Alpine Fractal Shader
Node Description and Purpose: The Alpine Fractal Shader is an alternative terrain shape shader that creates a more natural, eroded-looking mountainous terrain shape than the basic Power Fractal. Unlike a heightfield erosion effect, the Alpine Fractal Shader is procedural so it retains the detail benefits of procedural terrains, as well as the ability for global coverage. This shader is more demanding to render than the Power Fractal.
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A shader is a program or set of instructions used in 3D computer graphics to determine the final surface properties of an object or image. This can include arbitrarily complex descriptions of light absorption and diffusion, texture mapping, reflection and refraction, shadowing, surface displacement and post-processing effects. In Terragen 2 shaders are used to construct and modify almost every element of a scene.
A heightmap or heightfield is an array of height values, usually in a grid which describe the height at specific points in a defined area. Heightfields are used to represent real-world and virtual terrain in a specific, easily converted format. Most heightfields can be represented as simple image data in grayscale, with black being minimum height and white being maximum height.