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HeightField Terrain Technology - More flexible and a lot more Powerful!

With VUE Infinite 2016, we're introducing a brand new terrain modeling technology, more flexible and a lot more powerful, called "Heightfield Terrains".

This new technology allows you to add terrain effects that were previously impossible to achieve, such as Hydrological & Thermal Simulations!

Similar to procedural terrains, Heightfield Terrains are based on a function graph, but baked on a fixed-resolution grid. This will give you more flexibility and add more realism to your terrains. Heightfield Terrains are also significantly faster to render!

Heighfield terrains are manually sculptable and parameters can be animated - e.g. to simulate a terrain erosion over time for instance!

And finally, you can easily set up your graph outputs to drive your material presence, directly from within the Terrain Editor interface.

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The Heightfield Terrains technology comes with its set of new dedicated nodes and presets, like 9 different Erosion presets and Slope, Convexity, Blur or Terrace nodes.

New Layout Nodes also let you design a terrain's "layout" (most prominent features) using hand-drawn elements like Splines, elements from the scene, or simple shapes (circles, rectangles, rounded rectangles) .

Start as simple as drawing a line, let the power of the Terrain Editor do the rest!

Additionally, all terrain presets in the terrain Editor were reworked, and VUE Infinite 2016 now ships with 42 terrain samples.

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Sculpt 3D Terrains in Real-Time

Create Caves and Overhangs

Revolutionary Solid3D™ terrain modeling technology lets you interactively carve and shape terrains in real time. Using 3D brushes, mold and shape terrains into virtually any shape imaginable.

Create caves, grottos, overhangs, rivers, canyons with the ease of modeling in clay-like fashion. Brushes can also be used to interactively add erosion and geological effects and blend details using the 3D smoothing brush.

You can easily configure the behavior of the terrain brushes and build a library of your most frequently used brushes.

Change the effect of brushes on terrain geometry or material distributions, control the influence of slope or orientation, the effect of tablet pressure, configure brush shapes, etc. The brush will appear in the list of brush presets, and you can select it with a single click.

Automatic Localized Subdivision

Standard base terrains are generated using either one of the 8 presets (mountain, peak, eroded, mounds, iceberg, glacier, dunes, lunar), a grayscale image, or by importing USGS DEM data. VUE fully supports 16-bit heightfield data imported from external applications.

Automatic Localized SubDivision

Solid3D employs innovative localized subdivision technology which automatically refines the underlying mesh based on the level of detail being added.

This allows you to concentrate on the creative process of sculpting terrain features without having to worry about mesh geometries. Freely sculpt the equivalent of millions of polygons with real-time interactive performance.

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3D Sculpt Procedural Terrains

Combine the best of both worlds with the ability to locally sculpt features on finite and infinite procedural terrains.

Let VUE automatically generate infinitely detailed expanses of terrain, then fine tune or completely rework localized areas of the terrain to suit your requirements. Touch up zones can be nested to provide unlimited artistic control.

Sculpt in roads, paths, and caverns while perserving the procedural details around the localized features.

You can also create standalone painting masks that are not connected to any specific material, to precisely control sculpting and distribution of materials over the surface of your terrains.

The global Freeze mask can also be used to accurately control your modifications. The Freeze mask can be used in combination with all other masks.

Scene Context Sculpting

Scene elements such as buildings and vegetation can be viewed in the Solid3D terrain modeler allowing you to sculpt terrain details around objects.

Deform the terrain surface around any object for a more naturally blended appearance.

Sculpt from References

You can apply a bitmap to a terrain, and then view this bitmap inside the Terrain Editor as you sculpt the terrain.

This feature is particularly useful when recreating a terrain based on real world photo references.

It is also possible to reset 2D and 3D sculpting independently.

Sculpt Terrains in Context

Sculpt From References

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Terrain Brush Improvements

Brushes in VUE Infinite 2016 can act only on certain levels of details, while leaving others untouched, so you can modify the general shape of a terrain without removing smaller details.

3D Painting Undo brush: The undo brush now also works in 3D.

Custom 3D brush: This brush lets you define a specific direction for the displacement applied to the terrain surface.

Mask Rotation

You can now optionally enable mask rotation when painting in the terrain editor. When mask rotation is enabled, the mask will rotate together with the view allowing precise control when painting materials or painting geometry in the terrain editor (ideal for footprints!).


This powerful feature will automatically reorganize the underlying terrain mesh in order to optimize distribution of polygons over irregularly shaped terrains, such as cliffs.

As a result, painting details on e.g. vertical cliffs is greatly facilitated.

Spline Terrain Effect & Road Tools

Use Terrain Effects to engrave or emboss the surface of a terrain following a predefined path. This feature is particularly usefull to create road beds or raised highways.

VUE Infinite 2016 offers a built in Road construction tool that allows you to directly draw a road path on your terrains. The resulting spline is automatically textured with an asphalt material, and carves or raises the terrain surface to adjust it to your path.

More information about VUE's Spline technology

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Mask Rotation

More Details Thanks to Retopology

Desert Road video
Watch on Youtube!

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Paint Material Distribution Maps on Terrains

The Solid3D terrain modeler allows you to paint custom material distributions. Paint riverbeds and rocks along with the associated material with a simple brush stoke.

Material distribution maps can also be created in conjunction with Solid3D global geologic effects. Ideal for placing a different material in riverbeds in seconds!

The material painting tool lets you paint distribution maps with any arbitrary number of materials. Easily add new materials to create extremely detailed distributions.

Toggle material masks to constrain painting of other materials inside existing distribution maps.

Material masks are handled independently from the rest of the material, so you can rescale materials or use any type of coordinates without affecting the distribution.

Material distribution masks can be easily locked to prevent sculpting or painting in the locked areas.

You can create brushes that are influenced by local slope, altitude and orientation. This is very useful, for example, when you want to paint a grass material only on flat areas.

Previewing of Environment Constraints

When brushing a layer with altitude, slope or orientation constraints, it is now possible to preview these constraints direclty, so that the areas where the brush will have an effect appear clearly.

Advanced Layering

VUE Infinite 2016's terrain editor introduces fully additive material layering. This system preserves the orginal alpha presence of layers, lets you paint multiple layers simultaneously and painting one layer no longer affects underlying layers. Layers are combined in the function graph using a 'Layer Painting' metanode.

Paint With Unlimited Materials

Previewing Brush Constraints

Terrain Material Layering

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Handling of materials in the terrain editor combines the power of procedural materials with the ability to manually paint details (this is also compatible with procedural terrain zones).

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Painting Using Procedural Alpha

Alpha Channel Previsualization

The presence of materials layers (alpha channel) can be previewed in the terrain editor and used as a painting mask.

Dual UV Channel

To precisely control UV perturbation, a second UV Channel is available for 3D sculpted terrains.

Render Infinitely Detailed Procedural Terrains

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Procedural terrains provide an unlimited level of detail: move your camera closer, and more detail is seamlessly added. VUE employs powerful algorithms to rapidly create and render the massive micro-polygon datasets of displaced infinite procedural terrains.

There is no limit to the size of procedural terrains. They can virtually stretch to the horizon, or even become planets. Yet whatever their size, there will always be enough detail, even in extreme close-ups.

Powerful Terrain Function Editor

Deep-level editing of procedural terrains is performed in the powerful function graph editor, where a wide selection of procedural noises, filters, math functions and image data nodes can be combined to define elaborate geological features.

Combine dedicated terrain-production fractal algorithms with specific natural color production nodes to create stunningly elaborate and natural-looking scenery in no time.

Sculpt Infinite Terrains

Procedural terrains are fully sculptable using the Solid3D terrain modeler. 

Sculpting can also be confined to specific area or zone making it possible to create custom details on infinite terrains. Create custom rock formations or valleys surrounded by infinitely detailed mountains.

Rapid Terrain Creation with Presets

Using the procedural terrain presets included with Vue, you can choose a style of terrain and VUE will create a unique terrain of the corresponding style, complete with all associated materials. This includes both finite and  infinite procedural terrains.

Zone Extraction

You can extract a specific area of a procedural terrain with just one click! Simply select a zone and convert it to a separate procedural terrain.

This is ideal to create customized textures on specific areas.

You can extend the size of a procedural terrain without modifying the aspect of the terrain. What it does is add more terrain around the existing terrain.

If you sculpted the procedural terrain prior to extending its canvas, a zone will be automatically created to preserve the sculpting.

Strata3D Node

The Strata3D noise node is ideal for creating realistic canyon walls and stratified rock formations. This node works in conjunction with all other fractal and noise patterns.

Terrain Fractal 2 Node

Terrain Fractal 2 generates a higher diversity of natural looking shapes, and rough areas of rocks and cliffs are more convincingly integrated in the relief. An optional stratification can also be applied to create an effect similar to what a separate "Strata Filter" node would achieve, but with more control and higher variability, producing natural looking localized effects thanks to the knowledge of some of the fractal's internal values.

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Terrain Interface (Function Editor)

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Zone Extraction

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The Strata 3D Node in action

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Terrain Fractal 2

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Create Planetary and Spherical Terrains

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VUE supports the creation of spherical and planetary terrains.  Any procedural terrain can be converted into a spherical terrain or a planet with the click of a button. 

Render expansive celestial planets and vistas with ease and zoom in to reveal the smallest granular level details down to single pebble.

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Easy Planetary Navigation