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#1
Nichodemus

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I've used Visual Nature Studio over the years to produce hillshades, typically just overhead planimetric hillshades for maps. I can't say I've ever fully gotten the hang of it, and that's partly because I have a hard time finding documentation on it. I've used the tutorials by 3dNature as well as others that I did find, but there's not a lot out there on this program.

 

Well we're looking at having to upgrade it now. It will only run on an ancient XP computer, and I really need it to run on my main 64-bit machine. So I wanted to take this time to ask whether I should stick with VNS, or look to some other software?

 

I have ArcGIS, and I like the hillshades I get out of VNS better. I just wish it was easier to work with. I need a program that can use geo-aware file formats, Arc Grid, geoTiff, etc. I don't want to fumble around with trying to register layers later on and all that. And I'm not too keen on anything command-line driven, either. That's why I use VNS as it is.

 

Just wondering if you had any ideas. I've heard of Natural Scene Designer and some others.

 

 



#2
Matthew Hampton

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I think if you like hillshading produced from VNS you will really like Natural Scenery Designer.  An added plus is that it runs on 64 bit and is enjoyable to use.  I think it provides a very cost effective solution and has a great balance of functionality and usability.  Another added plus (huge) is the planimetric-oblique rendering which provides a perspective view of relief while maintaining a planimetric view.


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#3
David Medeiros

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I agree with Matthew, NSD is the way the to go. It's has some quirks about it but is very intuitive and quite powerful for its cost.

 

I do all of my terrain work in NSD and have been experimenting with its plan oblique and bump mapping tools lately.  The plan oblique renderings are a great feature. An added bonus is that NSD work seamlessly with the (free!) Terran Texture Shader to create shaded relief with even more depth, texture, and realism.

 

http://www.naturalgfx.com/tts.htm

 

d


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#4
Nichodemus

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Do either of you guys have an example of a hillshade map that was created with Natural Scene Designer? Besides whats on the site. Thanks for the help!



#5
David Medeiros

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Do either of you guys have an example of a hillshade map that was created with Natural Scene Designer? Besides whats on the site. Thanks for the help!

 

All of the relief renderings on my portfolio page were created in NSD:

 

http://www.mapbliss..../portfolio.html

 

Attached are two new terrains using both NSD and the Terrain Texture Shader composited in. The green Columbia River terrain also uses Tom Paterson's technique for illuminated terrain (yellow sun high lights on the NW slopes).

 

Keep in mind, I always process my NSD images through Photo Shop so these are not raw NSD terrains.

Attached Files


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#6
Nichodemus

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Do either of you guys have an example of a hillshade map that was created with Natural Scene Designer? Besides whats on the site. Thanks for the help!

 

All of the relief renderings on my portfolio page were created in NSD:

 

http://www.mapbliss..../portfolio.html

 

Attached are two new terrains using both NSD and the Terrain Texture Shader composited in. The green Columbia River terrain also uses Tom Paterson's technique for illuminated terrain (yellow sun high lights on the NW slopes).

 

Keep in mind, I always process my NSD images through Photo Shop so these are not raw NSD terrains.

 

Wow, those are great. I'll definitely put Natural Scene Designer on my short list of programs to look into further. How is the documentation? I know you said its easy to use, but is it easy to learn?! Also, are you running it on Mac or Windows? (I only have Windows machines).



#7
David Medeiros

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It's pretty easy to learn, documentation is decent but I think it could be better. I'm running the latest version of NSD on my iMac (NSD 6 Pro). It's available on both Windows and Mac, but the Win version is one version behind right now (NSD 5). I think he's updating it but no idea when that will be released.


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#8
Matthew Hampton

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Here is a screenshot of the Mt Hood area I made awhile ago.  There is a little bit of displacement using Plan-Oblique so I think it's best for small-scale work, but I was trying to stretch things a bit with this render.  I would say that it's quite a bit easier to work with than VNS (it's also simpler with respect to functionality) and you don't need to spend a week at camp to learn it.

 

Attached File  MtHoodPlanOblq copy.jpg   273KB   1 downloads


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