Finally got a chance to post some of the Terragen 2 tests I was looking into. I was very impressed with some of the quality that could be achieved with this program with minimal effort and intuitive interface. The image is from following the “First Scene” example in the Online Documentation. I thought the galleries were indeed better then my final result, but for only reading a few of the values and playing around a bit with the settings, I felt that the process was of a good quality and could likely be improved with practice.
Setting up the scene (following along the documentation) could likely be setup in only a couple of minutes, if I was to do the scene again I would estimate around five minutes of initial setup for getting the scene and then however long you needed to tweak values and colors.
It is not all silver lining unfortunately, I feel like the close up “grass” (just a green color) and some of the water would likely have to be touched up in photoshop as well as maybe adjusting some of the contrast and color. I think with some additional practice this could be improved in terragen, but I would need to do some trial and error to set appropriate color values for different lighting and atmosphere conditions.
On a whole, I think the result is very strong, the rendering time was a bit long (I had a number of other processes going simultaneously) but the total time for the 800×600 image was 1:16:34s with 2363295 micro-triangles. I am sure with a faster machine this would be greatly improved, although terragen documentation still suggests the rendering time could take 30+ minutes on even newer machines.
I will definitely be playing more with this tool in the future and will see what kind of results are generated from the mesh data that is exported into other 3d renderers.
Definitely worth a try if you enjoy terrains, and it is free for non-commercial use.
Until then, I remain.