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Getting Started


Your download will contain a file called (depending on version) which you will need to install and enable by going to Edit->Preferences->Addons, pressing Install and selecting the .zip file. Then you must restart Blender to complete the installation.

Install Addon

User Interface Introduction

The PlanetSet panel is located in the 3D viewport toolbar, which can be toggled by pressing N. The panel contains the majority of the functionality for PlanetSet.

PlanetSet Panel

You can quickly enable/disable different components of the planet with the checkboxes in the panel headers. If a camera is present, you can enable the planet, which will create a planetary terrain in the scene.

Understanding the PlanetSet Workflow

Render Settings (Important)

PlanetSet is made to render through Cycles only and requires certain render settings to produce realistic results. These settings can be automatically set up using the Adjust Cycles Settings operator, which is located in the settings sub panel. You can optionally make this happen automatically when enabling PlanetSet by going into the addon preferences.

The adjustment will change the path length limits, which is important for high-quality renders. For example, the exact appearance of clouds largely depends on the effects of multiple scattering, which can require as much as 250 volume bounces. The same principle applies to other volumetric scattering processes like mist and atmosphere. Additionally, trees with many alpha cut-out leaves and translucent shaders require potentially hundreds of transmissive light bounces to render correctly. For these reasons, it is reccommended to change these settings whenever creating a scene with PlanetSet.

Additionally, the viewport renderer volume step rate will be increased to make Cycles previews more responsive. The color management gamma and exposure settings are also altered to account for the bright daylight.

Using the Camera

Upon enabling the planet, there must be a camera present in the scene. PlanetSet will generate terrain inside the active camera frustum by default. You can reassign another camera by seleting it and using the Reassign Camera operator (found in search menu).

The terrain generation process has some latency, depending on the dicing rate. You can freeze the terrain to move the camera around without the latency, then unfreeze it when finished. Alternatively, you can find the view you want using the viewport flycam, then use the Align Camera to View operator to change the cmaera view to the viewport view.

The terrain is diced relative to the pixel size in the camera image plane. Therefore, if you specify a higher render resolution, the terrain will be subdivided more and vice versa for a lower resolution image.

You might see z-fighting on distant terrain features due to the increased depth buffer limit. This artifact is only visible in the viewport preview and will not appear in the Cycles render. This way, you can see terrain features many kilometers away in the viewport. You can change the depth buffer settings in the addon preferences.

Displacement Nodes

Finding the Terrain Nodes - Method 1:

The planet surface starts off as a section of smooth sphere. Using geometry nodes, this surface is then displaced as along the planets normal (or any vector you like) and the adaptive subdivision for the displacement is handled automatically. To access the displacement node group, open the geometry nodes editor and press the Terrain Nodes button in the top right corner. You can also pin the nodes so they don't go away when other objects are selected.

Finding the Terrain Nodes - Method 2:

Alternatively, you find the node group called 'Displacement' in the Planet modifier and open the group by pressing Tab with it selected.

Default Terrain Nodes

The default node network template uses some noise patterns to generate a generic looking terrain and masks it with a large circle to create a flat valley (nodes shown below). There are terrain node group presets available in this network to help you create landscapes.

Displacement works similarly to how it would normally in Blender, but by instead passing the terrain geometry through a displacement node.

Displacement is typically done along the surface normal, but you can use the vector displacement node to displace along any arbitrary direction.

Displacements can be stacked in multiple passes. The default node network has two displacement passes: the first for the main terrain and the second for ground details.

See the tutorials for more information about Geometry Nodes terrain.