Monday, November 19th, 2018 Posted by Jim Thacker

Planetside Software releases Terragen 4.3

Planetside Software has released Terragen 4.3, the latest version of its landscape-generation software.

The update adds new animation controls to Terragen’s Easy Cloud system; adds new shading and rendering options, including early support for path tracing; and VDB export from Linux render nodes.

All editions: new cloud animation controls
Terragen 4.3 extends the Easy Cloud system added in the 4.0 release – presets mimicking real-world cloud types – with new Evolution and horizontal Drift animation effects.

Both can be controlled with a Time Warp system that lets users vary the speed or direction of the animation.

The update reduces calculation times for the Power Fractal Shader by “about a third”, which Planetside says makes a “big difference” to render times for Easy Cloud effects.

All editions: experimental support for path tracing, new deferred rendering mode
The update also introduces new shading and rendering options, including early support for path tracing.

It’s still a work in progress – it’s only supported on surfaces, and Planetside doesn’t recommend using it in production – but it brings Terragen in line with most render engines like Arnold and V-Ray.

There are accompanying experimental new adaptive sampling options aimed at reducing render times, and reducing noise in scenes with a lot of fine details like vegetation.

Terrgen 4.3 also introduces a new deferred shading mode, intended to improve the anti-aliasing of textures and lighting effects like soft shadows on terrain and other displaced surfaces.

Planetside says that it “may render faster or with higher quality” than normal micropoly rendering.

There are also a number of smaller changes and bugfixes, including better handling of rotation and scale parameters when importing FBX files: you can find a full list via the link below.

Professional edition only: new Sample Rate render element, VDB export via Linux render nodes
Users of the Professional edition get a new Sample Rate render element, which visualises the number of samples generated by the adaptive sampler per pixel of the image, intended to help optimise settings.

The Linux version – used for render nodes – also gets the option to export cloud layers in VDB format from the command line: again, described as an experimental new feature.

Pricing and availability
Terragen 4.3 is available for 64-bit Windows 7+ and Mac OS X 10.8+. The update is free to existing users.

New licences of Terragen 4 Professional cost $699; Terragen 4 Creative, which has a restricted set of features and caps maximum output resolution, costs $349. See a feature comparison table here.

Read a full list of features in Terragen 4.3 in Planetside Software’s online changelog

Read more about Terragen on Planetside Software’s website