Join Aaron F. Ross for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding a terrain layout, part of Up and Running in VUE.
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- In the following chapter we'll explore Vue's powerful tools for terrain modeling. We can create landscapes either by sculpting or by using generative algorithms or in fact by combination of those two techniques. First, we want to get started by learning about layout and some display options that'll help to simplify your workflow. The Vue developers have provided us with a handy sample scene that will get us started and that's the Simple Landscape.
And you can get to that from the Welcome Panel. Just launch Vue and the Welcome Panel will appear. Or if Vue is already running you can choose, from the Help Menu, show Welcome Panel. And once you got that Welcome Panel up just click on Simple Landscape. In this scene we can see that there are multiple terrain objects and I can zoom in with the mouse wheel. And move the top view around with the right mouse button. Now all of these objects here look a little bit different but in fact they're all just the same object instanced multiple times.
And they've been scaled and positioned and cropped so that they look different. When we select one of these in one of the panels it highlights in bright blue. If we select in the World Browser down here not only does the object get selected but the view panels here all move around in order to frame the selected object. And that might be a little bit confusing having things jump around like that so if you want to turn that off you can go to the Options.
File. Options. And in the Display Options under View Options you have center views on objects selected in your World Browser. You can turn that off if you want and click OK. Now when you select things your view ports don't change. So that we can see what we're doing a little bit better we can load up the Perspective View. Go over to the Side View and click on the button to access the View Display Options and choose Perspective View.
And at least on my system it's over-exposed, the lighting is too intense so I can turn the lighting off once again from the View Display Options and turn off Light From Scene. And then finally I can frame the selected object. Just right click to get the context menu and, of course, if you're on a one button mac you can hold down the control key and click with the mouse button. Get that context menu and then chose Frame Selected Objects. Maybe dolly in a little bit.
Then use the right mouse button and middle mouse buttons to frame the shot a little bit better. And in order to see this even better we can turn off the ground plane. There is a ground plane here that is the same material as the terrains and additionally the ground plane is also providing a grid. We can go back into our World Browser, select the Ground and then click on the little padlock icon, that's the lock. Once you click that then you get a little bar that indicates it's hidden, or shy.
And then when you click off of that object you can see that we have a view port background that's a different color from these terrains. That just makes it a little bit easier for us to see where the boundaries of those terrains are. The other display thing that I'd like to point out to you is that by default when you select an object its wireframes are going to be drawn on top of all other objects and that can be a bit confusing. I can dolly back on the Top View here and select for example this large terrain object in the back and then let's look at this in the Front View.
As I select different objects they look like they're in front of everything else, even though they're not. This is a large terrain object that is in the back of the shot here, in my scene, and since it's selected it's being drawn on top of everything else. This makes it difficult for me to understand how things are laid out in my scene and I want to turn that behavior off. Go into the Display Menu and turn off Show Selection Wireframe On Top.
And now it's not hiding everything else. It's pretty useful, I think, and additionally it creates a sort of hidden line effect. The wireframes that are on the back face are occluded behind other surfaces are not being drawn and that's going to make it a lot easier for us to navigate our scene and figure out what we're doing. Last, let's look at the size of these terrain objects. I'll select any one of them and go to the Object Properties Panel and choose the Numerics tab.
And click on the Size button and now we're looking at the scale transforms and we've got a really handy read-out here of the absolute size of the selected object. We can change that behavior from this button here, which is labeled Display Objects True Dimensions. And when it's on we see the absolute measurement of the selected object, it's telling me that the object is about one kilometer on a side. If I turn that off then I see the scale values and this tells me that the object is about unity scale in the width and length but it's been scaled down or flattened in height.
I'm using Y as my up axis in this particular install of Vue. If I wanted to I could set this to a value of one, for example, and that's going to make the landscape taller. Or I could go back to displaying the absolute size or true dimensions and now it's telling me the landscape is about 50 meters in height. If I want it to be some specific value I could type in like 40 meters for example and press enter.
Author Aaron F. Ross covers sculpting and procedurally generating terrain, adding realistic lighting and atmospherics, and creating thousands or even millions of natural objects such as trees, rocks, and plants in an instant with EcoSystems. With VUE's powerful tools and Aaron's instruction, you'll have everything you need to start building landscapes, oceans, atmospheres, ecosystems, and other realistic digital worlds.
- Installing VUE
- Navigating the interface
- Manipulating objects
- Adjusting sunlight and clouds
- Sculpting terrains
- Generating procedural terrains
- Editing materials
- Adding water, rocks, and plants
- Rendering your VUE environments