Friday, November 4th, 2022 Posted by Jim Thacker

Planetside Software releases Terragen 4.6

Planetside Software has released Terragen 4.6, the latest version of its landscape-generation software.

The release – the first major update to Terragen in almost two years – makes it possible to export clouds to other DCC applications in OpenVDB format, and improves rendering performance and FBX import.

Users of the Professional edition of the software also get an experimental new RPC system for developing integrations with other tools in visual effects pipelines.

At the time of writing, the Terragen website has not been updated with details of the release, and there is no official online changelog, but it has been announced in Planetside’s newsletter.

Export clouds to other DCC applications in OpenVDB format
The main change in Terragen 4.6 is that OpenVDB export is now available in the Windows edition.

That makes it possible to export .vdb files without having to use the command line, since OpenVDB export was previously only available in GUI-less Linux render nodes.

The OpenVDB format can be used to export volumetric clouds from Terragen’s Cloud Layer V2, Cloud Layer V3 and Easy Cloud layers to other DCC applications for rendering: the video above shows export to Blender.

OpenVDB export will also be available in the macOS build of Terragen 4.6 once it is released.

There are also “slight improvements” to multiple scattering in Easy Cloud and Cloud Layer V3, and the 3D Preview should generate previews of clouds faster due to better level of detail calculations for voxel buffers.

Improvements to rendering quality and performance
Other changes include support for a true sRGB transform as well as the previous pure gamma approximation when rendering for sRGB displays, available via the Tonemap tab in the Render Settings.

Rendering performance has also been improved due to “lots of incremental changes” to the code, although Planetside doesn’t put a figure on the speed boost.

Pipeline integration: XML-based population caches and better FBX import
For pipeline integration, population caches can now be imported and exported in an XML-based format as well as binary files, mkaing it easier to share the data with other applications.

In addition, the FBX importer can now handle FBX files with non-default coordinate systems, making it easier to import animated cameras from applications like Unreal Engine.

Professional edition only: new RPC system for pipeline integrations
The Professional edition of the software gets an experimental new RPC (Remote Procedure Call) system, making it possible for other applications to query a running instance of Terragen via TCP.

Suggested use cases including syncing lights, cameras and assets with other software in real time, and developing renderfarm submission scripts.

Planetside has also released an open-source RPC Python module that can be used to develop Python scripts that communicate with Terragen.

Georeferencing now available in all editions of Terragen
The Creative and Free editions of the software get support for georeferencing, making it possible to use real-world elevation and positional data from imported images.

Georeferencing was previously only available in the Professional edition of the software.

Pricing and availability
Terragen 4.6 is available for Windows 7+. The 4.6 release of the macOS edition, which is compatible with Mac OS X 10.8+, will follow “soon”. The update is free to users with current maintenance contracts.

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

Read a full list of features in Terragen 4.6 in Planetside Software’s newsletter

Read more about Terragen on Planetside Software’s website