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Bryce 5 Mini Tutorial
Panoramic Caverns



How to create panormic caverns

By David Brinnen & Horo

January 2006

Originally published on davidbrinnen.com

An example of a panormic cavern

Start up Bryce, select «Create» and click on the mountain.

Figure 1
Figure 2

Click on «E» (Edit) to open the terrain editor.

Figure 3

Change the resolution from the standard «128 - normal» (Bryce 5.0) or «512 - ultra-fine» (Bryce 5.5) to «1024 - massive resolution».

Figure 4

We have to create two terrains, one for the floor and one for the ceiling.   To create the lower terrain, we tread less known paths: we use the Deep Texture Editor (DTE) to create the raw terrain which will be modified in the Terrain Editor.

To get to the DTE, press simultaneourly the keys [Ctrl] and [Alt] or the key [Alt Gr] and left click with the mouse on the button labeled «Picture».

Figure 5

A random texture appears.   Click with the left mouse button on the upper control of the «Combination» window to open the Texture Library.

The texture is random only if no texture was used since Bryce started up.   In fact, you can select a sky from the library in the Sky Lab.   If you click on «Edit» near the lower right corner of Stratur or Cumulus under «Cloud Cover», the DTE opens with the respective cloud texture.   Click yourself out of the DTE and the Sky Lab, go back to the Terrain Editor and open the DTE by clicking on «Picture» while holding down the [Alt Gr] key.   You find the cloud texture already loaded and thus you can use clouds for terrains …

Figure 6

Select «swirlwave» from the Texture Library (third row, fourth column under Basic).

Figure 7

The Terrain Editor considers the Alpha channel only, please unselect all other channels and accept the texture.   It will take a few seconds until the Terrain Editor appears with this texture as terrain.   Patience!

Figure 8

This terrain results from the texture selected.   It will have to be edited.

Figure 9

The "Toolbox" of the Terrain Editor.   The tools marked with a red arrow will be used in the following order:

  1. Invert
  2. -> see next pictures
  3. Invert (back to normal)
  4. Eroded
  5. Raise / Lower
  6. Sharpening (click 3 x)
  7. Subplateaus

Please read the following remarks first before you go ahead.

Figure 10

Set brush diameter, hardness and opaqueness as shown in the centre.   Then, click once on «Invert» (step 1).   Open a wide cross-like path with the brush (step 2) and click on «Invert» once again (step 3).

Figure 11

Click once on «Eroded» (step 4).   With the eroding process, the terrain became very high / bright.   Move mouse over the button «Raise / Lower» and move mouse with pressed left button to the right until the brightest parts show a middle grey (as on the picture here), then let go of the mouse button (that was step 5).

Figure 12

Now, click three times on «Sharpening» (step 6) and finally click once on «Subplateaus» (step 7).   The lower terrain is done: accept it and leave the editor.

Figure 13

Select the terrain, click on Attributes and give the terrain the sizes shown at left-

Under «File» -> «Document Setup» set the document size to 800 x 267 (3 : 1).   This is just a size to work with and can be changed for the final render.

Select «360 Panorama Projection» in the render options (last arrow on the left column of the Bryce window).

Camera settings (second arrow from top on the left column of the Bryce window): Origin (X / Y / Z): 0.00 / 30.00 / -60.00; FOV 180°.   These are also just settings to work with and may be changed later.

Now the terrain for the ceiling must be made.

Figure 14

Create another terrain and set the Attributes as follows: Origin (X / Y / Z) 0.00 / 50.00 / 0.00; Rotate X-axis by 180.00 (to turn it upside down); set Size also to (X / Y / Z) 500.00 / 50.00 / 500.00.

Open the Terrain Editor and click on the arrow right of «Fractal», select «Alpine Valleys».   Click on the «Fractal» button until an interesting terrain appears (see picture at left).

Figure 15

Once a suitable terrain is found, «Invert» it and create a blob with the brush in the center, then «Invert» again.

Now, click twice on «Sharpening» (possibly, once is sufficient) then click once on «Subplateaus».

Probably, a ring appeared inside the hole after "subplateauing".   «Invert» and dampen or completely remove the ring with a slightly larger brush, then re-«Invert».   The terrain looks now something like shown at left.

Figure 16

Click once or twice on «Sawtooth» (second last green button at the left hand side).   If necessary, «Invert» to "clean up" the hole and back-«Invert».

The picture left shows the terrain after twice clicking on «Sawtooth».   Accept the terrain and leave the Terrain Editor.

Now, the terrains for the cave are created and the ceiling sits on top of the other.

Some adjustments are due now.   Create a radial light so we can see something at all.   It will appear in the hall of the cave.   The height of both terrains (Y) have to be increased from 50 to 100, the lower part comes to the Y-position 50, the upper to 100.   Move the camera to Z= -40 and rotate it along the Y-axis to +20°.   That's how the first render looks like:

Figure 17

We don't need the ambient light, we're in a cave, after all.   Chose the darkest sky you can find in the Sky Lab.   Then create a cube and position it to (X / Y / Z) 0.00 / 75.00 / 0.00 and adjust its size to (X / Y / Z) 480.00 / 200.00 / 480.00.   Thus, the whole cave is snuggly packed into a cube.

Now, create a couple of Radial Lights and distribute them in the cave.   They shouldn't be too bright.   In this kind of rooms the lamps like to hide within the rocks.   Tip: turn the intensity to 150 or 250.   If the light is out of the walls, the cave gets flooded by a bright light and black shadows.   Now, "move" down the intensity to a more sensible level and fine adjust the position of the light, finally set it to the desired brightness.

The following render shows the cave within the cube and with six radial lights.   Even though no material has been changed yet, the cave looks already more exciting.

Figure 18

Now, the cave will be expanded.   Select the cube and open the Materials Lab.   It has the boring but fast rendering standard Bryce grey.   Set all controls to 0, except «Reflection» and «Refraction» must be set to 100.   Thus, the cube becomes a perfect mirror.

Instead of packing the cave into a cube, you are encouraged to experiment with a cylinder or a sphere.   The result will be different.

In the picture below, the cube was made a mirror and used to extend the cave.   Maybe you have to increase the «Maximum Ray Depth» in the Render Options from the default 6 to 20 or more.

Figure 19

Make sure the ground plane is at 0.01 height.   Adjust it, if appropriate.   The cave will now be flooded.   As an example, but on the ground plane the «Carribean Resort» water material.

For the terrains, a simple material from the library was applied.   It is obvious that the scene looks better or worse depending on the material used.

Figure 21

Material for the Rocks

We put onto the rocks a material we create from parts we find in the Texture Library and show, how we go about it.   Generally, we will use the same material for the lower and the upper terrain.

Currently, the rocks have the boring Bryce default grey applied.   Open the Materials Lab and move the mouse pointer into the third hole (channel C) for «Diffuse».   Hold the [ctrl] key and left click with the mouse.   Three random textures appear.   Do the same for «Ambient"» and «Bump» (the random textures do not change).

Put the controls as shown in the picture below.   We do not want «Ambience» because we want our own lights to take over that part.   Turn the control for «Specularity» fully up, we want that our rocks appear wet.   The control for «Bump» can be moved from -100 to +100.   If you click on the number, however, you can enter values between -998 and +998 directly.

Figure 21
Figure 22

If you click on the button on top right of a texture, the texture selection drop-down opens.   Select from the topic «Sand» «Barnecles».

Another means would be to click on the middle upper button of the respective texture to open the DTE.   It has been showed further up how you can get to the Textures Library from there.

For the three textures needed we show where they can be found using the Texture Library (Row/Column).

«Sand»: «Barnecles» 4/2.
«Rock»: «purple rox» 2/1.
«Basic»: «Basic Slope» 4/6.

The top texture (channel A) should be mapped to «World Space», the other two (channels B & C) to «Object Space».   The "mapping" can be changed by clicking on the lower right button of the respective texture.

Just below the preview of the material, you find «Copy» and «Paste».   Click on «Copy», accept the material and exit the Materials Lab.   Select the upper terrain, go into the Materials Lab again and click on «Paste».   Now, both terrains have the same material applied to them.   Render the scene and it should look something like the picture below.

Figure 23

What hits the eye immediately are the offending bright horizontal strips on the columns at left of the lower terrain, one of them at the same height as the light in the side chamber at left in the middle ground.

Figure 24

We do something against those offending lines.   Select the lower terrain and open the Materials Lab.

On the middle texture (channel B), click on the upper left button and edit the texture size Y from 25% to 50%, then rotate the texture along the X-axis by 30° and along the Z-axis by 45°.   This resolves the problem.

The upper three controls determine, how large the texture is put onto the object.   The percent values are according to the size of the texture image.   Even though it reacts sometimes the same way, there is no connection to the frequency setting in the DTE.

The rotation (three controls in the middle) again have to be considered in respect to the texture picture and have nothing to do with the rotation setting in the DTE.

With the lower group of controls you may shift or slide the texture picture over the object.   All 9 controlls are usually used (but not limitted to) when pictures (Leo) are wrapped around objects.

Finally, the material for the upper terrain was slightly adjusted as well, the bump on the water almost completely removed and the radial lights got a hue of colour.   The rendered picture was contrast enhanced with the graphics program.

Figure 25

Well, not much is missing to make it a complete picture.   Perhaps a small boat?   We want to remind you that you may alternatively render this scenery as an interactive panorama.   QuickTime must be installed in order that Bryce can create a QTVR (QuickTime Virtual Reality) movie — and of course, also to watch it.

Such a QTVR movie was created from this cavern and you can download it from here: t15mov.zip, 909 KB.   The panorama was rendered as a 1248 x 384 pixel QTVR Panorama and exported.