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Make Terragen 2 Do What You Want It To

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, and, truth be told, I don’t have time to do it now. But while I’m happily rendering images in Terragen 2, I wanted to post some advice for those of you struggling to navigate in the 3D preview window.

FIXING YOUR SCREWED-UP CAMERA:

For reasons I still don’t understand, the camera can get royally screwed up in the 3D preview. Don’t worry about the lack of description – you’ll see it happen. So make the camera point to the exact spot you want it to, and place it precisely. Here’s how:

Click on the “Cameras” tab on the main interface. In the left panel, click on the “Add Camera” button. “/Camera 01” will appear in the left panel. If you click on it, you’ll be presented with the following interface (image A):

Camera01 Options

Image A: Camera01 Options

That’s great, but your 3D view probably didn’t change. To make it assume the view of the camera, click the small camera button under the 3D view (image B):

3D View Menu

Image B: 3D View Menu

This button is used to control what the 3D view camera does. Normally you’d use the Perspective or other control options, but they are very difficult to control for newbies, especially if you are attempting precise positioning of the camera. So, newbie, click on “Camera 01” at the bottom of the menu and your view will assume its video feed.Now you’re no doubt all excited to begin rendering what Camera01 is seeing. That is just as easy – click the view button right next to the 3D view menu that says “Copy this view to the current render camera” (image C)

Copy View Button

Image C: Copy View Button

And that is it. The render camera is now looking through camera01. This is the strategy now: Make Camera01’s video feed active in the preview window and then click the copy to current render camera button to render what you’re seeing. When you’re done rendering, if you need to move the camera, don’t forget to go back to the view menu and change it back to camera01 to make the 3D view assume camera01’s video feed again (when you click on the copy to current render camera button it changes the video feed of the 3D preview window from camera01 to the render camera).

Now let’s get to the camera controls. The ones you need to be concerned with are the position and rotation fields of the camera control window. If they are all at 0, your camera will be positioned in the center of the world, and not looking up or down. The 2 fields each consist of 3 number entry boxes. Here is what each does:

Rotation: tilt up/down, rotate left/right, tilt sideways (put 20 in there and you’ll get it)
Position: left/right, up/down, forward/back

Now you can go fiddle with settings to your heart’s content, knowing that once you finally get the look you want you can get the render you want too!

SKYBOX RENDERING:

If you’re making a skybox (like I was when struggling with this) make sure to set the Perspective -> “Use Horizontal FOV” to 90 under Camera01’s settings (General tab). Then just take the rotate value and add 90 to it and render that. Do this a total of 3 times (plus a render of the initial position), naming each [filename]N, [filename]S, etc (N, S, E, W for north south east west) – which photo you choose for north really doesn’t matter as long as you keep the names relative to whichever one is north. In other words, just don’t name the photo to the east, or right, of north “south.” That would be confusing when you went to use them. You’ll also need two perfectly vertical shots of the ceiling and floor, so put the camera rotation back to 0 and set the “tilt” to 90 and -90, rendering each time and naming the “up” shot [filename]U and the “down” shot [filename]D.

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