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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Terragen 2 has been giving me incredible skies and environments for many years now. The team has taken an exponential leap in terms of photographic reality. I have done several projects with Terragen 2 where it has generated lighting and reflection HDRIs and those became the only light source in the 3D renders. With the ability to load georeferenced DEM data so easily and so accurately, guesswork is gone and you can concentrate totally on image fidelity. It's a piece of software I would not do without at this point. A serious primary asset in the tool belt.
Rob Nederhorst, VFX Supervisor - Radium / ReelFX Creative Studios
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