Aviary introduces browser-based terrain generation

terrain generation. That's right: you can now render 3D natural scenes in your browser using Flash.

We'll be discussing all the changes over the next few blog posts.

The terrain generator node gives you control over everything from the shadow and light intensity, angle and height of the light source, and even the 3D angle the terrain is viewed from. In short, Peacock just got a hell of a lot more powerful!

Here is a quick tutorial file showing how terrain can be generated in Peacock (just open the file in Peacock to view the tutorial).

Tip: To pan through the document, hold down spacebar and mouse button at the same time, as you move your mouse.

The terrain generator is very simple: You pass in a black and white height texture map and a skin texture map that overlays the 3D terrain. The white areas in the height map represent peaks, the dark areas represent valleys. By adjusting the height map, you can make all different types of 3D terrain (and even non-terrain objects).

Because the computer does all the work for you in the background, you can create very realistic effects just by adjusting options as in the randomized terrain shown above. You can personally replicate this effect by adjusting the random seed option of the top Perlin Noise node in this tutorial file.

Here are some example images showing the terrain generator put to great use: Click on the images, then open them up in the Peacock editor to get a sense for how they were made!

Icebergs under the Aurora by a handsome devil

Simulated micro-photography of trees in the fall by Mpeutz

Windows XP inspired wallpaper by Robotguy4, bassp and yours truly.

Abstract 3D boxes using the terrain generator and new autopainter node (more on that later) by Mpeutz

Landscape with clouds by Mpeutz

Space Invaders by Mpeutz and Mario

Alien Fossil by davidjensen

Folded Fabric by Redstar

Repeating waves patterns by Mario

Earth-like land mass generator by Mpeutz

Between the Sheets by Mario]]