Vue Terrain Software

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The advent of virtual landscapes goes hand in hand with the advent of GC and fractal imagery.

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  • We are witnessing a boom, and 3D Environments design software specializes more and more. Today, it is possible to achieve breathtaking environments and stunning realism with relative ease.

    Below I’ve compiled seven types of software tools you can use to create absolutely stunning 3D environments.

  • The current leader of landscaping generators, Vue d’Esprit, is published in 1992 by the French software developer e-on. At the time, Vue looked a lot like Bryce, another 3d decorating software. But while Bryce stagnated in an evolutionary impasse, Vue continued to improve. Its capacity to generate complex and photorealistic terrains has been supplemented by the possibility of setting up a sky, atmospheres, and vegetation.

    The application is now regularly used by VFX companies to create sets for big-budget movies like The Avengers, How To Train Your Dragon, The Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.

  • Vue has everything you need to create beautiful landscapes, and is available in many versions at different price levels, from the free Pioneer View to Infinite View – which is available for free in Personal Learning Edition. Another application that has existed for ages, Terragen appeared in the late 90s, version 2.0 in April 2009 and version 3.0 in October 2013.

  • The program is a landscape generator that prides itself on its realism. It supports the rendering of global lighting, and its results are often breathtaking when detailed landscapes are associated with naturalistic skies.

  • It has a multi-pass rendering, generates HDR and can also export detailed landscapes for use in other applications (although the resulting files can be massive).

    Good results are relatively easy to obtain, but the artist’s unfriendly interface and node-based digital structure mean that it takes dedication and a lot of experimentation to master the software. DEM Earth is a plugin for Cinema 4D and Maya. He is not a standalone logician, but because he is unique, useful, and unreasonably intelligent, he fits perfectly in this list.

    DEMs, or Digital Elevation Maps, describe a planet’s terrain with real data that can be downloaded and used to move a polygonal mesh. However, finding them is difficult, and getting them to work correctly is even trickier. DEM Earth automates the entire process for you. DEM uploads data and creating subdivision surface meshes, assembling satellite imagery to create texture maps, and even generating representations of the most important buildings on the site.

    Essentially, DEM EARTH makes it easy to create 3D Environments from elevation data and satellite imagery.
  • Whether for the photorealistic representation of large areas or the rapid creation of vast fantasy worlds, DEM Earth is excellent. This Windows application exists since 2005. World Machine does not have the scenic features of other applications but focuses on creating authentic terrains – such as high-pitch maps or polygonal meshes – which are then exported for use in-game engines or applications.

    It uses a system of nodes, connecting the functions that determine the shape and slope of the earth, as well as valleys, cracks, and crevices that give the impression of being eroded by the forces of nature.

    You can carve the earth much as you wish.

  • You can navigate your landscapes in 3D Environments, then select a region of interest to export for use in the application or game engine of your choice.

    Product of a One-Man software company in Australia, L3DT – or Large 3D Terrain Generator – is another application for creating and editing terrain.

    The user creates a raw design map for his landscape, and the application generates afield from that data.

    From here you can add artifacts such as erosion, terraces, cliffs and so on, or take things in hand and sculpt the shape of your choice in the 3D editor.

    The final terrain can be exported as with bitmaps, displace, texture, normal, bump, and even shadow data for use in other applications or game engines.

    Compared to the other solutions listed here, TerraRay is pretty basic.

    The app is a simple field builder and rendering, allowing you to draw a landscape and then add rocks, water, and sky and produce a global rendering.

    It is straightforward to use and, with a little work, can be helpful to create images that could be useful for backdrops or as a starting point for a more detailed matte painting. It’s a shame that maps can not be exported for external use, but for ten dollars, it’s not a bad deal to get into creating environments.

    Developed by Eric Wenger and German artist Kai Krause, KPT Bryce appeared in 1994 as a fractal landscape generator.
  • MetaCreations then bought it and was the leader in environmental design, before losing notoriety by becoming slower and completely buggy. It was sold to Corel in 2000, again to DAZ 3D in 2004. Version 7 of Bryce is now available as freeware, but it is unlikely that it will work on your operating system unless you are still on Win7 or Vista or OS X 10.6 and lower. It seems that this app is in agony, which is a shame because, in the right hands, it can do wonders. His good days are clearly behind him, but for the honor, and all of the work he put in, we include him in this top all the same. Try out these wonderful additions to your photographic work and make a 3D environment that others only dream about.

    Vue is an advanced 3D modelling and animation application aimed at both professional and aspiring designers, bundling a comprehensive set of tools and functions that can unleash their creativity and help them generate complex and realistic 3D scenes.
    Its diverse editing and modelling options are comprised within an intuitive working environment that makes it suitable for novices.
    Furthermore, the integrated tutorial and the help files are designed to answer all your questions and get you acquainted with all the functions.
  • The rich object library enables you to create the scene sketch with just a few clicks.

    It enables you to generate height-field and procedural terrains, insert plants and rocks or use meta-clouds for the sky.

  • There are various other geometrical shapes and objects that you can work with, such as spheres, cylinders, cubes, cones and pyramids.

    Vue comes with options to configure the lighting system and enables you to customize the view by adding your own camera to change the perspective. Also, it includes a set of predefined collection of atmosphere settings, which define the lighting type for a specific time of the day. It features an integrated editor that enables you to make adjustments to all the objects, change materials and dimensions or add various effects to enhance its appearance and make it more realistic.

  • The built-in animation wizard can assist you in implementing motion to objects in the scene by defining trajectories, setting way points, altitudes and other parameters.

    The application can render the 3D model at various resolutions, full HD included. Relying on a powerful engine, it can deliver astonishing, photo-realistic 3D scenes. Combining a versatile feature set with an intuitive interface, Vue can assist you in creating accurate designs, bringing a still image to life.

    It is a great choice for those who plan on learning 3D modelling, enabling them to focus on the design, rather than light, shadows and other similar elements.

  • Vue is part of these download collections: AI Viewer, Open LWO, Convert LWO, Make 3DS.

    LIMITATIONS IN THE UNREGISTERED VERSIONWatermark on output file.You cannot import 3D models.No technical support.Files will be readable only on the PC where the application is installed.Nag screen.SYSTEM REQUIREMENTSCPU: 2GHz Pentium IV or better.RAM: 1 GB (4 GB recommended).Display: 1024x768 in 65K colors/16 bits (24+ bits recommended).200 MB of free hard disk space.

  • Watermark on output file. You cannot import 3D models.

    No technical support. Files will be readable only on the PC where the application is installed. CPU: 2GHz Pentium IV or better. RAM: 1 GB (4 GB recommended). Display: 1024x768 in 65K colors/16 bits (24+ bits recommended).

  • 200 MB of free hard disk space. New in Vue 2015.2 Build 007627:Rendering and Performance:High-amplitude Displacement Mapping:Swifter rendering.Supports strong distortions of object surfaces.Read the full changelog .

    Rendering and Performance:. High-amplitude Displacement Mapping:. Swifter rendering. Supports strong distortions of object surfaces. This enables Disqus, Inc. to process some of your data. Disqus privacy policy. add to watchlistsend us an update. top alternatives FREE. top alternatives PAID. In this series of Vue tutorials, we will explore the different types of terrains Vue has to offer and how to modify them using the Terrain Editor. Software required: Vue 10 xStream. Get thiscourse plus top-rated picks in tech skills and other popular topics. Expanded library. This course and over 7,000+ additional courses from our full course library.

  • Hands-on library. Practice and apply knowledge faster in real-world scenarios with projects and interactive courses. Give up to 10 users access to our full library including this course free for 14 days. Know exactly where everyone on your team stands with. In this series of Vue tutorials, we will explore the different types of terrains Vue has to offer and how to modify them using the Terrain Editor.
  • We will begin by learning how to create and modify the different types of terrains in Vue xStream.

    Then we'll ease into using the Terrain Editor, where we'll learn how to use most of the major tools used to create some amazing terrains. Software required: Vue 10 xStream. Introduction and Project Overview.

    Terrains in Vue. Get thiscourse plus top-rated picks in tech skills and other popular topics. Expanded library. This course and over 7,000+ additional courses from our full course library.

    Hands-on library. Practice and apply knowledge faster in real-world scenarios with projects and interactive courses.

    Give up to 10 users access to our full library including this course free for 14 days.

    Know exactly where everyone on your team stands with.
  • You must just be careful with cryengine as the TAC does not allow you to save any still images for any use other than creating promotional material for a game that runs on the engine. I wrote to them asking if I could use it to create book covers and was told that I could not. That may be the same for unreal, but I haven't looked into that yet.

    Cryengine has a stupidly limited license. I would encourage anyone to read it thoroughly before putting it to any use.

  • I have Bryce 7 ..never use it
    I still have an old copy of vue 6 on my mac
    and it produces better images than Bryce
    at an exponetially faster speed.

    Bryce is stuck in a 32 bit , 1990's wasteland.
    and when you use its GI or HDRI your render times
    becomes unacceptably long.
    and then there is that obvious "Bryce look" to all it
    produces.

    My advice is vue or terragen.

  • I'm guessing that the website downtime is due to a major change to make the website more integrated/manageable with Bentley Systems web infrastructure (thought this would happen right after Bentley took over, not 2 years later).

    Like th3Digit noted, it sounds like you found the right landscaping software for you. The important thing is that you are getting results with Vue, and so far seem to be struggling with Terragen.

    I think the one possible plus to Terragen, IIRC, is that it is created/programed buy two people, so it really is a labor of love, and users have noted that they are very responsive. The down side is it is done by two people, so innovation and support is limited to them. Terragen users really love it, and it does create some awesome images.

    As a side note, Blender has also been getting more landscape creation support. It has a tree generator, at least 2 different landscape generators (one free, the other is about $10), terrain shaders, and a lot of tutorials on landscape creation. the plus with blender is you also have all of the other tools available that come with Blender. The cost in terms of $$ is outstanding with Blender, however the learning curve may be more costly than Vue, but possibly about the same as Terragen????

    But Vue has some really great landscape creation/population tools, and is designed specifically for landscaping, so it will no doubt be easier to get the results you want than Blender. I have Vue 2016 Complete (and an old version of Infinite), but haven't used it enough to really be of any help. I got it for other projects I am working on. I actually started with Vue Esprit, and did the gradual module upgrade process to get to Vue Studio, then upgraded to Complete during the 2016 pre-release sale, so the ouch ($$$$) factor wasn't quite as bad, and by grabbing the modules when they were on sale the cost was about the same (maybe a bit less, like $10-$20). For my intended purpose, Vue will work very well, and simplifies the project a bit compared to other software options (recreation of a large archeological site/complex). The ability to create "roads", or other cultural features on the landscape via splines introduced with Vue 2016 is a critical element for me (will save me a lot of time). As a side note here, I've been using Carrara for the same purpose for years, but I want/need to get more realism/detail that is rather difficult to achieve in Carrara. The area I'm working on has a lot of cliffs/canyons, and Carrara doesn't have any good way to create displacement along a canyon walls (to mimic sedimentary layers). Vue does this very well, and the ecosystem painter will also help a lot with my project.

    Bentely Systems has been around for a long time, so I don't think you need to worry about Vue going away. I'm hoping that it will actually get a little more GIS/CAD friendly now, since that it their main focus, and it would help for what I do (outside of the fun I have with DS).

  • For me, it was never any other choice but Vue. I'm familiar with the interface, which hasn't changed all that much in nearly 20 years and it's the first 3D software I ever used. It also makes lovely skies, atmospheres and landscapes, tho I will agree that Terragen landscapes are just as beautiful (and sometimes are better looking than) Vue's. But with all the drawbacks that Vue has with render times (back in the day I used to have renders going for a WEEK...lol), I personally see more drawbacks for me with Terragen. So I guess I'll have to wait until they reappear, whenever that is.

    Laurie

  • I don't have a problem with exporting Daz figures into Vue...I used to do it long long ago with Vue and Poser figures (long before there was Poser integration). I mostly just wanted to do some realistic landscapes (and potentially some skies).

    Laurie

    Vue is pretty good about importing static figures, but being able to adjust poses of figures within VUE is a feature that would be perfect for what I want to do.

    Also, once I saw the demonstration of the plant movement animation with wind, and the "ShimmerWind" wind-on-water-surface animation plug-in (ooooh shiny! Flashy lights!) I was sold!

    If you export your Daz characters in collada format you will get all textures, you get all of the bone structure and can pose the character in Vue, and you can import your character with animations created in Daz Studio. Just make sure to set the preset in your collada export to generic collada. Exporting in collada format does make your character have a mirror finish when opened in vue. You just have to turn the reflection down for each texture to get rid of this.

    Vue also has a product called skinvue, which allows you to customize the skin to give an almost photoreal look. You can even add wet drips and drops, blood, and dirt to the skin. I have not gotten skinvue to work in Vue 2016 yet, though it works very well in earlier versions.

  • I don’t believe the downtime was scheduled but it’s quite possible they’re taking advantage of it to do some upgrade/integrations that they’d otherwise be doing later— that’s a good idea and very reassuring.

    I think a lot of people have been worried under the new ownership because I guess they were expecting more frequent updates than have been happening.

    I’ve seen a lot of really spectacular planetscapes with Terragen. Is that a particular feature of the software or just the tendencies of the users?

  • edited January 2018

    I don’t believe the downtime was scheduled but it’s quite possible they’re taking advantage of it to do some upgrade/integrations that they’d otherwise be doing later— that’s a good idea and very reassuring.

    I think a lot of people have been worried under the new ownership because I guess they were expecting more frequent updates than have been happening.

    I’ve seen a lot of really spectacular planetscapes with Terragen. Is that a particular feature of the software or just the tendencies of the users?

    I'm quite sure it's the skill of the user, like it is with everything (even Vue). I've seen some landscapes done in Blender that would blow BOTH of those softwares out of the water, but that doesn't mean I want to do landscapes in Blender. LOL I think Vue will at least do planets in the sky now, but I could be wrong about that. Everything seems to blend together at times when I'm looking at a bunch of different softwares that do similar things. LOL

    Laurie

    Post edited by AllenArt on
  • I’ve seen a lot of really spectacular planetscapes with Terragen. Is that a particular feature of the software or just the tendencies of the users?

    Both. People do it because they realize "holy crap you can make an entire procedural planet" and that bug gets stuck in their head.

  • By the sound of e-on's facebook page, it looked like they needed some maintenence over the holiday and since most were on vacation, they got someone that really wasn't up to the task. Now that they've started, they've got to follow thru to the end, even with sub-standard help. Oh well...if it was me, I'd have waited ;). Of course, maybe they couldn't wait. Who knows.

    Laurie

  • If you export your Daz characters in collada format you will get all textures, you get all of the bone structure and can pose the character in Vue, and you can import your character with animations created in Daz Studio. Just make sure to set the preset in your collada export to generic collada. Exporting in collada format does make your character have a mirror finish when opened in vue. You just have to turn the reflection down for each texture to get rid of this.

    Vue also has a product called skinvue, which allows you to customize the skin to give an almost photoreal look. You can even add wet drips and drops, blood, and dirt to the skin. I have not gotten skinvue to work in Vue 2016 yet, though it works very well in earlier versions.

    Many thanks for comfirming the Collada route, I have heard conflicting accounts! I recently purchased SkinVue and I have VUE 2015, so that should work. Hopefully they will be back up so that I can download and activate programs.

  • and then there is that obvious "Bryce look" to all it
    produces.

    Bryce has many limitations (due to lack of development) but that isn't one of them.

  • edited January 2018

    .

    and then there is that obvious "Bryce look" to all it
    produces.

    You have got to be joking a Bryce look? No way. Peruse some of the render threads in the Bryce forum and then describe what look it is you mean

    This one for example https://direct.daz3d.com/forums/discussion/68441/bryce-render-challenge-surreal-worlds-we-have-winners/p1

    Post edited by Chohole on
  • Get them to update it so it's 64-bit and can run on macOS Sierra/High Sierra, and _then_ I might consider it.

  • Get them to update it so it's 64-bit and can run on macOS Sierra/High Sierra, and _then_ I might consider it.

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