Planetside Software Forums

General => User-contributed Tutorials => Topic started by: digitalguru on March 14, 2016, 02:50:55 PM

Title: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: digitalguru on March 14, 2016, 02:50:55 PM
Hi all,

I've just posted a video tutorial on how to export a Terragen terrain as a vector displacement map.

Useful for rendering in an external application as vector displacement, or exporting the terrain to a sculpting program to refine and then re-importing to Terragen.

Terragen project files attached.

Hope you find it useful, comments and feedback very welcome!

https://youtu.be/bTKfAeEPDhY
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: zaxxon on March 14, 2016, 09:43:39 PM
First off:  that is one seriously well done tutorial! I watched thru it twice and was able to follow the steps as well as the logic, and it will definitely serve as a great reference for anyone who wants to export TG terrains into other 3D apps. I'm glad you showed some of the steps in using the VDM in Mudbox.  Having used an earlier .tgd of yours and successfully creating a VDM in .exr format I still had issues bringing it in to Mudbox. Specifically in using  an 8k plane created in Max (using meters as units), or in scaling up a native Mudbox plane. The plane is just SO big and adjusting the far clipping plane seems a bit tricky. :( Also, I received an error message in Mudbox in the 'Sculpt from Map' tool that I had "multiple exr images". I'm sure there is some sort of error in my application of these steps (I seem to have a penchant for complicating even the most straight-forward of instructions!). To my mind this is a very significant technique, and is a big boost to the appeal of TG. I'm a big fan and user of World Machine, however even WM can't accomplish the varied lateral displacements that TG produces. Thanks again Digitalguru (indeed!), great job at following up on an offhand comment and researching and creating this super workflow! 
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: digitalguru on March 14, 2016, 09:58:58 PM
Hey Doug,

Glad you liked it  :)

Quote
The plane is just SO big and adjusting the far clipping plane seems a bit tricky

Just set your Mudbox cameras Far Plane to 1,000,000

Quote
Also, I received an error message in Mudbox in the 'Sculpt from Map' tool that I had "multiple exr images".

You probably have a couple of files, with a number appended at end like - "terragen_vector.0001.exr" or similar - Mudbox thinks it's part of multi UV tile (UDIM) set. You can simply rename the file to a unique name without any numerical characters and reload.

Hey, you might know this, when you set a file name in the Render Sequence/Output tab, Terragen will always create the "%04d" token evern if you only render out a single frame or a sequence of only one frame - is there a way to turn that off?
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: TheBadger on March 15, 2016, 04:07:56 PM
Tear it up Zaxxon!  8)

Thanks DG!

Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Hannes on March 16, 2016, 09:59:04 AM
Wow, thanks a lot. This is quite a tutorial!!!
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: bobbystahr on March 16, 2016, 02:39:03 PM
Well done tute...should move terrain creation for TG along nicely for anyone with Mudbox or the like. Some day I hope to have it as well, but am simply pleased that such a straight forward tute exists for those who can use it now and me in the future. PS should hire you to write tutes and wiki entries as you have a very palatable style.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Dune on March 18, 2016, 03:09:13 PM
Good tutorial indeed. A lot of people will benefit from this! I've got one comment, but not having done this myself, I might overlook something... why not just check off render atmo and render planet in the planet node to have just the RGB view, or disable the planet when rendering the exr? And when working on the scene, disable the planet copy?
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: digitalguru on March 18, 2016, 03:23:50 PM
Absolutely, you could do that and enable it with your way of working in TG.

As Matt mentioned in the other post, Terragen has a lot of flexibility with the low level tools to approach it in many different ways.

For me, setting it up this way means all the nodes can stay attached, and nothing needs to be re-plugged or turned off. If I need to re-render the vector map I just select the bake render node and render to disk.


Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Dune on March 19, 2016, 07:53:04 AM
Thanks, DG.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: digitalguru on March 19, 2016, 02:12:11 PM
One example of using this method I overlooked could be to "bake" out terrains.

If you have a terrain that takes a while to compute (the new erosion node or the alpine fractal for example) the terrain could be baked out to the vector map and then brought back in as vector displacement replacing the original node setup.

It would be interesting to see if other users could bake out some of their more extreme terrain setups using this!

This one comes to mind from mhaze

http://www.planetside.co.uk/forums/index.php/topic,21241.0.html
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: TheBadger on March 30, 2016, 08:08:23 PM
Why would this thread have over 700 views but the tut only have 52? Don't want to change the topic at all, but it seems very strange. OR does youtube only count views from logged-in users or something?

Anyway, I watched the tut and used it. Thanks a lot for doing it DG! Really made sense of the discussion in the other thread. Would like to hear your or any voice in future tuts if you make any. But even with out sound it was very helpful. You even went into Mud a bit which was nice to see.

And of course I will take the opportunity to prod Matt to make this process a one click (or two if he insists) function.

Yet another thank you for your time and effort.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: digitalguru on March 30, 2016, 09:45:11 PM
Thanks Badger, glad to hear you found it useful!

Quote
Why would this thread have over 700 views but the tut only have 52?

LIke I noted before, maybe this is more a niche feature in Terragen and many users might not need it. It would be interesting to see how many other folks use Terragen in conjunction with other programs. I'm using it a lot now (especially on my VR entry I'm working on now!).

Quote
Would like to hear your or any voice in future tuts

Oh, I'm a terrible narrator, you don't want to hear that! Maybe I'll put some music on the next one :-)

Seriously though, it would be great to hear if other guys are doing similar things combining TG with other 3d apps, like somebody mentioned - maybe setting up a "pipeline" thread. ILM use Vue for a lot of their shows, I don't see any reason why they shouldn't use Terragen! Especially with the new cloud and preview features coming out in V4...

Quote
And of course I will take the opportunity to prod Matt to make this process a one click (or two if he insists) function.

That would be good, my 2 cents would be addition of Deep export in OpenExr, would be such a great tool to comp images with all that depth information.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: TheBadger on March 30, 2016, 11:04:40 PM
Quote
LIke I noted before, maybe this is more a niche feature in Terragen and many users might not need it. It would be interesting to see how many other folks use Terragen in conjunction with other programs. I'm using it a lot now (especially on my VR entry I'm working on now!).

Yes, thats what I mean. I don't believe it is a niche area for pros. Look at how people use z and mud to build terrains for unity and unreal (for example). This vector stuff opens any soft that can deal with vectors to any other soft that can deal with vectors. And completely removes the need of objects (for terrain at least). Its a universal transfer system. no obj, no fbx, no max, or other bullshit, this file or that nonsense.

I am guessing that the people who are most interested in what you figured are the people just least likely to use their free time in a place like this... Being that they work 8-10 hours a day and don't want to play with it in their personal time. and probably understood what you did from the other thread so did not need a tut.
Or maybe I am wrong and this does not work as well on magical studio computers that cost more than my life and use software written by god?
Anyway, its one or the other, thats all my delicate ego can believe after harping on this for over a year now. :D

Then again, people are slow to catch on sometimes ;)

Quote
Deep export in OpenExr

I think you brought this up before, but I don't know much of anything about it. I guess this is something a compositor would understand well?
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: bla bla 2 on March 31, 2016, 10:57:59 AM
And to export the texture is that possible ?
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Oshyan on March 31, 2016, 07:36:07 PM
ILM are using Terragen now too. :D

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: digitalguru on March 31, 2016, 08:45:35 PM
Quote
ILM are using Terragen now too.

Nice, do you know what they used it on?

Quote
I think you brought this up before, but I don't know much of anything about it. I guess this is something a compositor would understand well?

It's like a zdepth map on steroids  :) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19w3vkFp5X0
https://www.fxguide.com/featured/the-art-of-deep-compositing/

Quote
And to export the texture is that possible ?

Yes, once you've set it up with according to the tutorial it's just the output of the render that gets used as the vector map.

Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Oshyan on March 31, 2016, 09:03:26 PM
Star Wars: The Force Awakens :D
http://planetside.co.uk/galleries/tg-in-film

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: digitalguru on March 31, 2016, 09:43:11 PM
I should look at that page more often  :)
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: paq on April 01, 2016, 03:12:34 AM
Thanks digitalguru, that's indeed very useful to know !
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: TheBadger on April 03, 2016, 08:45:13 PM
Quote
maybe setting up a "pipeline" thread

This will be good. Lets collaborate after the contest. I think there are lots of little things that I am seeing that could be used in many different ways. I think that others would have some great Ideas too.
Also, just straight from one soft to another info will be useful to document.

Having a blast with this. Anything I can't do or just don't know how to do, I can do in other soft and bring it back to TG. lol, I no longer am sad and ashamed I can't use blue nodes cuz I can just get what I want another way ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: bla bla 2 on April 18, 2016, 03:47:09 PM
And if of object in populate we can export the plant, without move again in software ?
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: digitalguru on April 18, 2016, 08:02:08 PM
not sure exactly what you mean, but if you mean exporting population objects, then no.

this only exports anything that can be created  by displacement (terrain , fake stones)
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: TheBadger on April 19, 2016, 05:38:56 AM
when exporting a terrain as an obj, if you turn off RTO, then the plants and stuff you added to the terrain will also export as part of the terrain. I have not tried this yet with the vector, but I am guessing that it would be the same.

Has anyone done that yet?
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Dune on April 19, 2016, 05:43:40 AM
I very much doubt that, as it's not part of the planet.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: TheBadger on April 19, 2016, 06:10:02 PM
Which part?
I know for a fact that you can output an object like I said. This goes back to the Ivy Gen threads. When I was importing the terrain to Ivy gen I sometimes saw that ivy I had already placed was displaced into the mesh, It took me a while to understand that sometimes I had RTO on and sometimes Off when rendering out the mesh.

You would have to explain why exporting a vector Vs a obj of the terrain are different for us to understand why you highly doubt it. Because that would be where the difference must be.

When Matt explained before about how he was thinking about implementing the vector output, he mentions some various ways, including a way that was similar to how an object is exported. But he hasn't yet written about what he actually did since putting the option in.

It had sounded like it worked in a similar way at the time, but I don't want to dig up the threads now to refresh my memory.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Kadri on April 19, 2016, 06:22:43 PM

I tried to export an object population in the past, it didn't work.
No time to test it now. Curious too.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Dune on April 20, 2016, 06:47:39 AM
Objects are separate from the planet (they are not part of it as fake stones are, e.g.), and a pop is a series of instances. I'm pretty sure it would mean (a lot of) work under the hood to export that as an object or grouped object or (let alone) vector.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: AP on April 22, 2016, 08:07:41 AM
Are not instanced objects just only stored in RAM memory anyways? So only one true object is of a real 3d model to be exported and imported alone. Even if it were possible to export an entire population, one can only imagine the massive file size for the amount of polygons generated and saved for exporting.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Oshyan on April 22, 2016, 06:21:03 PM
It's true that for the Micro Exporter, if Raytrace Objects is turned off, it can and will export other geometry, including populations. I don't think this would work for the vdisp export method described in this thread though as it's not using the normal rendering process, which is the reason the micro exporter "trick" works with RTO off. It's not that useful a trick anyway as the geometry is not properly differentiated, i.e. the populated objects are not separate from the terrain in any clear, meaningful way. It's kind of like getting a DEM with tree heights included, rather than bare terrain. Can be useful, but probably not what you're looking for if you want "population export".

- Oshyan
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: TheBadger on April 23, 2016, 12:40:25 AM
Quote
It's true that for the Micro Exporter, if Raytrace Objects is turned off, it can and will export other geometry, including populations. I don't think this would work for the vdisp export method described in this thread though as it's not using the normal rendering process, which is the reason the micro exporter "trick" works with RTO off.
Thank you, Oshyan.

And yes they are huge files.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: AP on April 23, 2016, 02:14:57 AM
Yes, I had forgotten the Raytrace Objects off feature. Not that I would dare to try and export but curious to see if anyone else dares just for the heck of it.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Kadri on April 23, 2016, 03:55:48 AM

I tried it actually earlier. But i might have forgotten to check one of the boxes maybe :)
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Kadri on April 23, 2016, 04:18:01 AM

I just confirmed that i forget something to check. It works as Oshyan said.
Bummer i needed that at that time. Still nice to know that it works.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: AP on April 23, 2016, 09:34:09 PM

I tried it actually earlier. But i might have forgotten to check one of the boxes maybe :)

Cool.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Dune on April 24, 2016, 07:07:40 AM
I tried this yesterday with a pop of ruins (tgo) on some barren ground, and exported. But all I got was the terrain and some broken vertical flat piece of mesh intersecting the terrain. Weird. Did any of you manage to export terrain AND a pop of something as one mesh?
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Kadri on April 24, 2016, 07:32:29 AM

Yes Ulco. That was what i was trying to say above. I exported a population and terrain as one object.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Dune on April 24, 2016, 03:19:40 PM
So why can't I do that? Anything about the objects I need to check or uncheck? They were quite simple tgo's.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: TheBadger on April 24, 2016, 03:32:07 PM
I was just thinking that it may be what soft you use, ulco. When I did it with my TG maze world, I added vines, then exported the terrain which had the vines in order to add more. That is when I saw that the vines I already added where exported as terrain.
I saw that in IvyGen, perhaps some programs read the exported obj differently. As this is a known issue with obj.

By the way, I found that having the vines in exported Terrain, really helped with knowing where to add more and not, so perhaps that is the most practical thing one can do with this.

I also was thinking that, exporting very small pops (say no more than a few square feet of terrain) could be a great way to make super complex vector brushes for Mudbox. I had previously argued that vector out would allow mud to be the sculpt tool for TG. But with the idea we are playing with now, This could be really powerful for mud (and maybe Z?). In theory anyway (and if it is possible to out as vector rather than obj).

Last thing, though I did not save any screen grabs from the ivy scene, I remember very clearly that the ivy exported from TG as terrain was VERY detailed and looked quite good (viewed in IvyGen). My obj files were I recall, running about a gig+ for that and that was way more then a few square feet of terrain, more like many meters.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Dune on April 24, 2016, 03:41:06 PM
How do you mean, what soft? An object is an object in TG, isn't it? I must do some more experiments.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: TheBadger on April 24, 2016, 03:51:26 PM
 just speculation, sorry.

I also recall that i had turned off atom and light and all of those things when rendering, as at the time I believed that would render out of TG faster. You would have to try it or check the IvyGen threads which have all the info I am trying to recall now (that was like in 2010!).

Anyway, its probably just a simple thing you have or don't have clicked, I am sure you will make it work the way you want.

But for sure, you should get a pretty detailed output, depending on the model, and how close you will look at it.

But to be clear, Ulco, you are still talking about OBJ and not vector out, right? I think you are but just making sure if you jumped ahead or not.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: bla bla 2 on April 24, 2016, 04:02:35 PM
This software can read the tgo format?
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Kadri on April 24, 2016, 05:05:31 PM

I am kind of puzzled too Ulco. The last time i tried it it didn't worked too.
Now it is so easy. Just unchecking "Ray trace objects" is enough for the microexporter.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Dune on April 25, 2016, 06:49:51 AM
You're getting me frustrated  >:( ......
Quote
Now it is so easy. Just unchecking "Ray trace objects" is enough for the microexporter.
I did that, also truned of atmo, GI, etc for faster rendering, unchecked RTO, and still no luck. I'll try again today. Not that it's any use to me atm, but I just want to know. And no, Michael, it's not about vector export (yet).
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Kadri on April 25, 2016, 09:07:40 AM

Ulco instead of taking too much of your time, put here just a small-unimportant part of your object that doesn't work and we could see if it doesn't work for us too-or not?
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Dune on April 25, 2016, 09:49:59 AM
Try this, it didn't work for me.

EDIT: I just tried again and got it working in the 32-bit 3.3.04.0 version...
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Kadri on April 25, 2016, 01:03:21 PM

Interesting. I still use the  3.3.03.0   64 bit  version but it works.
This is the TGD file (that really just have the "Ray trace objects" unchecked and a micro exporter added).
The image is from Lightwave with the exported Terragen OBJ file.

Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Dune on April 25, 2016, 01:42:01 PM
Thanks Kadri. I managed to get it working too, same settings indeed. I don't know what went wrong in my 64-bit attempt. I will try that again.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: TheBadger on April 25, 2016, 08:33:19 PM
This software can read the tgo format?

Please be more clear if you can.

But, I think that you mean to ask, what can be output FROM TG? Anything, TG can import,m can be output as an OBJ terrain with RTO off when rendering out an object. The obj can then be read in any other soft depending on memory limits. But MudBox *cannot* read tgo as far as I have ever heard, if that is what you were asking.

good?
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: bla bla 2 on April 27, 2016, 03:17:56 PM
yes, so "Mudbox" can not read the tgo. It's good to know. 8)
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: kmac on June 09, 2016, 06:57:17 PM
can anyone help me out with the conversion math here?

so - say my maya cam exported fbx is at a scale of 100 - keep the geo back and forth at a scale of 1.

if my simple shape is set to a 5000 untit square..

displace a 1x1 plane in mudbox with this 4k vector map - displace with absolute tangent - leave the advanced values at default
limit the displacement value to 10?

export said displaced plane back into maya..

try and get that to line up with the exported obj from the terragen file.. scale of ?

my mudbox knowledge is limited -

right now i know my values are off in this chain, as the displaced geo from mudbox and the exported geo from terragen are not matching... even with what feels like an appropriate scale on the mudbox geo.. the displacement height and the exported terragen geo do not line up.

any help appreciated. It would be great to be able to get cleaner export geo back into maya for holdouts etc.

thanks!

krista
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: kmac on June 09, 2016, 07:44:31 PM
so a displacement value of 5 and then a post scale of 17.5 seems close, but not quite right..
is there a way to get these to actually line up?
in theory it seems there should be?

k
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: bla bla 2 on October 07, 2016, 05:41:21 PM
I can export the track race ?
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: Dune on October 08, 2016, 06:34:19 AM
I would think so, if it's displacement. And it is.
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: jwiede on November 04, 2016, 08:10:37 PM
Hi all,

I've just posted a video tutorial on how to export a Terragen terrain as a vector displacement map.

Useful for rendering in an external application as vector displacement, or exporting the terrain to a sculpting program to refine and then re-importing to Terragen.

Terragen project files attached.

Hope you find it useful, comments and feedback very welcome!

Really appreciate the tutorial, thanks much for taking the time to put it together!  Subscribed!
Title: Re: Export Terragen terrains as vector displacement map
Post by: KlausK on May 29, 2017, 07:49:02 AM
Since there is a lot of talk about exporting terrains from TG to other 3D applications lately I think it might be helpful to re-surface this tutorial about exporting a vector displacement map.
cheers, Klaus