Making Terrains

If you enjoy using Fractint for making landscapes, we have several new features for you to work with. When doing 3d transformations banding tends to occur because all pixels of a given height end up the same color. Now, colors can be randomized to make the transitions between different colors at different altitudes smoother. Use the new "RANDOMIZE= " variable to accomplish this. If your light source images all look like lunar landscapes since they are all monochrome and have very dark shadows, we now allow you to set the ambient light for adjusting the contrast of the final image. Use the "Ambient= " variable. In addition to being able to create scenes with light sources in monochrome, you can now do it in full color as well. Setting fullcolor=1 will generate a Targa-24 file with a full color image which will be a combination of the original colors of the source image (or map file if you select map=something) and the amount of light which reflects off a given point on the surface. Since there can be 256 different colors in the original image and 256 levels of light, you can now generate an image with *lots* of colors. To convert it to a GIF if you can't view Targa files directly, you can use PICLAB (see Other Programs ), and the following commands:


Using the full color option allows you to also set a haze factor with the "haze= " variable to make more distant objects more hazy.

As a default, full color files also have the background set to sky blue. Warning, the files which are created with the full color option are very large, 3 bytes per pixel. So be sure to use a disk with enough space. The file is created using Fractint's disk-video caching, but is always created on real disk (expanded or extended memory is not used.) Try the following settings of the new variables in sequence to get a feel for the effect of each one:

      ;use this with any filltype
      randomize=3; adjusting this smooths color transitions

      ;now add this using filltype 5 or 6
      ambient=20; adjusting this changes the contrast
      smoothing=2; makes the light not quite as granular as the terrain

      ;now add the following, and this is where it gets slow
      fullcolor=1; use PICLAB to reduce resulting lightfile to a GIF

      ;and finally this
      haze=20; sets the amount of haze for distant objects

When full color is being used, the image you see on the screen will represent the amount of light being reflected, not the colors in the final image. Don't be disturbed if the colors look weird, they are an artifact of the process being used. The image being created in the lightfile won't look like the screen.

However, if you are worried, hit ESC several times and when Fractint gets to the end of the current line it will abort. Your partial image will be there as LIGHT001.TGA or with whatever file name you selected with the lightname option. Convert it as described above and adjust any parameters you are not happy with. Its a little awkward, but we haven't figured out a better way yet.

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This page maintained by

Noel Giffin,