Terragen 3 Coming Soon – Win 1 of 5 Copies

terragen 3 depth of field

Win a copy of Terragen 3 Professional

Back on the 13th of June Planetside Software announced Terragen 3. Don’t expect it in months. Expect it any day now. No specific date was set but July 2013 is the nominated month. It will be available in three versions, “Professional”, “Creative”, and, in keeping with Planetside’s business model, a free version. To promote the upcoming release there are five copies of the program up for grabs – subscribe to the Terragen 3 blog for your chance to win.

Terragen – the brief

To give a little background on the program, Terragen is a 3D terrain and natural scenery creation and rendering program. Matt Fairclough was responsible for the first versions of the program, and continues its development alongside a small team. The history of Terragen is not easy to precisely trace. The oldest version I could dig up was version 0.4. This limited feature demo version is copyrighted 2008, but the ZIP archive contained files as old as 1996, so there could well have been a public release older than this.

Since these early days Terragen has gone on to develop industry standard features and tools that have seen it put to work generating and rendering environments and terrain for film, television and games. Some examples include the recent Man of Steel and at least as far back as 2003’s Gospel of John, and Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.

Terragen has been providing some very good tools for its price for some time now. One aspect that will appeal to many 3D enthusiasts new and old (and just about anyone in the business) is the scalable nature of the program, which can handle everything from the creation of entire planets right down to highly detailed ground level scenes, and even macroscopic style plant renders.

Other key features include: volumetric clouds and realistic atmospheric effects; procedural terrains; large-scale instancing (perfect for quickly generating large vegetated areas); overhanging geometry; global illumination; support for planet scale, and finely detailed but large displacements; anti-aliasing and motion blur; HDR output; node based texture/shader editor.

terragen 3 spherical cameraTerragen 3 features

Reportedly, the price of Terragen 3 is set to increase over previous versions, but as of yet no details have emerged. There is no comprehensive feature list and details about which version of the program will/won’t have access to which features is not yet available. One confirmed feature restriction was that “Creative” won’t have the layered render tools.

The tried and true, though sometimes complex user interface of Terragen has returned much unchanged for all versions of T3. For some this will undoubtedly be disappointing, but a relief for seasoned vets. Terragen is not one of those 3D apps that novices can just dive in and have a tinker and a play, well not for most. Most users would be best directed to hit YouTube or the Planetside forums for some tutorials and pointers.

For Poser/DAZ Studio users, and modellers everywhere the incorporation of FBX support will be a huge plus. What, if any sort of posing tools will be included is not clear, but more advanced export options will always be welcome. Fingers crossed that some form of SSS support will be included.

terragen 3 improved global illumination

Confirmed Features

  • Comprehensive layer and render element output
  • Enhanced 3D preview
  • Updated Global Illumination
  • Improved population control including per-instance editing and color variation
  • Support for FBX and other industry-standard data interchange formats
  • Performance enhancements for localized cloud rendering
  • Object mesh deformation
  • Content library for organizing and accessing scene files, objects, and textures
  • Enhanced DEM format and georeferencing support
  • New spherical camera
  • Depth of Field blur
  • Linux render node

For many, the price of Terragen, when compared to the likes of the feature rich versions of Vue, is well worth the extra time it takes to learn the program, and with these updates it could well be on its way to becoming a serious competitor for many more users. I’ll certainly be carefully watching for more feature and price announcements. Don’t forget to sign up to the blog subscription for your chance to win one of those copies.

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