Node Description & Purpose:
The Populator is used for creating and distributing many instances of the same object across a customizable rectangle area on the xz-plane. By using the Populator, the user can have the application accurately place instances of objects (instantiated objects) on the terrain surface automatically, so that the object's y coordinate matches the y coordinate of the terrain. The ability to specify a density shader allows users to mask the placement and distribution of objects. If no distribution shader is specified, the Populator places objects randomly across the defined rectangle area. To mimic more variety, the Populator can rotate instantiated objects randomly around the y-axis, and vary the object scale within a Population by user defined parameters.
The Populator v4 is new in Terragen 3. It has several important new features:
Multithreaded population. Population is calculated on multiple cores at the same, making it considerably faster on multicore machines.
Instance editing. This allows you to edit or delete individual instances within the population. You can find out more about instance editing here.
Instance caching. Population instances can be saved to a cache file. The cache file is read when the population is loaded, potentially saving time compared with calculating the instances. You can find out more about instance caching here.
Another important change is that the Populator v4 no longer allows instances to appear outside the population area.
The Populator v4 replaces the Populator v3 in Terragen 3. All new populations are created using the Populator v4. However the Populator v3 is still available in TG3 so projects created in TG2 can still be loaded and will render as expected. The only difference is that you can't create new Populator v3 nodes in TG3.
If you would like to convert a population from v3 to v4, simply select it in the Node List on the left, then use the utility button with a Gear Icon below the node list to select "Upgrade Selected Population to v4". Note that you must have the population you want to convert selected in the Node List; node selections in the Node Network will not be detected.
For additional information and example projects for using Populator nodes, please see the Populator Guide.
Node Type: Population (of any object type)