Saturday, February 16, 2019

Irresistible rascals, and ... let there be landscapes -- good ones!!

First, I wanted a beautiful picture (or, what's the point in bothering?!), second, I wanted a challenge, something to stretch the creative fibers, within the long-established perimeters of well-understood software. The experiment in this render isn't even visible ... but the trick took thirty minutes off the render time!! You can't even see what I did, but the result is a whopping saving in time. You get half an hour back, and that's actually pretty considerable. Then...

That face is 100% painted. This is not from the 3D render at all. I wasn't happy with the face as it rendered up, and didn't have the time to start over, so I thought, "What the hey, I'm supposed to be clever with this stuff, so paint." And I have to say, I'm extremely pleased with the result.

And I do love the depth of field  games I'm playing these days...

Yep, it's soft focus, only the grass heads in focus. Over-painting on everything to get this texture and saturation. The sky started life as a very quick Bryce render (almost the only thing Bryce is good for...), and then a Photoshop fantasia both before and after rendering the content. Nice.

Well, the title of this blog is Adventures in 3D, right? So let's do some adventuring! I call this one, "Assassins on the Job." I wanted the archetypal "irresistible rascals" here. Mission accomplished I think.

And now for something entirely different:

Yes, these are my work. No, they're not photos. And before you race to the conclusion that I've suddenly been able to make Bryce 7 Pro do what it's supposed to do, but won't ...

Honestly I got tired of wasting my time with it, trying to generate realistic terrestrial landscapes. I can make SF worlds, no problem. I can get storybook landscapes that would suit a children's book down to the ground (and they do have their own merit). But I just cannot get Bryce to make a believable earthly landscape that has the photographic quality one expects today. So....

I threw up my hands, looked around for an alternative (on the firm understanding that I can't afford to run Vue, and don't have the hardware to run the program eitherer). Answer: Terragen 4.

Now, years and years ago Dave used to play with the original Terragen, when it was still in its shakedown stage. I was always drooling over his landscapes, green with envy. Well --

What you see here, above, was done inside the first two hours of downloading and installing the free version of Terragen 4. My new laptop (the old one died) will run it (just), and I'm working my way through the interface, learning it the way I do, hands on. It's good for my brain.

Now, before you get excited, Terragen does a lot of this stuff automatically. I have 2% of an idea of what I'm doing at the moment, and it's still taking me for a ride some of the time. For instance, that glorious blue haze ... is there because I can't yet figure out how to turn it off! So, if you're going to get "Smokey Mountain" pictures, you might as well enjoy it, while you learn! So, you have Sunset Mountains, Arctic Sundown, and Blue Mountains ... each final render took about 12 minutes on the laptop, and ... 😀

Now, I just have to learn how to control Terragen properly, make it do what I want. We can save Bryce for fast-rendering backdrop skies or making alien planets. Cooool.
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