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Best 3D programs to create landscapes?   


  10/27/2020  2


I am interested in creating a metaroom background in 3D graphics. Which program is the best to create landscapes in C2/C3 Style? Which program was used to create the official background image of C2?



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  10/27/2020  1

Which program is best is going to be subjective, but I would recommend Blender for hobby work like this because it's free and on par with industry-standard 3D programs in most respects, these days.

Based on the old official tutorial on creating the tomato launcher toy sprite, the C2 background was likely created in 3DS Max.

I haven't finished the project yet (my focus for it ran out and has yet to come back), but I have a couple blog posts on making a C3/DS style metaroom BG in Blender from earlier this year:

Chaotic Spriter


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Daz Studio and Hexagon are also free. There are a lot of freebies around for Daz studio if you look around, and hexagon lets you make your own models which can be used in Daz studio.


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  10/28/2020  3

The creatures series was made in a variety of 3D applications. I spoke with the artists years ago.

A lot of C2 was made in Lightwave (specifically, the aforementioned C2 tomato launcher toy), but I wouldn't recommend Lightwave!! Development on it has stagnated for years. It's not even competition to modern applications. Most of it's veteran development staff went off to make Modo, it's competitor, and spiritual successor. Modo has active development and is much more robust. It also has a decent pricing scheme for indie artists.

Maya was used for modeling the C1 (yes, those C1 norn renders were Maya in 1996!) and C3 norns and parts of C3's backgrounds. Other parts of C3, and almost all of DS, were made in 3Ds Max.

3Ds Max is also what I used to make all my assets (Canopy, C22DS additions, Garbage Dump, Norn renders, etc). However... 3Ds Max is incredibly expensive. I cannot recommend it unless you're actually in the graphics industry or can leverage a discount somehow. They have no competitive pricing option for hobbyists.

If you're wealthy and need to flush some cash, Max and Maya are the industry standard. Max is used significantly in games, and Maya for cinema (Pixar is a major studio that comes to mind). Have only a little cash to blow and still want something commercial? Modo is a solid app.

Honorary mention goes to Houdini. Historically used as a VFX application, it is becoming a powerful procedural modeler. Everyone in the GFX industry should keep an eye on Houdini!

No money? Well let's talk about the elephant in the room: Blender. It's open source, feature rich, and not nearly as confusing to learn as it used to be. It's most recent versions have fixed it's infamous UI and brought it on-par with commercial applications. In some ways I believe it surpasses them. Blender is becoming more popular in the industry (particularly Indie development for obvious reasons), and I see it becoming a pipeline staple in coming years.

My suggestion is Blender. You can't go wrong with it, and it's free. But if you've never done 3D work before, don't expect to be cranking out metaroom backgrounds overnight. 3D Modeling is a skill and there are a lot of principles, tools, and lingo to understand before you'll get results.

The truth is, the application is irrelevant. A skilled artist can use Max, Maya, Modo, Houdini, or Blender, and get the same, outstanding results. My advice is to get Blender, get learning, and get modeling. If you want to switch apps later, it won't be as hard as you think. The application is not as important as the foundation.

Hope this helps!




Thanks for response and tips!

Most of the programs are quite expensive, the free ones are not what I was searching for. Too much work to do, would take too much time to modelling and texturing every single stone, tree, hill.
I would have to buy additional packs for plants and everything, to get enough resources for fast world building.

I tried the ANT Landscape Addon for Blender, but it has not much features.
Something like Bryce would be more suitable for creating a landscape. Terragen looks beautiful, but I think too modern for a creatures game and it is expensive too.

After all I decided not to start a 3D based meta room image yet and rather try another method to create landscapes. I will paint the whole meta room with background, rocks, plants, everything myself in contours by hand, after that editing and colouring it with GIMP, adding 3D like effects to the objects, lights etc.



  1/28/2021  1

Liil wrote:
Terragen looks beautiful, but I think too modern for a creatures game and it is expensive too.

This made me laugh; I love that pre-rendered fanmade Creatures content should intentionally look dated in order to properly match the game's aesthetic. It's true, it does have that 90's CGI look, but in a charming way.

Anyway, as for this project, I know this reply probably comes rather late but I hope you are still working on it! I've been using Blender for quite a while so I'd be happy to help if you're still interested in using or learning it. That said, I totally understand deciding to take a different approach. 3D modelling and texturing an environment does take a fair amount of time and work. I think a hand drawn/painted metaroom has the potential to look really nice, even if it is visually different to the official metarooms.


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