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Thread: New Way to Do Terrain?

  1. #1
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    New Way to Do Terrain?

    This looks like a useful way to create terrain in the future. Eventually, multiple ways to output terrain and loads of interface potential to make changes accordingly. It's a standalone application! Good job, Dax Pandhi and Quadspinner team!

    http://quadspinner.com/gaea
    "Once one can articulate an important idea into a concise statement, then one can use the statement and not have to have the fear of changing behavior." - Ed Catmull on Pixar creativity

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    Interesting. Did anyone ever give World Creator a go (since LW was shown as export format) ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rcallicotte View Post
    This looks like a useful way to create terrain in the future. Eventually, multiple ways to output terrain and loads of interface potential to make changes accordingly. It's a standalone application! Good job, Dax Pandhi and Quadspinner team!

    http://quadspinner.com/gaea
    Yes it's a very good application. I'm in the Beta program and have a license for Gaea Enterprise (and Geoglyph Pro). The Enterprise version has an offline license.

    The speed is way better than World Machine and the UI is beautiful and offers a great workflow.

    Texturing is still in its beginnings but the terrain creation using nodes or layers works very well and offers some unique features. A new beta build was just released yesterday with even more major UI improvements.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by TheLexx View Post
    Interesting. Did anyone ever give World Creator a go (since LW was shown as export format) ?
    Last time I looked at it, several key features were still in development. The feature set (and partly the terrain quality) looked weak compared to World Machine / Geoglyph / Gaea. However, it looks like they made a big step forward and the features are almost complete. The UI looks great too, not nodal but very intuitive. It seems to have some nice sculpting features (which Gaea doesn't have).

    I would say World Creator is similar to the Vue Terrain sculpting part, while Gaea is more like World Machine nodal networks. In my opinion both of them are great terrain applications with individual strengths.

    About the LW export, I don't think it has native LWO support but like most terrain applications exports height maps that can be used in most applications.
    Last edited by Marander; 06-23-2018 at 03:54 PM.

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    Many thanks Marander.

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    A.K.A "The Silver Fox" Gungho3D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLexx View Post
    Interesting. Did anyone ever give World Creator a go (since LW was shown as export format) ?
    I have WC, latest version - it is well integrated with creating Unity 3D terrain and assets, and is super fast courtesy of leveraging GPU oomph!

  6. #6
    Super Member OlaHaldor's Avatar
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    I have them all (WC2, Gaea and WM+GeoGlyph).
    For now I prefer World Machine + GeoGlyph. Yes, it's slower, but it also produces the best quality terrain in my opinion.

    Gaea is still in 'early access', and the latest UI update which launched just before this weekend was a tremendous upgrade. The nodes and node sockets remind me of Unreal Engine, which obviously is a good thing!
    I do like how intuitive Gaea is, and you no longer have to be a rocket scientist to make believable, beautiful and natural looking landscapes.

    I was an early adopter of World Creator 2, and to be honest, I'm a bit disappointed. The toolset of WC2 haven't changed much since I got it almost two years ago. They have added a few filters and some 'fluid erosion' which is kind of cool, but it's got nothing on WM and Gaea in terms of making something look natural and 'photo real'. It's clearly best for games or fantasy landscapes in my opinion. Or you might just have a lot more time on your hands to fiddle with it than I do.

    By the way, there is no LWO export from any of these. All can export different image types suited for game engines or displacement maps, as well as OBJ. So no LWO.

    To be fair, I've seen some interesting results from WC2, but I can't imagine the time it took to get there, vs. making something similar in WM or Gaea.
    That said, I think WC2 has a place in landscape design, but you might want to try them all before you decide, or if possible, get at least two of them.


    To sum it up, pros and cons at the top of my head..

    Gaea:
    + Nice, modern interface
    + Good user experience
    + Responsive
    + Node graph (and layer based if you rather like that)
    + Developer is responsive and transparent about the future
    + Can split graph and 3D viewer into two windows - can use on multiple monitors
    + Growing community
    + Great toolset out of the box
    + Fast and responsive (because it's GPU driven)
    + Good masking tools

    - Still early access with bugs
    - No tablet support
    - No tiled export (feature is planned for a future update)
    - Hard to re-use multiple imported heightmaps, no easy GUI to position and transform them


    World Machine + GeoGlyph
    + Production proven and solid
    + Node graph
    + Big userbase, easy to get tips or help from the community
    + Good user experience
    + Can split graph and 3D viewer into two windows - can use on multiple monitors
    + Tiled export
    + Great toolset out of the box
    + GeoGlyph plugin for a lot of awesome nodes to simplify or speed up production
    + Basically limitless resolution
    + Fully procedural landscapes for miles and miles!
    + Multiple 'build extents' let you focus on details, or export iterations of the same graph setup in no time
    + Good masking tools

    - A few bugs
    - No tablet support
    - Hard to re-use multiple imported heightmaps, no easy GUI to position and transform them

    World Creator 2
    + Fast and responsive (because it's GPU driven)
    + Intuitive interface
    + A lot of filters with even more settings
    + Custom interface skins
    + Growing community
    + Developer on official Discord
    + Blazing fast way to combine and position imported heightmaps

    - Level step system
    - Performance issues at larger than 4K or even 2K resolution with just a handful filters (even on a GTX 1080)
    - Takes a lot more time to produce realistic looking landscapes than compared to the competition
    - No tiled export (don't know if it's planned for the future)
    - No tablet support
    - A bit difficult import of some height map formats which requires deep knowledge of the formats (type X amount of several <value> slots to get it to import correct)
    - Masks are a bit low quality/non usable for *my* needs




    So where do they all fit in with each other in a pipeline?
    So far this have been my workflow:
    - Create base shape in WC2 (because WM is a bit slow at that when you need to *design* something, and Gaea does not have such features yet)
    - Bring height map from WC2 into WM (or Gaea), add whatever needs be done to refine, and either
    a) bring heightmap back into WC2 to combine with other height maps or base landscape
    b) call it a day and export masks and texture etc. from WM
    - bring into ZBrush for even finer detailed adjustments
    Last edited by OlaHaldor; 06-25-2018 at 02:35 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OlaHaldor View Post
    - Create base shape in WC2 (because WM is a bit slow at that when you need to *design* something, and Gaea does not have such features yet)
    OlaHaldor, that's a great review! I completely agree to your findings. For output quality, the WM + GeoGlyph combination is best so far.

    About WM being slow for the *design* (I assume you mean basic shapes and splines for mountains, rivers, paths etc.): The dev has fixed this is build 3021 build I think. My maintenance is expired and I have only access up to build 3019. And yes, that's something I miss in Gaea and hope it will be included in future.

    So based on your review, I think it would be good for me to renew my World Machine Pro maintenance in order to get the newest builds. The dev is much more active in the recent months than last year (where there was complete silence). Also helpful for me are your findings about World Creator 2.

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    Registered User jaf's Avatar
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    Just would add this concerning World Machine -- it appears to be dying. I know there was a release a couple months back, but not much information from the developer as to future development. His email about the last release included a link to "contact me" and I did, asking about future development, but no word back (or in the forum.)
    05Aug18: Lightwave 2018.6 Build 3069, win10 x64, AMD Ryzen 1800, 64 GB mem, EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 ti v399.07 (30aug18)

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    Super Member OlaHaldor's Avatar
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    He's released three or four builds since December. It's not dying. Even if it is; it's still very solid. I wouldn't swap it for anything, 'just because'.
    Looking at the alternatives (Gaea and WC2), WM is still king (until further notice. My bet? Gaea will take over if WM dies).

    The developer is notoriously bad at keeping in touch with the customers, sadly.

    Last sign of life was May 26th where he writes about a new snow device.
    http://www.world-machine.com/blog/?p=634




    Now, looking at the image above, here's a challenge for you: try to remake that in Gaea or WorldCreator 2. At the moment; that's basically impossible.
    Last edited by OlaHaldor; 06-25-2018 at 06:28 AM.
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    LOL that made my day... in a way it looks similar to the image OlaHaldor has posted :-)

  12. #12
    Registered User jaf's Avatar
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    I like World Machine and have about 500 tmd's I made since 2010. But I'm getting to the age where I hesitate spending money when it doesn't seem the support/development is there. Too many time where Stephen went silent. And I do this as a hobby.
    05Aug18: Lightwave 2018.6 Build 3069, win10 x64, AMD Ryzen 1800, 64 GB mem, EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 ti v399.07 (30aug18)

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    How do you guys implement the generated height maps into LW?

    So far I haven't been very successful.

    I can use the new primitive shapes in 2018, but there is no way to navigate properly because it is only displayed as a simple rectangle, only in VPR I can see the displacement and it's too slow to navigate or make adjustments. Object interaction, placing items etc. wouldn't work because it's not real geometry. I'm not even sure if instancing would work on these (displaced) primitive shapes. Actually I don't find much good use for them.

    Using 8k maps from WM / GG / Gaea would result giant meshes / high memory consumption / slow displacement computation when using subdivided ground plane meshes with such detail.

    In other applications I can see an approximation of the mesh with a deformer / tesselation in the viewport and render with sub poly displacement (with low poly planes) in full detail resolution. Or use Vue xStream (which don't work with 2018).

    What's your workflow (height map to LW) without loosing details?

  14. #14
    Electron wrangler jwiede's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaf View Post
    Just would add this concerning World Machine -- it appears to be dying. I know there was a release a couple months back, but not much information from the developer as to future development. His email about the last release included a link to "contact me" and I did, asking about future development, but no word back (or in the forum.)
    Given how popular World Machine is, all available evidence suggests it'll have to go dark a LOT longer than it has to date before the market turns away from it.
    John W.
    LW2015.3UB/2018.0.5 on MacPro(12C/24T/10.13.6),32GB RAM, NV 1080ti

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    Electron wrangler jwiede's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marander View Post
    LOL that made my day... in a way it looks similar to the image OlaHaldor has posted :-)
    Oh sure, if 4-6 MipMapped-LoD lower, perhaps.
    John W.
    LW2015.3UB/2018.0.5 on MacPro(12C/24T/10.13.6),32GB RAM, NV 1080ti

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