-like or too random. In the end the city wound up being mostly created through hand modeling and placing. (And it wasn't really that realistic...I still took a lot of shortcuts to just get it done.)

Surely by now there's gotta be an easier and cheaper way to do this?

Thanks for any info.

Greenlaw
03-27-2019, 12:07 PM
Hmm...OpenStreetMap for Blender looks interesting. I don't use Blender but really should look into this. Here's a link I found with info:

https://lesterbanks.com/2016/06/realistic-city-openstreetmap-blender/

Wonder if something like this could be made for LightWave.

Found another one for Blender called SceneCity (https://www.cgchan.com/store/scenecity). I probably need to look at more examples but, so far, the results seem too 'grid-like' and only on flat terrain, so it probably wouldn't be used to simulate the city where I live which has hills and hardly any parallel streets. I guess there's a companion plugin for generating terrain but the example still shows flat terrain for the city area.

Years ago I looked into City Engine but felt it was too rich for me. This morning I tried to find out what it costs now but they are asking for way too much information before they will tell me. Don't have time for that nonsense. Sigh!

TheLexx
03-27-2019, 12:18 PM
@ Greenlaw, might Video CoPilot's Metropolitan Pack (https://www.videocopilot.net/products/3d/metropolitan/) work for you in LW (compatible formats list OBJ and FBX) ?

Greenlaw
03-27-2019, 12:29 PM
Thanks. Looks like a good collection of assets.

I'm really more interested in generating a realistic city layout though. Most of the stuff I'm seeing is very grid-like.

I'm looking for something that can generate a city layout resembling, say, Los Angeles:

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LA can be somewhat 'grid-like' in very small neighborhoods but not for very long distances. I don't need something to exactly re-create LA but would like get similarly irregular urban layouts.

Greenlaw
03-27-2019, 12:47 PM
Find a few free to cheap solutions that might work out. They all seem to rely on OpenStreetMap data which I'm not familiar with. Guess I know what I'll be studying this weekend. :P

I'll post again if I learn or discover anything new.

erikals
03-27-2019, 07:42 PM
Hmm...OpenStreetMap for Blender looks interesting. I don't use Blender but really should look into this. Here's a link I found with info:
https://lesterbanks.com/2016/06/realistic-city-openstreetmap-blender/
Wonder if something like this could be made for LightWave.
should be doable, use https://www.openstreetmap.org and http://osm2world.org then import in LightWave.


Found another one for Blender called SceneCity (https://www.cgchan.com/store/scenecity). I probably need to look at more examples but, so far, the results seem too 'grid-like' and only on flat terrain, so it probably wouldn't be used to simulate the city where I live which has hills and hardly any parallel streets. I guess there's a companion plugin for generating terrain but the example still shows flat terrain for the city area.
yes, bit hard to find good info, and cost is $100, so no free testing.


Years ago I looked into City Engine but felt it was too rich for me. This morning I tried to find out what it costs now but they are asking for way too much information before they will tell me. Don't have time for that nonsense. Sigh!
i seldom bother with companies that don't have a price available, because it always means the cost will be way too high, however, this time, seems it starts at $500
https://www.google.no/search?&q=city+engine+price

---------------

personally, i'd go for the OSM 2 LightWave solution. https://i.imgur.com/O97xXy6.gif
more fluid / natural.

then like TheLexx mentions, add 100 3D Models, $125, https://www.videocopilot.net/products/3d/metropolitan
or > https://kitbash3d.com
or > https://www.turbosquid.com/3d-model/building?page_num=1&sort_column=a5&sort_order=asc
or similar. Advanced Placement might be of use.

---------------

@ OlaHaldor
Thank You. Great info!  https://i.imgur.com/tJGL61i.png

OlaHaldor
03-28-2019, 03:08 AM
I just tried the OSM2World thing. It works. It's rough. But it works. :)

erikals
03-28-2019, 04:16 AM
very cool https://i.imgur.com/9QKH4Wq.gif

TheLexx
03-28-2019, 05:47 AM
Since a list of sorts was mentioned, I may as well name-drop Terragen (https://planetside.co.uk/)and also ask if anyone has an opinion on the older terrain systems like Bryce (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N4aJ-pmdF0)or Carrara's inbuilt system (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lin_C9hmg54#t=50s). All examples I see are of scenic landscapes, maybe with a spaceship in the sky or a castle in the distance, rather like an establishing shot in a film, but if one wanted to get a bit more interactive, for example a character running through jungle whilst flicking branches out of the way or swimming in water - has anyone here faced such scenarios with terrain software ?

Greenlaw
03-28-2019, 06:03 AM
Wow, I haven't used Bryce or Carrara since...well, probably since when Carrara was called Ray Dream Studio. That statement really dates me I think. :)

It depends on how well the camera i/o works between the programs and LightWave. If FBX is supported properly, it should work, and if the landscape program can output layers and other passes, you can integrate through compositing. That's basically how I worked with Vue Infinite using their LightWave plugin to send the LW camera to a Vue project.

OlaHaldor
03-28-2019, 01:38 PM
very cool https://i.imgur.com/9QKH4Wq.gif

All though I can't get elevation data to load, you might recognize this place. :)
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for example a character running through jungle whilst flicking branches out of the way or swimming in water - has anyone here faced such scenarios with terrain software ?
funny you should ask; we're doing these kind of things at the studio right now.

The hero landscape assets are hand modeled or sculpted in zbrush. The distance shots (where you see a lot of, or the whole island) are either World Machine (I made them) or zBrush, or a combination of both. The foliage has been scattered using Mash in Maya, and some hero plants or trees have been hand placed.

I don't think there's any benefit to using something like World Machine, Gaea etc. for landscapes you get really close to camera, unless you also bring it into zbrush for some extra detailing so it holds up. Textures with displacement may also help to make it look less artificial. And a good chunk of nice assets for foliage, rocks etc.

Long story short; there's not many shortcuts to get a great looking landscape with a forest, with a character running through it, colliding with leaves and what not. :)

erikals
03-28-2019, 03:01 PM
All though I can't get elevation data to load, you might recognize this place. :)
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sweet :) can't quite place it... Trondheim? Bergen?

note, it doesn't seem like OpenStreetMap contains much elevation data (altitude/relief)
https://help.openstreetmap.org/questions/3069/elevation-maps

perhaps this site can help for easy elevation info (greyscale image)
https://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?152437-Terrain-party-free-website-to-extract-heightmaps
more info > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvlgCm4GA8s

https://i.imgur.com/uynlt1d.gif

OlaHaldor
03-28-2019, 03:22 PM
Bergen :)

There's some info inside the OSM2World config file that I interpret it could fetch height data from a 3rd party source, but I'm not smart enough to figure out how. :D

For Norway I'd rather use kartverkets own website hoydedata.no :) It's an awesome resource for high quality data. All the way from 1m/px to LIDAR scanned point clouds. If only I had a way to handle those point clouds... !

erikals
03-28-2019, 04:32 PM
Bergen
ah, not that far off of a guess then. :)

regarding the point cloud, use meshlab perhaps?
https://www.google.no/search?&q=meshlab+triangulate+point+cloud


1m/px to LIDAR scanned point clouds.
nice! :king:

yeah, the problem is always figuring out what the data means, extracting it, and figure out if it is the correct projection (usually Mercator)

no fan of testing / creating that data. :)
simple stuff, yet always seems so darn tricky.

erikals
03-28-2019, 05:19 PM
update; regarding hoydedata.no , actually got it partly to work...


https://youtu.be/gihbWjZlWhk



update 2;
testing further, managed to get a download link for DTM1, however, only a very small selection area creates a 3GB download.
so beware, huge difference between DTM10 and DTM1

https://i.imgur.com/5O6mwtQ.png

CaptainMarlowe
03-29-2019, 07:38 AM
GAEA not being on Mac, have someone here tested or bought world creator ? Seems to have some nice features, too.
https://www.world-creator.com

OlaHaldor
03-30-2019, 12:51 AM
I don't know about World Creator 2 for mac, except it's been a slow process to keep it up to date/update as often as for Windows. If you're a Mac user I think you should ask them directly how they are doing with Mac releases and if it's updated as often as the Windows version.

CaptainMarlowe
03-30-2019, 05:31 AM
Thanks, but my question was, in fact, how good is world creator in general ? Compared to Gaea for instance ? Because, as I will certainly with to PC for 3D in the coming years, buying a cross platform solution could be of interest.

erikals
03-30-2019, 05:35 AM
some general answers here >
https://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?159588-Gaea-is-released&p=1567862&viewfull=1#post1567862

CaptainMarlowe
03-30-2019, 05:58 AM
Thanks I had missed this part.

Imageshoppe
03-30-2019, 10:54 AM
Find a few free to cheap solutions that might work out. They all seem to rely on OpenStreetMap data which I'm not familiar with. Guess I know what I'll be studying this weekend. :P

OpenStreetMap is vastly useful, a few years ago I was asked to create a full map of the state of Colorado for a large wall print, and was able to export vector data for streets, roads and water features at high resolution. So with 25K maps of these features, and a 15K state wide elevation map derived from DEM's, I got this result in Lightwave...

http://files.datausa.com/imageshoppe/outgoing/EXAMPLES/

There's enough resolution I can actually see a 1/4 mile long driveway into a ranch I own way out in the plains east of Colorado Springs... :)

I didn't link to the file directly (23meg .jpg), just click in the directory and you can click on the file...

Regards,

Greenlaw
03-30-2019, 11:04 AM
That's a lot of detail. Nice work!

I actually have a need for vector output now and will definitely look into this. Thanks for sharing. :)

OlaHaldor
03-30-2019, 11:42 AM
Thanks, but my question was, in fact, how good is world creator in general ? Compared to Gaea for instance ? Because, as I will certainly with to PC for 3D in the coming years, buying a cross platform solution could be of interest.

It generally depends on what you want to do. I will still take WM into the equation here.
To keep it simple, I will ask one question: do you want realism ?

If the answer to that is YES, go with World Machine, or Gaea. WM is still more robust overall, but Gaea can do great things with less effort. There are trade-offs with both as I listed on the previous page.


WC2 on the other hand is not as straight forward. When you layer different filters (such as terrace, erosion, ridge etc), they don't behave and blend or work together as you'd first expect. Everything you do in WC2 is bound to something called "level strength", while WM and Gaea takes the last known result in the chain and applies the effect of the current node to it. I don't know about you, but that's logical.

With the level step system in WC2, the way I interpret it, everything happens at the same point in time. This is quite confusing to me. Don't get me wrong, WC2 can do a lot of cool things, and fast, but it feels like I am fighting the software to get there. Alternatively just leave it be and take the product to other places like WM, Gaea or Zbrush to fine tune, adjust, refine. That's what I've done, WC2 acts as a 'rapid design of shapes' tool, and then I bring it over to one of the others in my toolbox to make it look the way I want. :)

Here's a practical example: I made the base shape in WC2 and exported it as a heightmap, brought it into WM and Gaea.
I do the exact same operations in all three. I apply Terrace and Erosion. All default settings in all three of them.
In both WM and Gaea, it makes a whole lot of difference which order you place the nodes in the chain, it gives dramatically (and expected) differences in the end product.
While in WC2, the order of filters don't matter, because they are sort of fighting to happen at the same point in time. The only way to change that is to use one or more of 10 sliders, per filter, but even then you won't get anywhere near the same result as in the other two. It's debatable whether that's something you want, but I personally prefer the logic in WM/Gaea.

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Greenlaw
03-30-2019, 12:04 PM
Can you tell me how the camera support is between LightWave and Gaea (and the others?) Can I just import an FBX? Also, what are the render output options?

For example:

With Vue Infinite, I typically import the LightWave camera data and render out EXR with auxiliary data for compositing (O/M IDs, vector data, depth, coverage, etc.,) Vue also allows me to create render groups for items so I can easily split FG and BG elements, and make other custom object passes. Can Gaea and the others do that?

BTW, I almost always use the LightWave camera because I dislike how the Vue camera controls work. Plus, I typically used Vue as a support tool for LightWave, so most of the scene and camera animation is done in LightWave anyway. This is why getting an accurate LW camera into these programs is critical to me.

Thanks in advance for any helpful info.

OlaHaldor
03-30-2019, 12:22 PM
None of them can import cameras. Not sure why you would, because they're not like Vue where you can render high quality (with buffers/AOV's etc). Their sole purpose is to create heightmaps. You do your rendering elsewhere.

erikals
03-30-2019, 12:22 PM
no, as far as i know, WM / Gaea exports greyscale/color/obj only.
there are no camera controls or animation controls.

edit; Haldor beat me to it :)

tischbein3
03-30-2019, 12:32 PM
LA can be somewhat 'grid-like' in very small neighborhoods but not for very long distances. I don't need something to exactly re-create LA but would like get similarly irregular urban layouts.
Before SceneCity was developed there were some interesting pre concept from other users, with one generating more european city layouts....highly experimental, will look if I can find the script.

Greenlaw
03-30-2019, 12:50 PM
Ah, ok, thanks. I didn't realize these programs only generated height data and textures for other programs. I guess I misunderstood the purpose but this can still be useful for me since I'm doing most of my 3D work inside LightWave these days.

But if I'm looking to replace Vue, I guess I should be looking at Terragen then.

- - - Updated - - -


Before SceneCity was developed there were some interesting pre concept from other users, with one generating more european city layouts....highly experimental, will look if I can find the script.

Thanks! Yes, if you can find the info, I'm very interested in learning more about this.

OlaHaldor
03-30-2019, 01:06 PM
I did this a long time ago with WM and LightWave. You can't compete with the atmospheric fidelity from Vue or Terragen I guess, but.. it's possible. Depends on what you need. :)
https://www.artstation.com/artwork/XO0ay

tischbein3
03-30-2019, 01:28 PM
Ok, this is a hacky like hell and might not provide you with the quality you need
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First you have to Download the script
https://web.archive.org/web/20100329203619/http://arnaud.ile.nc/sce/
Look on the page for details on of the settings

Now you have to download old faithfull 2.49b and load the blend file into it.
https://download.blender.org/release/Blender2.49b/

In the script window go to text > run script to launch the addon
play with the values. If you are more experimental in mood you might expand the limits
of the controls in the script at line 1171 onwards. Street Propability, less curved streets, will help
make the city look bigger
- Hit create city.

Now save your city as an new blend file

- Launch Blender 2.79
- Load the blend file (if you are not so familiar in blender I recommend to untick "Load UI" so you get the more familiar blender layout
- Select the street object and hit tab to go into edit mode
- Select all polylines and hit F to create faces.
From now on you can export the object as a wavefront object and continue in lw
(Inset / bevel the faces of this object to create streets.

I'm not sure if this actually helps

Greenlaw
03-30-2019, 03:24 PM
That's pretty cool though. Thanks for looking into that and figuring it out. :)

I'll download and try it here this afternoon.

CaptainMarlowe
03-30-2019, 04:14 PM
OlaHaldor, a big thanks for all your inputs, very instructive.

OlaHaldor
03-30-2019, 04:20 PM
No problem. :)

I've talked to another WC2 user, and shown the same image I posted above. He said it was a bit unfair comparison, because you *must* adjust these sliders per filter to get close to the result shown in the other two. I'm a bit mixed about the reply, but I get it.. WC2 works completely different at its very core.

If you can afford it, I think having WC2 in the toolkit and either WM or Gaea, or both, will get you to the level of quality you like. Take the bits you like from either, and combine however you see fit.

Greenlaw
03-30-2019, 04:25 PM
Yes, thanks to everybody posting to this thread. This has been very informative and has me re-evaluating some of my workflow.

CaptainMarlowe
03-31-2019, 02:15 AM
No problem. :)

I've talked to another WC2 user, and shown the same image I posted above. He said it was a bit unfair comparison, because you *must* adjust these sliders per filter to get close to the result shown in the other two. I'm a bit mixed about the reply, but I get it.. WC2 works completely different at its very core.

If you can afford it, I think having WC2 in the toolkit and either WM or Gaea, or both, will get you to the level of quality you like. Take the bits you like from either, and combine however you see fit.

Thanks. I'm not that much in realism (although being realistic don't hurt ! :) ), but I often need to create landscapes for rendering the castles I model for fun.
World Creator seemed cool for this type of tasks, but I sure would like to try it before buying especially as my GPUs are getting a bit old. I won't buy it until they release (if they release) a demo version.
World Machine, I have to see if I can manage to get it working under wine (had no luck with Gaea). I downloaded the trial and will give a go. This said, as a hobbyist, I think I'll limit myself to only one software. Until now I have made ma landscape with 3D-Coat, free version of Terragen and in some occasion with metamorphic. I had Vue Infinite in the past but didn't upgrade in a very long time and have lost all confidence in them.

CaptainMarlowe
03-31-2019, 02:34 AM
World Machine does seem to work pretty well under Wine with Playonmac. I need to see all tutorials now. The interface sure seems very outdated. :)

OlaHaldor
03-31-2019, 03:28 AM
Don't let the interface fool you. :)
The dev introduced dark mode a few versions ago. That alone did a whole lot to the experience. :P

I'll poke the WC2 dev that there's demand for a demo.

OlaHaldor
04-03-2019, 03:26 AM
I think I stirred the pot when I posted the comparison between the three. The dev has shown me how to work it out, but it requires a lot of 'hands on' to get there compared to Gaea and WM. The good thing is it's fast to see what is changing because of the GPU processing, but how much time you save vs. using a brute force CPU process in the end is debatable. Trade-offs.. :)


The dev replied they're redesigning their website, and once it's out, there will be a fully featured demo - except you can't export. :)

CaptainMarlowe
04-04-2019, 06:29 AM
Thanks for the information.