Thursday, July 1, 2010

Vue: love the program, hate the store

Vue landscapes ... foreground by DAZ ... and I am amazed. Absolutely amazed. The realism of these landscapes is phenomenal, and the simplicity of the interface ... it's a joy to use.

Today I decided to leave the presets alone and start from scratch with both the ground and the sky, and twenty minutes later, here we are:

Like Bryce, when you click the equivalent of "make a terrain object," you get a kind of default mountain range. You can scale it up or zoom in on it, and it's still a scale model of Mount Everest, Slap some snow on the top of it and some mist around the bottom, and you get the render you saw yesterday ... too easy.

So then I tried the old double click on the model. And shazam! Open popped the terrain editor. And it's so fully featured, you blink -- and so easy to figure out and to use, you wear a silly grin as you dig holes and wind-erode surfaces, push up table mountains and drive glaciers across them to erode them into realistic shapes.

Next came the sky. No presets today. I popped open the sky generator and decided on the kind of clouds, their density, their opacity, altitude, size and shape, wind direction ... add a layer at low, low level ... yank the land mass up into it, so that there's mist on the shoulders of the hill. Like Scotland's highlands.

The landscape you see here -- and all it needs is heather! -- is just as it was rendered. Not one stroke of post work. Nothing. See the jetstream ... the high clouds torn apart by a big wind up there, and the lower level of "puff clouds," as if the morning's drying out after rain overnight.

Here's the magic: this is what I intended, and I was able to go right into the program and ... do it. Next: add some trees:

No problem so far -- at least, not with the software. However, I blew off half an hour trying to get any sense at all out of the publisher's online 3D model store. Before it'll let you check out your goods, you have to register your version of Vue, which is fair enoug. And I did. Over, and over and over. After the sixth cycle through my attempt at checking out, I gave it up as an utter waste of time. Is the store malfunctioning? I don't know. But it won't work for me, even though I'm ready to give them cash, and I had the first order in the shopping cart. The system just will not let me check out -- every time, I get kicked back to the "register your version of Vue" routine, no matter how many times I go through it, and register, and get a thank you for registering screen.

So I binged over to Renderosity instead, and found some great stuff there. It's too bad that I can't go shopping at the Vue store ( because they have the coolest stuff, but it just won't let me, even though it gave me a proper registration key and has this on file right there in my account. Go figure.

Anyway -- I'll be buying the render engine, RenderUp, soon -- somehow; so I have to get this problem thrashed out because there's nowhere else on the web to buy the expansion modules for Vue. There aren't even any Amazon resellers. Nada. So I shall give this dumb store another shot tomorrow, and then will be contacting tech support. Annoying, isn't it? All those gorgeous toys ... whack 'em into the shopping cart and then it won't let you throw money. Well, harrumph.

So today I just chopped the bottom 20% off the render, used Irfanview to resize it and shipped it right into DAZ as a backdrop. Then you set up the foreground lighting to match, and you're home free. What I want/need are some actual plants and trees to populate woodland ... these, you gotta buy, and Cornucopia3D has the best.

Adventures in Vue.

I'll keep you posted!

Jade, 1 July
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