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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2007 10:29 pm    Post subject: Terrain texturing/masking Reply with quote

Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 123

I've spent some time with just texturing a basic terrain with no modifications. The process to create a texture for a terrain and assign it, masking and all, seems very disconnected from any standard process.

There are many examples of programs that adequately generate textures or allow texturing of sorts. One example is Terragen, new and old. In both cases the method of texturing is similar to Grome in that you generate it based on slope, height, etc.

Wouldn't it seem more efficient to generate the mask automatically when you assign the a texture layer to a zone and provide the settings for the mask within the same toolbox as is used for the textures?

I realize there is a reason for the seperate mask generation tool, but for most cases it probably isn't necessary to seperate the two processes. Having the option of automatically generating would free up a lot of time.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2007 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1328

There are multiple reasons for this UI layout.

For start, we wanted to make the UI consistent: you have a workspace view which shows the current scene content (zones and their layers, current selection) and you have a panel to contain all the tools (modifiers, processes that edit the current scene). Mask generation is just another tool, why make it part of the layers view / assignment? This (altitude+slope+orientation) is one method in which you can automatically create a mask/color texture, but in the future there could be more (like create mask under some objects, procedurally created noise etc). Once a user understands the general workflow he knows exactly what to expect from all the tools. They all work the same. Why make exceptions?

Second reason: you can apply the tool multiple times. You can even select its operation: replace, add, substract from the current mask.

Third reason: in the future versions you would be able to apply the mask generator only to selected regions of texture. If you can only apply the mask generation at texture assignment you cannot regenerate it later when you have another selection made. So the Mask Gen should be seen as a any other tool, which you can apply whenever you want.

4th reason: you can apply the generation based on various combinations of heightmap layers. You can activate only some parts of heightmaps layers for example. By allowing this operation only at assignment you will need to make sure you have the proper configuration before assignment.

5th reason: you can apply the generation to multiple color layers at once (just press the in use button for which layer you want to be affected). This can be useful for situations like: you have 2 color layers that appear on the same places, one with general color and one with detail (green colors + grass detail).

So by separating the two panels allow you for example to quickly: select some zones, arm some layers, apply the generator with replace, then select other zones, arm other zones, paint with the mask brush, then apply the color generator with add so the manual and procedural mask are combined etc. You can apply the tool whenever you want. Assignment is just the creation of the layers textures (by indicating its resolution and initial color). Processing means application of tools. Two separate operations, one applied once (assignments), the other multiple times (tools) in an iterative fashion until the desirable result is obtained.

We had several revisions of the UI before we've reached this one. All were based on iterative improvements based on actual work by our artists and their feedback. It may seem a little complicated at first but is the one that gives you the best flexibility and customizations.

And there are plenty other reasons for this layout. But I'm sure you will discover them yourself Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 123

Couldn't ask for a better explanation than that. Thank you, I will be working to make the feel of these tools seem second nature instead of the way I have been doing it with other programs.

This will break the old adage, 'You can't teach an old dog new tricks'. Smile
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