Terragen Classic – For people who are too busy/lazy to draw landscape scenery for their VN projects

December 11, 2009

A few days ago, JinzouTamashii introduced me to a program called Terragen Classic. You may be wondering what the fuck is Terragen? Well… to put in in simple terms, it’s a 3D program that can generate large and beautiful landscape scenes quickly and cheaply.

So what does this has to do with Visual Novels you ask? Well… let’s say you need a BG for your VN project say a bunch of mountains. You could either (1) draw it manually, that is… if you could draw. And even if you could draw you probably don’t have much freetime (2) download a photo from the interwebs and use photoshop or any other editing software to filter it beyond recognition. Dirty but fast and does the job but not quite. It looked good but it’s not really flexible enough (3) Use Terragen and let it do the dirty work for you… either because I’m lazy or don’t have freetime…

Let’s take a closer look at this software.

Here is Terragen’s workspace. It looks daunting at first… no… it really is daunting. You got plenty of buttons and inside them are more buttons and a couple of sliders so Terragen really is not for absolute beginners. Good thing the documentation is easy enough to understand and yet comprehensive enough.

After reading the documentation… it’s time to play with it a bit. After pressing a few buttons, adjust a few sliders, a few clicks here and there, render it… I got this (see image below)

After creating some mountains, it’s time adjust the cameras and choose a good spot to view… look at that (see image below)

Now the good thing about this software is it’s ability to change the direction, elevation and even the color of sunlight. Meaning you could have a dawn, morning, noon, afternoon, dusk and evening version of the same scene by simply adjusting a few sliders here and there.

…and after a few adjustments

As of writing, I barely scratch the surface of this magnificent piece of software. Not only you could have mountains, you can also have lakes, clouds… just about everything even the kitchen sink (via the import command) With practice and patience, you could have something that looked like this (see image below)

To fully maximize the potential of this program, I really do recommend getting a “decent” computer with “decent” computing power but it’s still suprizingly performs fast enough after testing it on crappy Eeepc’s.

Functionality wise. Terragen Classic (which is free) is quite limited compared to it’s commercial counterpart (which is NOT free and slightly expensive) but still had enough features to do the job.

I really highly recommend this program.

Terragen can be acquired here.

One comment

  1. Please don’t get the wrong idea. It’s good to reference but it’s also important to learn to paint and detail things on your own, with a reference nearby but not directly beneath, if you get me. I mean, I’m still learning to do it…

    Also, you will want to take a look at this: http://www.3dtotal.com/forums_frameset/index.php?e=http://www.3dtotal.com/tutorial/photoshop/3d_for_digital_painting/digitalpainting01.php

    That’s where I’m going to be in a year.

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