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View Full Version : Outputting in Fractal Terrains? Tips needed



Girltron
04-13-2009, 08:49 AM
Here's me with another FT question! I can't seem to find adequate guidance on outputting from Fractal Terrains.

What I'm looking for is pretty simple: just an equirectangular projection of a good clear resolution (preferring not to have to paste together many many images) that I can use to both share and also edit/trace in other programs. I've been fooling with the export function and I'm just not understanding it well. Are there tutorials or walk-throughs that explain the features of the export function? I wanna know more about what I CAN export and what works best, and the little manual isn't awfully helpful with recommendations on settings.

Greason Wolfe
04-13-2009, 09:46 AM
A lot of that is going to depend on what size output you are looking for. You might look at the "Export as Multiple Files" feature and, depending on how big you want things to be, only export it at two or three levels (jpeg files with html). With that, you'd only have somewhere in the area of 4 to 16 files to paste together. Another option would be to export it as a spherical map (not really a sphere, but can be evaluated as a sphere by other programs).

In a nutshell, though, here are the steps,

File > Export > Multiple Files

When the dialogue box opens,
- Click the check box for Generate Jpeg files
- Click the check box for Generate html files
- Chose how many map levels you want to work with
- Select a directory to save the files to
- For each map level, define the number of files high and wide you want to generate, the overlap (I tend to use 0) and the resolution. Note, however, that the greater number of Map levels and/or resolution, the more the images are going to degrade.
-Once satisfied with the settings, click on OK and FT will do it's thing.

Finally, stitching the files together is pretty straight forward, though you may have to deal with a bit of "beveling" that sometimes shows up along the edges of each file. This might be solvable by adding in a little overlap in the Export Settings dialogue box before you start the actual export.

GW

Girltron
04-13-2009, 10:02 AM
Right. I've got the multiple files thing. What's an ideal setting though? At least maybe a guideline to start with? The thing's not intuitive. I tried this a few times and got very low-resolution results. Many of the options were grey at first, until I checked the "html" box, and then I had some more options. So I tried higher resolutions and maybe this is working, but I got a bunch of files that included jpgs which I COULD stitch together, but they really looked crummy to me. I guess I'd like someone to tell me what specific settings they like to use, and I can try that and adjust as I feel I'd like. I just feel like I'm stabbing around in the dark, and each time I export it takes enough time to be somewhat irritating to have to do it over and over.

I don't need a low quality output for web use. I can edit and save the document myself for web, after I've stitched it together. Mainly I need the high quality image for the other editing I plan, as opposed to just sharing on the web.

Greason Wolfe
04-13-2009, 10:07 AM
Have you tried upping your Editing resolution, that might help some. As far as maximum resolution goes for outputting, I, for the most part, don't run much above about 512 to 513 pixels (the last box in the defining section) since I usually set my output up for import into Terragen. The best recommendation I could offer would be no more than 3 Map Levels set at 2 by 2 with no overlap and a resolution right around 500 px. That will give you a halfway decent number of files to work with (32 at the greatest depth) with each one being exported at a 2:1 ratio (i.e. 500px by 250 px). That should keep things looking fairly good (clean) but give you enough enlargement to be fairly visible as well.

As an extreme alternative, you could zoom in on your world in the editing window, do a screen capture, use the "hand" tool to move your point of view, do a screen capture . . . etc and then a bit of editing work in you imaging software for a much higher detail map since the editing window doesn't degrade until you start getting in extremely close to the surface. I've done this, at times, when I needed something a little more specific for import into Terragen, but it can be a real pain.

GW

Girltron
04-13-2009, 10:36 AM
yep I'm exporting at a much higher resolution but fewer levels. I'm not at all sure I understand what this means. It looked to ME at first glance that the higher the levels, the more little grid components one has to stitch together. Which is a pain. But if I'm understanding this right, will that allow me a better image quality?

Your screen shot method = wow, laborious. Finding the matching edges of each segment would be unpleasant.

Greason Wolfe
04-13-2009, 10:53 AM
yep I'm exporting at a much higher resolution but fewer levels. I'm not at all sure I understand what this means. It looked to ME at first glance that the higher the levels, the more little grid components one has to stitch together. Which is a pain. But if I'm understanding this right, will that allow me a better image quality?

That means your individual images will be physically larger, but there will be fewer of them to stitch together. Again, the exact image quality will depend on just how high a resolution you are using. I've found that anything above about 800 px tends to start degrading quickly while somewhere between 500 and 600 is usually still fairly good looking, but you will have to experiment a bit to see what suits your quality tastes.


Your screen shot method = wow, laborious. Finding the matching edges of each segment would be unpleasant.

Yes, very much so. Unfortunately, Terragen imports specific sized images for rendering and I prefer not to have to resize them and lose details in relation to roughness of the landscape. What makes this even more difficult is that they have to be in greyscale which can be hard to see at times. Ahhh, the price I pay for using Terragen. :lol:

GW

Girltron
04-13-2009, 11:06 AM
OK thank you, I'll keep this in mind.

Greason Wolfe
04-13-2009, 11:09 AM
Most welcome. Hope all this helps you out.

GW

guyanonymous
04-13-2009, 12:56 PM
I've found that I can output a 6x3 grid of 5000 px image resolution without crashing FTPro on my system. This produces a result, successfully, from a equiangular projection without the river-issues showing up (horizontal lines stretching randomly across my map) at the final resolution; the overall view still shows those issues.

Pasting together the 18 images in PS, now, takes me about 5 minutes.

This process works well for altitude, climate, "other shader", and bump map views, at least.

Rivers do have small gaps where tiles meet (sometimes?).

Intensity though, I put on it's own layer, and find that sometimes I get a dark horizontal line stretching across the top or bottom of a tile, which makes this process fail here. I've taken to saving a single image 9000px in width (the maximum before FTPro crashes out for me).

As well, hold down shift and ctrl. when you actually click on the "multiple images" selection that takes you to the final output screen you posted above. Then you're outputting .bmp images, which don't have the horrible artifacts that the jpg output from FTPro has (it must use a fairly high compression setting for such nasty artifacts).

I feel your frustration.

p.s, a 5000x5000 px output ends up being ~96MB.
p.p.s. a 30000x15000 px final bmp is @#$@#$ huge. :D

Greason Wolfe
04-13-2009, 06:13 PM
As well, hold down shift and ctrl. when you actually click on the "multiple images" selection that takes you to the final output screen you posted above. Then you're outputting .bmp images, which don't have the horrible artifacts that the jpg output from FTPro has (it must use a fairly high compression setting for such nasty artifacts).

Ahh, nice little secret that I missed/didn't know about. Thumbs up!

GW

guyanonymous
04-13-2009, 06:23 PM
I saw it on here, in a post, too. It's not a 'documented' feature, as I understand it.

I've also solved (in a way) the problem I mentioned above with the intensity output when saving multiple images. Basically, a dark line shows up, a single pixel thick on a horizontal and vertical edge. It's not an extra line, but is actually where data should be. So when you put the images back together, you get this dark grid. I found that, in PS, you can select a single line of pixels, either horizontally or vertically. By doing so and then choosing Filter/Other/Offset and choosing +1,+1, it pretty much hides the problem without a recognizable line remaining.

guyanonymous
04-13-2009, 10:06 PM
And, good timing and all, a friend just emailed me a program to stitch all those images back together for me. Here's the link: http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?t=5163

Girltron
04-14-2009, 08:20 AM
NIIIIICE that looks so very handy. I was already beginning to be tired of the idea of stitching, before I ever began. (I'm still outputting, looking at the quality, sticking out my tongue, and deleting the files, then outputting again)

Lathorien
10-13-2010, 12:53 AM
I am export following the same steps shown in the thread (not an FT noob) even exporting as bmp instead of jpg but gettting abunch of blank white images with some images showing the relief i am trying to export.
its just too big for one image.... arg!

nm i think the problem is that i am trying to export using polar projection (discworld)