Digital Landscape Creation 2: World Creator

Nov 16, 2021 at 05:00 am by -gToon

Slideshow

This is the second article in a series that will cover contemporary 3D landscape creation software. I’ll share my experiences with each one from installation to the final creation of a landscape scene. And, of course, links will be provided in every article. I hope to post every Tuesday of each week, although some applications will take longer than a week to learn and create with. You can read the introduction to the series here. 
 

World Creator

World Creator, currently in version 2 with version 3 in development, appears to be about 7 years old (2014). Information is not clear on their otherwise excellent website. BitetheBytes, a German company, is the owner/developer of World Creator. They state that World Creator is …the world's first real-time Terrain and Landscape Generator that performs all its generation and design processes entirely on the GPU using thousands of cores combining procedural power with creative freedom and efficiency of a real-time workflow”. The company also claims to have over 10,000 clients included Blizzard, Crytek, Bioware, Valve, Unity, and Microsoft Game Studios
 
From the tutorials and videos available on World Creator, it appears that the application began as a Unity game engine plug-in (still available in that form) and expanded, due to popular demand, as a standalone application in 2017. Since then, it has developed into one of the top 3D landscape creation tools on the market, both for professionals and amateurs alike. Unfortunately, there are few reviews of World Creator as they do not have a free demo available and a trial version is only available for business. Since the program costs several hundred dollars, we are not able to work directly inside of World Creator and this article will only cover information provided on BitetheByte’s website and various videos that have been released on how to work with World Creator 2. 
 
The software comes in three versions: Standard, Professional, and Enterprise. The pricing is (respectively) $149 and $289 for perpetual licenses (assuming your income is under 100K). The Enterprise version pricing is listed as “contact us”, so one would assume it is significantly more expensive. You can see a breakdown of the Standard and Pro versions here. All of the videos and tutorials I’ve watched indicate the Professional version is the one you should buy as the Standard version is simply too limiting for high-level digital landscape creation. 

World Creator Workflow

Since the application is GPU-centered, you can work in real-time which is something that all of the tutorials indicate is a big factor in choosing World Creator. The application is laid out clearly with the ability to create landscapes manually or procedurally (or both). You can also layer each feature you want to add (much like in Photoshop). The procedural feature means you use sliders to increase or decrease the layer properties. So, basically, you generate, design, blend, mix, paint & sculpt, erode, and simulate layers in real-time. 
 
The real-time aspect is critical because, with World Creator, you can experiment, improvise and try different settings and see the results immediately. You don’t have to update the scene or wait for long render times to see the effect of your changes. 
 

World Creator Results

Using this real-time program can create impressive scenes. The slide show above is only a fraction of the interesting creations you can find both at the World Creator website and on the internet. Wintery scenes, mountain scenes, rivers, forests, deserts; all of them are scenes you can create in great detail. World Creator provides its own library of textures and 3D objects to populate a scene. Note that the images featured are taken directly from the World Creator website gallery
 
The rendering engine inside of World Creator is very good, but most users tend to export their creations to either other rendering engines or to game engines like Unreal and Unity. Here’s where it appears to bog down a bit as you can’t export in a USB, OBJ, or USD format, only as a series of maps that you import and combine in another program. I don’t have direct experience with this procedure, but several videos including one by Travis Davids show a somewhat cumbersome process. 
Art by Tony Zagoraios

Final Thoughts

What I have learned about World Creator really makes me want to try it out, but since they don’t have a demo (and do not respond to requests for a trial version) it’s hard to know if it is a good fit for this series and my own creative projects. The Unity plug-in looks appealing and since it’s cheap ($31.90), I might give it a try. The real-time workflow and very deep layering features make World Creator a good bet for 3D digital landscape creation, although the somewhat complex export procedures give me pause. 
 
I like the World Creator website, its community forums, and tutorials, and the results you can create with this program speak for themselves. I’m tempted to buy the program and if I do, I promise to revisit this application in a future article. 
 
I’ll leave you with a brief introduction to World Creator by Tyler Puryear who is their official guru. He does a nice job and has a complete series of tuts covering tons of the application's features and functions. You can check out the program yourself by clicking the button below
 

Next Week: Digital Landscape Creation 3: VUE

Sections: News & Features




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