Vue Tutorial: Create Snowy Mountain Peaks With Mixed Materials

In this tutorial, you will learn how to blend two materials to create snowy mountain peaks using the material editor and the function editor. You will also learn how to set up vue for preview and final renders.

End result:
Create Snowy Mountain Peaks With Mixed Materials Final Image


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Practice tutorial


Step 1

This is the default start screen for vue 7. As you can see it is set up just like any other 3D program, with four view windows, and various tools on either side of the screen, and along the top. The first thing we need to do is set up the preview render options. Look along the top row of options and you will see the word "Render" click on this.

Step 2

This is what you will see when you have clicked on "Render" go down this drop down menu and click on "Render options"

Step 3

This is the screen where you set your rendering options.
Under "Preset Rendering quality" click the radio button that says preview
go down to the next section called Renderer and check the radio button that says internal
Drop down again to the box that says Render Destination and check the radio button that says Render to screen
and finally go across to the top right and set the options as follows. Leave the Aspect Ratio at the default Standard PC(4:3)
Underneath this check the radio button with 640x480 This wiill give a reasonable size preview render without overlong render times.
When you have done this, click OK at the bottom right of the render options screen to apply the changes and return to the editing screen,

Step 4

Go across the screen to the left hand tool bar, here you will see lots of icons that represent different functions in vue 7. Click on the mountain icon directly under the T This is the Create Standard Heightfield Terrain button and once clicked will place a piece of defualt terrain into your editing screens.

Step 5

Here is the default terrain ready for editing.

Step 6

this is the top view maximized for editing. To do this, go to the top left editing screen, where it says Top View go along to the right and you will see two small icons, click on the first one and a drop down menu will appear, in this drop down click on Maximize/Restore this screen will now maximized to give you better control over terrain placement and editing.
So now we want to flatten this terrain and use it as our foreground. To do this examine the terrain, you will see it has a bounding box with six black circles, these are the transform controls and behave in much the same way as the transform controls on photoshop. Click and dragging in any of the four corners will perform a Uniform Transform what this means is that you are increasing the size of everything, Height, width, Length What we want to do is flatten the terrain but make it larger. so, to do this you need to click and drag the Side controls These are placed on the sides of the terrain and are smaller than the corner controls. You can pull these to get roughly the same size terrain as I have. By pulling the sides you are performing a Non-Uniform Transform and will flatten the terrain as you pull.

Step 7

Clicking anywhere on the editing screen will Deselect the terrain and you will see the shaded terrain that you have just created. Looking in the preview window to the far right will give you some idea as to how your terrain will look when rendered. If it looks something like mine, we'll move to the next step.

Step 8

So now we want to create our mountains for the background. Clicking on the Mountain Icon under the T will place another default terrain into you editing screen. This time though we want to increase the Height of the terrain. Click on any corner of the transform bounding box and drag. Keep an eye on the Main Camera preview window on the far right as this will let you see how big your mountains are and where the have been placed in your scene. To move the terrain around in your scene use the green and blue Move Gizmo in the centre of your terrain. This will allow you to move your terrain anywhere on the screen and position it where you want.

Step 9

Create another piece of terrain, and using the transform controls again increase the size uniformely, by using the corner controls of the bounding box. This terrain we'll place to the rear and left to create more mountains.

Step 10

Keep your eye on the main preview on the far right and move your mountains until they appear to create a range of mountains like mine.

Step 11

Create yet another piece of terrain and we'll make this one the biggest, so pull the corners of the tranform controls and increase the size.

Step 12

This is the last piece of terrain, it is the largest and I've placed it to rear and left of the others. This will create a little more depth to the final image.

Step 13

Let's have quick preview render to find out how our scene looks, go up to the top right of the main screen and you will see an icon that looks like a Camera Click on this, and your preview render will appear in the centre of your screen. Depending on your system this should take only a fraction of time.

Step 14

This is the Preview Render window as you can see we have a nice little mountain scene, with a foreground and some reasonable mountains in the background. There are no materiels in the scene, but we still have a good idea as to how it will look. When you're satisfied, close the preview render by clicking on the X in the top right, and we will resume.

Step 15

Now we need to restore the four editing screens back to their default setup. To do this where it says Top View in the top left of the screen, go along to the right and click on the First icon, you will get this drop down menu, simply click on the Maximize/Restore option and the four editing screens will reappear.

Step 16

So now we are back to the four main editing screens.

Step 17

What we want to do now is add some interest to the foreground by adding some gravel and stones. At the bottom right of the screen is the Layers panel. remember the first terrain we created? Okay, click on the word Terrain in this panel. This will make that terrain active for editing. To edit this terrain move your mouse onto the terrain in the Main Camera View screen immediately to the left and right click. This will produce a menu, choose Edit Object and click on it.

Step 18

This is the Terrain Editor on the right are 3 options tabs Paint, Erode, and Effects, Click on the Effects tab. You will see a list of things here we can add to the terrain. For now just click on the Gravel and Stones buttons a couple of times each. When you're done click on OK on the bottom right of the terrain editor.

Step 19

We are now going to add some Material to the terrain we have just edited. With the terrain we have edited still selected, go up to the top right of the right tool panel and you will see a biege sphere, Right click on this a pop up menu will appear, select Edit Material

Step 20

You are now in the Material editor Here you can change materials, assign materials, blend, and create custom materials. You will see the two biege spheres, this means that you have not yet assigned a material to the terrain you have chosen. Double click on the top biege sphere and this will open the material library.

Step 21

This is the material library for vue 7. On the left are different catergories, or sub libraries. Here I have clicked on the word Landscapes on the left. This opens up the materials for that particular library. I chose Rocks and plants this material is found on the bottom row of spheres in the middle, although this may differ with older versions of Vue. Click on the sphere to highlight it, then click OK, on the bottom right of the material editor.

Step 22

You will be taken back the Material Editor Just click OK to close this and your material will be assigned to the terrain.

Step 23

This is what it should look like once you've closed the material editor. So now let's have a quick preview render of the scene so far. Click on the Camera Icon at the top right of the screen.

Step 24

Here is the preview render from my scene.

Step 25

Close the Render Window Now we can add materials to the rest of the mountains, go to the layers panel on the bottom right of the screen and select Terrain2. You will see the the second piece of terrain you created turn red and become wireframe, this is okay it means it has been correctly selected.

Step 26

Now go to the top right of the screen and right click on the Biege sphere, choose Edit Material from the pop up menu.

Step 27

Here we are again in the Material Editor This time in the option box that says Type click the radio button that says Mixed Material. You will now be faced with 4 spheres. The top one is the final mixed material. The bottom two on the left are for selecting the materials to be blended, and the one on the right is the distribution sphere, where we apply Fractal Maps to allow for more realistic material spread across the terrain.

Step 28

Right click on the sphere that has the heading Material 1 Choose Edit Material from the pop up menu, and click on it.

Step 29

Here is the Material Editor for Material 1. Double click on the top sphere to open the material library.

Step 30

From the menu on the left select Landscapes then from the choice of spheres find and click on Rocks and Plants then click on OK

Step 31

You can edit this material in it's own material editor, this appears after choosing your material. For now just click on OK again to return us to the mixed material editor.

Step 32

Now we need to choose the second material to be blended for our snowy peaks. Right click on the sphere that has the heading Material 2 and choose Edit Material from the pop up menu.

Step 33

Double click on the top sphere to open the material library.

Step 34

Back in the material library we are going to choose Snow This material is in the same library as Rocks and Plants near the top. Click on it when you have found it then click on OK to close the library.

Step 35

Click OK in the next window to close the snows own material editor, and to fetch us back to the mixed material editor.

Step 36

So now we have chosen two materials to be blended together, but if you look at the top sphere in the mixed materials editor. you can see it looks nothing like a snowy mountain material, more a dullish grey. So we have to apply a Distribution map to the sphere under the heading Distribution of Materials 1 and 2

Step 37

Right click on the sphere under the heading Distribution of Materials 1 and 2, and from the pop up menu click on Edit Function

Step 38

This is the function editor screen, in this screen we are going to concentrate on making a Fractal map so we can distribute our two materials more evenly and give them a more realistic spread over the mountains. On the left of this screen are some small icons, If you hover over these icons with your cursor a pop up will tell you what each one does. I want you to click on the one that is fourth from top. This is the add fractal icon and will place a fractal map into the main screen.

Step 39

So now we have the fractal map in our function editor. A new box has opened up at the bottom with lots of sliders and options. All we are going to do is move two of these sliders. This will create a nice fractal for our snow distribution.

Step 40

In the options under the main function editor, look for two sliders, one says Roughness and the other says Gain When you have found them, move the Roughness Slider to about 0.9, then move the Gain slider to about 2.05.
Look at the sphere on the left, it has gone from being a dull grey to black and white, but it's patchy and uneven, that's good. We want our snow to be patchy and uneven.

Step 41

Click OK to apply the fractal map to our mixed material and return to the Material editor.

Step 42

Back in the material editor we can see how the fractal has affected the snow and rock, look at the top sphere, it looks just like the fractal we made in the function editor. But this is no good yet. If we applied this to our terrain the snow would not be at the top of our mountains but all over, and patchy. so we need to make a few adjustments in the editor to get the snow to just be on top of the mountains.

Step 43

Under the top sphere are two tab options the current open one is Materials to mix This is where we chose our materials. Next to this is the Influence of Environment tab, click on this. It should be greyed out. To turn these functions on click the radio button that says Distribution of materials dependant on local slope, altitude and orientation All the options in this panel should now be avaliable to you.
Move some of the sliders around and see what happens. Ultimately you want the snow at the top of the sphere and the rock at the bottom. When you're happy, click back on the tab that says Materials to mix to add a couple of more tweaks to the material before applying it to the terrain.

Step 44

To the bottom right of the top sphere is a slider that says Material 1-Material 2 move the slider to left so that there is more rock than snow. Also to the far bottom right is another slider that says None-Progressive This is the blending slider, i set this to about 22% so that the snow is blended smoothly onto the rock.

Step 45

When you finished the blending, click on OK to close the material editor. Then click on the camera icon to see the preview render of the material applied to your scene. Remember you have only applied it to one mountain range at the moment. But it's enough to give you an idea how the material will be once applied to all the mountains.

Step 46

now we need to apply this material to all the mountains. To do this is really quite easy and quick. First of all go to the layers panel at the bottom right of the main screen, and click on the layer Terrain2 this will make this layer available for editing.

Step 47

Go up to the top sphere on the right, and right click on it, from the pop up menu choose Copy Material

Step 48

Go to the layer panel on the bottom right, then click on the layer that says Terrain3 Go up to the biege sphere and right click on it. From the pop up menu choose Paste Material This will apply your material to terrain3

Step 49

We need to repeat step 48 for terrain4 go up to the biege sphere, once you have clicked on the layer terrain4 then right click and choose Paste Material This will apply the material to the last piece of terrain.

Step 50

We can now do a quick preview render to see how our scene looks. So go up to the camera icon and click on it, once the scene has rendered and you are satisfied, click on X to close the render window.

Step 51

Now to add a tree to the foreground to add some interest. Over to the left where we selected the terrain icon under the T look for an Icon that looks like a tree. Right click on this to open the plant library Choose trees from the left hand menu and you will be presented with the tree library. Find a suitable dead or living tree, click on it and then click OK to close the library and place the tree in your scene.

Step 52

Now the tree is in your scene, you will see the same transform controls that the terrain had, use these to scale your tree to size you wish, then use the green and red Move Gizmo to position your tree in your scene where you want it. I placed mine in front and to the left of the camera so that only a few branches showed. I like this as it gives a little more depth to the scene. you can place yours where ever you like.

Step 53

Have another preview render by clicking the camera icon to see how your tree looks in your scene, keep moving it around and scaling it until you are happy.

Step 54

Now all that's left for us to do is add an atmoshere then set up the renderer for the final render. Along the top of the main screen are a list of options, click on the the word Atmosphere when the pop up menu appears choose Load Atmosphere then click on it.

Step 55

This is the screen that you will see, or something similar. On the left are different types of atmospheres, click on the one that says Spectral Sunshine You can choose any atmosphere you like, but I went for Bisbee As I liked the low clouds and low sun.

Step 56

When you have chosen your atmosphere click OK Your atmosphere will be loaded into your scene. To see how it looks, have a quick render, by clicking on the Camera Icon if you like what you see close the render window and move to the next step, if you want to choose another atmosphere close the render window and repeat steps 54 & 55 when your satisfied, close the render window and move to step 57

Step 57

So now we need to set up for the final render. To do this go up to the wordRender along the top row, and click on it. When the pop up appears click on Render options

Step 58

In the render options window that appears, under Preset render quality check the radio button that says Final
The only other setting to change is on the far right, under the heading Picture size and resolution check the radio box that says 800x600
Okay that's it, all you have to do now is click on the Render button at the bottom of this box and wait for final render.

Step 59

This is my finished render, as you can see we have a nice spread of snow on the mountains and the clouds look really nice and low across the mountain tops.
You can see the black triangles on the terrain, these are shadows. They have lots of controls and functions we can use to make them softer and more natural, you can also increase the render quality. But this will come in a later tutorial specifically about lighting and atmospheres. Have fun creating more mixed materials, and enjoy vue 7.....

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avatar ponti55
ponti55 says:

I can't thank you enough, i was having kind of a hard time following other tutorials but yours is very easy to follow. Thank you very much!

(5 years and 2172 days ago)
avatar Akassa
Akassa says:

Stunnign result... i heard vue is a really good program i think i'll try it out... great job missy

(5 years and 2171 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Thank you for explaining.

(5 years and 2161 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Really....Great Tutorial and very much appreciated

(5 years and 2137 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

The flash movie-tutorials that come with Vue blow. I way prefer reading step by step instructions. Thanks for the tutorials! Best I found so far for Vue. I'll read all of yours!
Thanks again.

(5 years and 2133 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Good tutmore of that can be seen at or great renders at Cornucopia3D galleries.

(5 years and 2059 days ago)
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Guest says:


(5 years and 1915 days ago)
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[banned] says:


(5 years and 1231 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

we wait more

(5 years and 1231 days ago)
no avatar
[banned] says:


(5 years and 1231 days ago)

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