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How to create 3D landscapes

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How to create 3D landscapes: You’re starting to get hooked on the world of 3D modeling and you’d like to know how to create 3D landscapes? If you answered in the affirmative, you can count yourself lucky because you have come to the right place at the right time! In today’s tutorial, in fact, I will tell you about some 3D modeling software that will be useful for you to give vent to your creativity and deepen your knowledge of this technique. I already anticipate that the solutions that I will list shortly are practically all free, but only on condition that you use them for purposes not commercial. If you intend to use them for professional purposes, you will have to put your hand to your wallet.

How do you say? In addition to creating 3D landscapes from scratch, would you like to have the ability to make the photos you’ve taken of landscapes three-dimensional? Know that it is possible to do this too: all you have to do is contact ad hoc programs which, through the anaglyph technique, allow you to view the photo in 3D using the special “glasses” for viewing three-dimensional content.

So, what are you doing still standing there? Get comfortable right away, concentrate on reading the next paragraphs, try the various solutions listed below and then use the ones that seem best suited to your needs. I am sure that, by scrupulously following my “tips”, you will not have the slightest problem in completing your “business” today. I wish you good reading and have fun!

Terragen (Windows / macOS)

One of the first solutions that I recommend you to try for create 3D landscapes And Terragen: it is a three-dimensional scenario generator, developed to generate images and animations of photorealistic landscapes that has been used several times also by film producers.

Before explaining how it works, however, I would like to tell you that the free version of the software has some limitations, including the maximum rendering size, which is set at 1280 x 900 pixels, and the inability to use the program for purposes commercial. To break down these limits, you need to purchase the paid version of Terragen, which starts at $ 349.

To download Terragenlinked to the program download pagepresses the button Download Now placed under the section Terragen x Free Downloadenter your address e-mail in the form that appears on the screen and press the button Download Now. Within a few moments, you will receive a message at the indicated email address containing the links to download Terragen on your computer: click on the link Terragen_x_Win64_xxxxx to download the installation file for Windows or on the link Terragen_x_Mac_xxxxx to download it on Mac.

Once the download is complete, open the installation file you just obtained and follow the simple wizard to complete the setup. On Windowsopen the file .msi that you got from the Terragen site, press the button Nextput the check mark on the item I Agreeclick again on Next three times in a row and finally presses the buttons Yup And Close.

If you use a Macinstead, open the file .dmg just downloaded, move the folder Terragen x in the folder Applications of macOS, right-click on the icon of Terragen (present in the folder of the same name that you moved to “Applications”) and select the item You open from the menu that opens. This operation, necessary only at the first start of the software, serves to “override” the restrictions applied by Apple to software from non-certified developers.

After installing and starting Terragen, presses the button Use Free Version to access the program editor and start creating your 3D landscape. Then fill in the field Name present in the module on the left by typing the name you want to assign to the project and then select the tabs located at the top to use the various tools made available by the program: Terrainto modify the characteristics of the terrain; Waterto add streams, seas and lakes; Atmosphereto change the appearance of the atmosphere attached to the landscape; Lighting, to act on light sources. etc. To view the preview of the work done, then select the item 3D Preview from the menu Viewwhile to save the project select the item Save from the menu File.

As this is a software used mainly by 3D modeling professionals, at first glance you may find it a bit difficult to use Terragen. In any case you will see that, with a little practice and a lot of effort, you will be able to master it in a short time, especially if you rely on the in-depth guides that are present on the Terrain official site It is on support forum.

World Machin (Windows)

Another program that I recommend you to try to make 3D landscapes is World Machine. Also in this case we find ourselves in the presence of software intended for commercial use, whose license can be purchased starting from 119 dollars. However, it can be used free of charge for personal purposes.

To download World Machine, connect to his official website and first presses the orange button Free download (Windows) and then on the button Download World Machine. When the download is complete, open the file .exe just downloaded, presses the button Yup and then on the buttons I Agree, Install And Close. After installing and starting World Machine, presses the button Forward And end to close the welcome window and access the program editor, through which to create three-dimensional landscapes.

Basically the World Machine interface is divided into three main blocks: in the left sidebar there are all the elements through which to adjust the colors, the type of terrain to be used, the water level, etc .; on the right there is the preview of the 3D landscape that is being created and at the top there are the buttons that allow you to change the type of view chosen.

Compared to Terragen, the World Machine interface is a bit more intuitive and “clean”. In any case, to learn the basics more quickly to make the most of the program, I suggest you consult the section dedicated to video tutorials on the World Machine website.

Blender (Windows / macOS / Linux)

Haven’t you been particularly satisfied with the software I’ve talked to you about so far? In that case I recommend that you give it a try Blender: Considered by many to be the best free and open source 3D modeling software. Unlike the programs I told you about in the previous paragraphs, Blender was not developed specifically to create three-dimensional landscapes but, being a 3D modeling software, it can also easily lend itself to this purpose.

To download Blender to your computer, connect to his download page and press the button Download Blender placed in the center of the page. Once the download is complete, if you use Windowsopen the file .msi just obtained and, in the window that opens, presses the button Nextthen put the check mark on the item I accept the terms in the License Agreementpresses up again Next twice in a row and finish the setup by pressing on Install, Yup And Finish.

If you use a Macinstead, open the package .dmg you got from the Blender site, drag the folder Blender in the path Applications macOS, open the latter, right-click on the Blender icon and select the item You open from the menu that opens in order to “bypass” the restrictions applied by macOS to software from non-certified developers (the operation must be done only at the first start of the program).

After installing and starting Blender on your PC, you can start creating three-dimensional characters, objects and landscapes using the program editor which, as you can see, is divided into three main sections: the central screen which represents the workspace in to create and modify 3D objects, the panel located in the lower part containing the tools for creating and modifying 3D objects and the multifunction menu located in the upper part of the window.

If this is your first time using Blender, I suggest you take a look at the many video-tutorial present on the official website of the program to become familiar with the various functions present in it. By doing so, you will speed up your progress and you will have no problems creating landscapes, objects and even 3D characters.

3DCombine (Windows / macOS / Android)

Did you come to this tutorial with the intention of making the photos you took in steps three-dimensional? The solutions I have told you about so far, as you may have noticed, are not meant to do this. But fear not: you can use other software for this, such as the highly reliable 3DCombinewhich can be downloaded on Windows and macOS (as well as on Android, as a free app). Using the technique ofanaglyph3DCombine allows you to create three-dimensional content starting from photos (and if necessary also from videos) in 2D.

Before explaining how the software works, I would like to tell you that it can be used free of charge for only 15 days: once the trial is over, to continue using it, you will need to purchase one of the available licenses, starting from 20 dollars . I also point out that the macOS version is rather limited and I do not recommend installing it on your Mac.

To download 3D Combine on your PC, connect to download page of the program and presses the button Download placed under the icon that represents the operating system installed on your PC (eg. Windows 64 bit to install it on a 64bit version of Windows). When the download is complete, open the file .exe you got, press the button Yupput the check mark on the item I accept the agreementpress the button Next for four consecutive times and then on Install And Finish. To work properly the program requires the use of the plugin Microsoft Visual C ++therefore proceed to install it (if you have not already done so) by following the wizard you see on the screen.

After you have finally installed and started 3D Combine on your PC, upload the 2D photo you want to make three-dimensional: click on the menu Guidesselect the item 2D to 3D Image and then select the item Landscape or Portrait (depending on the orientation of the photo). In the window Instructions that appears on the screen, presses the button OKload the two-dimensional image file you want to make three-dimensional and press the button again OK from the instruction window that opens.

Now all you have to do is select the desired output format from the drop-down menu located at the top (eg. Gray Anaglyph, Color Anaglyph, DLP 3Detc.) and then press the button Save Image to save the output image. Have you seen how simple it was to create a 3D landscape starting from a two-dimensional image?