Quick Start

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If you really want to get started quickly, here is a short step-by-step run-down of how to get a basic scene in Terragen 4. You can find more complete details on how to create a nice, basic scene in Creating Your First Scene. These are essentially the same steps that we go over there, however no explanation or detail is provided here. It is simply a series of steps to arrive at a basic scene for those who want a very quick overview and who prefer to experiment on their own from there. Feel free to explore and experiment but if you get lost don't forget that Creating Your First Scene offers a lot more detailed explanation and instruction.

  1. Start Terragen
  2. You will see a default scene with gray terrain and no clouds
  3. Switch to the Shaders layout
  4. Click on Base colours
  5. Click on the Color tab
  6. Change each color ("Apply high color" and "Apply low color") to a shade of brown by clicking on the colored square on the far right and selecting your color, then clicking OK
  7. Now click Add Layer above the Node List and select Surface Layer
  8. Click on the newly created surface layer if it is not selected by default
  9. Using the instructions above, change the default white colour to a greenish-yellow to represent grass
  10. Click on the Altitude constraints tab
  11. Turn on Limit maximum altitude using the check box, then set Maximum altitude to about 300 or until you start to see brown mountain tops in the preview
  12. Click on the Slope constraints tab
  13. Turn on Limit maximum slope and set the Maximum slope angle to about 25 with the Max slope fuzzy zone at about 10
  14. Click on the Coverage and breakup tab
  15. Set Coverage to 0.7
  16. Set Fractal breakup to 1.0
  17. You may want to do a test render to see how things look; press F3 (Windows) or Command-1 (Mac) to bring up the Render window then press the Render button
  18. Add a Snow-like surface layer using what you have learned from adding the grass layer above (hint: use minimum altitude restriction instead of maximum altitude)
  19. Switch to the Lighting layout
  20. Click on the Sunlight 01 nodeA single object or device in the node network which generates or modifies data and may accept input data or create output data or both, depending on its function. Nodes usually have their own settings which control the data they create or how they modify data passing through them. Nodes are connected together in a network to perform work in a network-based user interface. In Terragen 2 nodes are connected together to describe a scene. to adjust the sunlight settings
  21. Use the Heading and Elevation controls to find a lighting angle that you like – specifics will vary depending on the camera angle you have chosen
  22. Switch to the Atmosphere layout
  23. Click on the Add Cloud Layer button above the Node List and select Mid-level: Altocumulus Castellanus, Small
  24. Do a render test to see how your scene is progressing (note that the addition of a cloud layer will slow down render time)
  25. Click on the newly created cloud layer
  26. Decrease Cloud depth to 1000 (from 2000)
  27. Reduce Coverage to about 0.3
  28. Render your scene again to see how the clouds look and if you are satisfied, move on
  29. If there is noise in your cloud shading, we'll solve that with the main render settings next
  30. Go to the Renderers layout
  31. Click on Render 01 in the Node List
  32. Set Anti-aliasing to 4
  33. Do a final render
  34. Save your image with the Save button
  35. Congratulations, you've created your first Terragen image!