Warming up with Vue again…

As those who follow me on Twitter @runnymonkey will have seen, I’m trying to get back into the swing of Eon’s Vue package, which specialises in atmospheres and landscapes.

Now I often have something of a love hate relationship with this program, as I find it a mix of the incredibly impressive, and the incredibly frustrating.

The Mars Fleet Assembles`
The Mars Fleet Assembles

(I’m currently on Vue 2014, and considering an upgrade if this goes well)

The good:

  • Handles polygon counts in the billions
  • Ecosystems are a superb way of arranging large numbers of elements
  • Atmospheres are superbly accurate, and even offer solar halos
  • Lots of decent off the shelf content available, at reasonable prices
  • Excellent volumetric effects

The Bad:

  • Awful DRM on the software and content
  • Unstable
  • VERY high render times for the most impressive features
  • Surfacing system is as user friendly as a cornered rat
  • No modeller and flaky import from other software packages

Anyway, here’s a series of images to show you how I got from my starting point, to a finished image I was happy with.

To start with I was experiomenting with procedural landscapes, as supplied, and applying atmospheres, to see what came out.

A sulpherous landscape in Vue
A sulpherous landscape in Vue

This is quite interesting, and my first thought was that with a little work, it could pass for the surface of the planet Venus. Ground detail seems good, and I like the distant haze.

For those unfamiliar, a Vue “Atmosphere” is a mix of a sky, lighting, and volumetric effects, covering things like fog, mist, clouds, sun position, and lighting method used, (e.g., should global illumanation be applied?)

I decided to try some more, and move the camera around. A favourite atmosphere from ones I bought is “Mombassa”. Slow to render but relatively realistic. Here’s what came out.

Terrain with Mombassa atmosphere
Terrain with Mombassa atmosphere

Much more Earthlike, though the terrain is not convincing for Earth. But I wanted to focus on the sky. I increased the decay, so light got redder with thicker air, and added a big moon. The included planets for the sky are awful, but you can add your own bitmaps, so I decided to use one I orginally intended as for a small moon or Kuiper Belt Object.

Red sky big moon
Red sky big moon

Nicely moody, but a bit too dark.

So here’s the final (maybe?) version, with less deep blue, and a second moon in the sky. You can have more than one in Vue, but I decided to add this in Photoshop Elements.

And that’s it!

If you want to find me on Twitter, I’m @runnymonkey here:


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