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 Using more than four textures for your terrain materials

Works only with at least massive resolution (1024x1024) or above (Bryce5)





The third image shows an example of two "different" materials where only two components (remember - not textures!) for the second terrain were changed. The second terrain is the same as can be seen in the second image (5x subcontours). You might also want to try changing things like position and size etc. Proceed in small increments depending on your terrain's size to show more of either the first or the second ("subcontoured") terrain.
Moving the second terrain in z-direction away from the camera is also a good way to "hide" the second terrain.

All Bryce materials are limited to 4 textures. Providing different modes to combine those textures (A/AB/ABC), the matlab produces materials which have the most important properties to imitate natural characteristics. Especially when using slope and altitude sensitive textures (components), you can apply different textures (components) to flat, steep or high areas of your terrains. You can either obtain the desired result by using the ABC-combining mode using a texture for the C-alpha channel which has a slope and/or altitude sensitive component, or by using those characteristics of a single texture itself. However, the material yield won't have more than four textures which make up the material. The method described below doesn't change this fact at all. It is a "trick" to create two (or more!) terrains in a way which allows you to add complexity to both the appearance of the terrain as well as the resulting look of the material.

(To understand the difference between material, texture and component please refer to the manual. Even there some confusion occurs :)

No matter which terrain you want to use this method with, you have to first duplicate it by hitting CTRL+D. The area in the middle of the second image on the left shows the very same terrain after having entered the TE (terrain editor) and hitting "subcontours" once. Do not make any changes to its position yet!
The yield (white) terrain is now only visible in certain areas, and the "source-terrain" in others. You will have a very similar result using "subcontours" in the TE no matter what your "source terrain" looks like. The right area of the same image shows a terrain which was made by having hit the subcontours button five times.

There are some other functions in the TE which yield rather interesting results as well, but I think that one method described here should be enough, at least for having shown the direction for further experiments of your own, especially since other ways to produce the "second" terrain require changes in positioning, size, etc. The subcontour method is the one which works the same for everybody.
The only thing which remains to do now is to apply two different materials which in combination yield a satisfying result. At first, I would suggest trying the same material applied to both terrains and changing only one texture. Usually, I leave the bump unchanged but make changes to the colour since changing both bump as well as colour characteristics won't hide the "subcontour structure" which occurs using the above described method.
As you can see in the first image on the left (which is a close-up of an area from one of my renderings), the mentioned "subcontour structure" isn't visible at all when not using two materials which are too different. Additionally, the second terrain is not antialiased using the well known easter-egg which can be applied by CTRL+SHIFT checking the objects attributes.



 Adding "Volume" To Your Cloud Planes
I think that the images below will describe the method much better than words would do:
The first image (upper left) shows a simple sky with a single cloud plane. In the second image the cloud plane is duplicated and then its position (y-axis) changed. The distance between the two cloud planes is something you should experiment with since the method in general introduces a certain amount of blurring which depends very much on the mentioned distance. The important thing now is to make the lower cloud plane darker by changing its diffuse and/or ambient values in the matlab. You might also consider to decreasing the transparency value for the lower one.
Applying cloud materials mapped in "object space" lets you, after having grouped them, literally move the clouds without changing their appearance.
Remember to position the cloud planes above all other objects (terrains etc.) in your scene. Any intersection with other objects causes ugly edges.

 More Haze/Fog With Colour Perspective

Increasing the haze value has a substantial disadvantage. The haze colour tends to tint the atmosphere and all objects in your scene which can be seen on area 1 compared to area 2 in the image below. Area 2 is a given scene without colour perspective. The haze values are:

density=1
thickness=30
base height=0

The other areas 3-5 show the same settings with additional colour perspective:

3= R:5/G:5/B:5
4= R:10/G:10/B:10
5= R:15/G:15/B:15
 
As you can see the values for all three components red, green and blue are increased equally (which seems to be equivalent to adding grey since usually three equal values for RGB yield a grey hue - the higher the value the brighter the shade of grey) but you can also use this method to desaturate a certain hue. The upper image to the left shows the same scene where I used the method to desaturate blue hues. You can simply do that by decreasing the value of one of the three colours (RGB) In this case: R:7/G:7/B:2
Of course this only works when there is any haze at all. If there is no haze the colour perspective function in the sky lab won't have any effect at all. There is a dependency on all other haze settings as well, and thus many subtle ways to influence the whole atmosphere in your scenes.
With less haze density you would have the same effect as shown on the lower image on the left but the shaded areas wouldn't be lightened and the overall contrast would be maintained (see image below).

An unforgettable meeting

A few years ago I went to a Bryce course because I wanted to improve my skills. This 3D modeling, rendering and animation program still has some secrets that I did not manage to discover, so I thought that following a course will help me become better. But when I went away from home I certainly did not expect to have an unforgettable adventure. I met a wonderful lady and she changed my life completely.

How well do you know this software?

Bryce connoisseurs know that this program is specialized in fractal landscapes. With Bryce 3D you can create very realistic images of coastlines and mountain ranges. Although learning the commands, using the light sources and applying the complex atmospheric effects are not things you will acknowledge within minutes this software will give you numerous satisfactions once you will use it properly.

However, when the instructor tried to explain elaborate details on Bryce, it was hard for me to focus because a beautiful lady starred at me and she seemed to offer me all of her attention. I was eager to end this session or, at least, take a break in order to meet her and get to know her better. I was barely hearing the instructor telling about how we can create a realistic animation stimulating a journey through a dynamic world.

Some of the things explained at the course I already knew, reason why I had a hard time concentrating at what our instructor showed us. Even though the palette, buttons and advanced terrain editing were thoroughly described this course about Bryce 3D stopped being interesting for me for several minutes. As soon as we took a little break, she came to me to introduce herself and I soon found out her name is Gina.

After the course, we went for a coffee in a place nearby. It was something we both waited for and we stayed until late to discover as many things as possible about each other. Gina told me she had an interesting job that allowed her to travel all over the world and meet all kinds of people. She first made me curious about her, only then she told me that she offers escort services through a certain company, London Escort.

This company collaborates with numerous stunning models from all over the world, so Gina has colleagues from many European countries and even from Asia or America. My life seemed to dull and empty when she told me about her adventures! Gina visited many fascinating countries and she really enjoyed discovering new cultures and city. After this afternoon meeting, we went in her favorite pub, where we drank some wine and danced until down.

I am now glad I followed that Bryce course because it gave me the opportunity to meet Gina. Even once in a while, when I run the software, I think about the girl met on Escorts and how adventurous she was. We shared a truly unforgettable meeting and it certainly is something to tell your grandchildren over years…