Terragen 3 uses a sophisticated shader system to enable complex texturing and surface manipulation. A multitude of built-in shaders are available to build compelling, realistic surfaces, or you can go to town with custom function networks that can control colour textures, displacement shaders, masking functions, object distributions and more. The pre-defined shaders cover a wide variety of effects, including specular, reflectivity, and transparency, enabling highly realistic water effects. Shaders can also affect the displacement of surfaces, adding detail and realism to the terrain.
Shaders can be used to mask other shaders, and multiple shaders can be blended together in an infinite variety of ways to recreate the diviserity of the natural world. While Terragen 3's strength is in procedural functions, you can also load external image maps to apply to any part of your scene, mixing them seamlessly with your procedural textures. Shaders can also be applied to objects, so you can leverage the power of Terragen 3's procedural functions to add realism and detail to your imported objects.
Basic shader control can be handled with ease through a streamlined heirarchical node list, but the true power of the system lies in the node network, where you can create completely unique effects through free-form shader network construction. The basic shaders provide familiar and easy to use texturing controls, tailored to the needs of terrain. When you need more control to create a complex effect, a full set of mathematical building block nodes is provided to construct your own shaders.
Of course Terragen 3 is not limited to pure realism. You can create unique and bizarre effects with creative use of the normal shaders, and go well beyond the boundaries of our normal reality with use of the function nodes. Terragen 3 provides truly endless possibilities in scene creation.
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Going into TRON:Legacy I had experience supervising shows requiring a lot of atmospheric work so I wasn't particularly concerned about that aspect. The deeper we got into the show however the more and more demanding the work became. Tron:Legacy was a show on a different level, and it required solutions and results both artistically and technically on a different level. Terragen delivered! With it artists filled the "grid" with heavily art directed and detailed cloudscapes. And you couldn't rely on any "tricks" because this was a stereo show that demanded a completely immersive experience.
I think its would be a crime to only mention the software and not the designer and programmer behind it, Matt Fairclough provided to us unbelieveable support, custom coding, retooling, and improving aspects to the software allowing the art direction that was needed. I will never hesitate to recommend Matt and his software to anyone needing "world building". I dare you to try it, you will not be disappointed!
Chris Harvey, VFX Supervisor - Prime Focus
Have your questions answered by the Planetside team and other Terragen users in our online forums. Planetside Forums