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Portefolio Terragen

Paysages photo-réalistes

  Terragen... Aujourd'hui ce mot est devenu synonyme de logiciel de création de paysages, de "rendering" selon sa dénomination anglo-saxonne.

Photorealistic landscapes

Terragen.... Today this term is became a byword to describe scenery and rendering software.

Et de fait, Terragen est l'un des premiers programmes à explorer ce domaine d'une manière aussi complète et pratiquement sans limitations.

J'ai le plaisir de vous présenter ci-dessous mes réalisations personnelles. Consultez également les galeries Astronomy, Solar System, Earth, Alien Worlds et Astronauts, Space Tourism & Spaceships consacrées à l'astronomie et l'astronautique.

Voyez cette page pour ajuster la luminosité et le contraste de votre écran.

And de facto, Terragen is one of the first application to explore this field in a so complete way and practically without limitations. It is a remarquable tool quite easy to use that permits to each of us to create photorealistic landscapes.

I have the pleasure to present you below my personal creations. See also the galleries Astronomy, Solar System, Earth, Alien Worlds and Astronauts, Space Tourism & Spaceships dedicated to astronomy and astronautics.

Check this French page to adjust your screen luminosity and contrast.

Vous pouvez acheter ces illustrations. Consultez la FAQ pour les questions commerciales.

Ces images sont protégées par le droit d'auteur.

You can purchase these illustrations. Check the FAQ for commercial issues.

These images are protected by copyright.


"Imagination is more important than knowledge"

Albert Einstein.

Our Blue Planet

Earth is the cradle of the Human kind. Our blue planet is also the only planet in the Universe where we know that an intelligent life has successfully developed. In this context it is a very seldom gift from mother Nature that we have to preserve. In 4.5 billion years, the biosphere has become luxuriant and displays an amazing variety of forms and colors that sometimes let us dreamy. There are these feelings that I have tried to reproduce in the next series of renderings.

Crepuscular Rays

Crepuscular Rays in Altitude

Sunset on Monument Valley

Wintry Sunlight


Crystal clear water

Badlands Millions Years Ago

Rough Sea

Oahu Beach

In The Lagoon

Snow On Mt St.Helens

Mt St.Helens

Blue Sky At Flight Level 250

Misty Sunset

Fog in High Sierra

Over Meteor Crater


Laguna Colorada, Bolivia

Moonrise Over Badlands

Against The Light

Grand Canyon, Utah

Mission to Mars

Mars is a planet as small as the Moon. Like it, it is dying, riddled with impacts and fractures. Its surface is cold, arid, sanded up, and very dry. Due to its low mass, Mars was not able to retain its atmosphere that partially escaped into space. The remain has become too light and does no more - if ever it did - allow the development of life. Worse, its surface receives extreme UV radiations, heavy cosmic rays, and its dust is maybe toxic, allergenic and cancerigen.

For short, despite appaerances Mars is inhospitable. Today the mean surface temperature is close to -60°C and the atmosphere is mainly composed of carbon dioxid. In early morning, white frost and mist invade craters and all reliefs sheltered from the wind. Here and there, close to the polar caps, after the carbon dioxid sublimated into the atmosphere, the bottom of craters covers with water ice as shown Mars Express space probe in 2005. Everywhere the underground is made of permafrost and ice caps cover permanently one or both polar regions.

But Mars can revive thanks to a terraforming process, transforming the currently sterile planet into a fertile and breathable world. As Mars is a small planet, the process must be intensive and continue. If we can rewarm its atmosphere in pouring into greenhouse effect gases and simutaneously rewarm its surface in exploding some large volcanoes and using mirrors to rewarm the soil, the permafrost could liquefy, raise to the surface, and begin invading plateaus and valleys. At the begin the cristal-clear water will be a few centimeters deep only but after some hundred years, true lakes and maybe even an open sea could form.. At the same time, if we inject huge amounts of photosynthetic bacteria in the atmosphere, oxygen could be produced. At the end, moisture will increase in the atmosphere creating fracto-stratus and high clouds. The sky color today pink to orangeous due to dust in suspension will tend to the blue creating amazing landscapes. These are some of these possible worlds, past, current or future that I present you below, Mars the Red, Mars the Blue.



The First River in Valles Marineris


Before Terraforming

While Terraforming

After Terraforming

Before Terraforming

While Terraforming

After Terraforming

Before Terraforming

While Terraforming

After Terraforming

Frost and Mist in Valles Marineris

Olympus Mons

Moisture traces

Valles Marineris

Olympus Mons on Sea

Shadows in Coprates Chasma

Kasei Vallis After Terraforming

Sand Fields Before Terraforming

Sand Fields After Terraforming

Shallow Fog in Melas Chasma

Ius Chasma

Coprates Chasma

Ejecta Under The Stars

Valles Marineris Sanded Up

In Quest of Life

Mission to Titan

Larger than Mercury and Pluto, Titan is the largest satellite of Saturn and of the solar system. It was visited in June 2004 by Cassini-Huygens space probe that revealed under its thick orange atmosphere a strange and unexpected world. Its surface shows bright mountains and dark areas as well as what looks like to drained delta, draining channels that maybe carried out methan or ethan millions years ago. Closeups revealed plains covered with icy rocks.

In 2005, thanks to a sunny spell in Titan atmosphere, a well delimited dark surface was discovered close to the South Pole. Remain to know if this surface is liquid or solid. In the event of this feature is a lake of hydrocarbon, Titan should be the first satellite in the solar system to display a liquid surface. 

Today Titan is too cold (-179°C at the surface) to allow the development of life but who knows, far under the surface, some extremophiles could maybe survive. Added to the presence of organic material, aerosols, a little underground heat and maybe icy water in depths, Titan remains a favorite destination for future space missions to know until where the life could go on an extraterrestrial world.

Draining Channels

Rising of the Ringed Planet

Sunny Spells

Huygens Descent

South Pole

Mist in the shore

Dried Up Mouth

Swallowed Up Craters

Methane Creeks In The Mist

Droits de reproductions réservés - Reproduction rights reserved.

Qu'est-ce que Terragen ?

Terragen est un logiciel graphique très élaboré permettant de créer des paysages photo-réalistes. Créé par Matt P.Fairclough, le programme est libre de droit pour tout usage non commercial. 

Il existe deux versions de Terragen, la version 0.9.43 et la version Terragen 2 Technology Preview, cette dernière étant distribuée officiellement depuis le 15 décembre 2006. 

Voici les caractéristiques du produit :

- Rendu de surfaces, couleur, texture du relief, rugosité, distribution, calques multiples (layers), taille, ...

- Rendu atmosphérique, couleur, épaisseur, brume, ...

- Rendu des nuages, couleur, altitude, épaisseur, ombre, quantité, volumétrie 3D, densité, opacité, taille, ...

- Rendu de l'eau, couleur, vagues, amplitude, période, transparence, réflectivité, ...

- Apparence et éclat du Soleil, diamètre, couleur, couronne, puissance lumineuse, halo, ombres portées, dispersion, ...

- Résolution écran, niveau de détail, lissage, ...

- Position du point de vue (caméra) et de la cible (target), inclinaison de la caméra

- Combinaison booléenne de deux reliefs

- Représentation 3D

- Scripts, import, export et gestion de plug-ins

- Lecture, écriture, export de monde (World) et de surface

What is Terragen ?

Terragen is a very sophisticated scenery and rendering program able to create photorealistic landscapes. Created by Matt P.Fairclough, it is free of charge for any non-commercial use.

There are two versions of Terragen, version 0.9.43, and Terragen 2 Technology Preview, this last being officially released since December 15, 2006.

Here are specifications of the product :

- Surface rendering, color, texture, bumpiness, distribution, multilayering, size, ...

- Atmosphere rendering, color, altitude, thickness, haze, size, ...

- Clouds rendering, color, thickness, shadow, amount, volumetric 3D, density, opacity, size, ...

- Water rendering, color, wave, roughness, size, transparency, reflectivity, ...

- Sun and light apparence, diameter, color, corona, glow power, shadow cast, spreading, ...

- Screen resolution, level of detail, anti-aliasing, ...

- Camera and target position, camera bank

- Boolean combination of two reliefs

- 3D renderirng

- Scripting, import, export, plug-ins management

- Loading, saving, export of world and surface

Terragen 0.9.43

Terragen v0.9, all windows open

The landscape (terrain) and surface map (layers) window

The water window

The atmosphere window

The lighting conditions window

The cloudscape window

Main menu






Terragen 2 ajoute de la végétation plus réaliste et une structure nuageuse plus complexe ainsi que de nouveaux outils comme un éditeur de relief plus puissant, l'effet des réflexions des lentilles, de nouveaux imports, etc.

Afin de profiter de toutes les options de lissage et obtenir la meilleure qualité d'image, achetez la version enregistrée de Terragen. Non seulement de cette manière vous encouragez Matt P.Fairclough à améliorer son produit, mais cette version vous permet également de créer des images de plus grandes dimensions.

Côté matériel un ordinateur cadencé à 500 MHz et disposant de 196 MB RAM (Pentium III) suffit pour utiliser Terragen v0.9.43 bien que cette configuration ralentisse le traitement.

TG2 ayant été totalement reprogrammé, cette version exige un minimum de 1 GB RAM mais sera plus à l'aise si elle dispose d'un système performant et de beaucoup de mémoire (CPU de 3 GHz, 4 GB RAM et 256 MB VRAM). 

Dans les deux cas Terragen peut fortement solliciter votre ordinateur, principalement le CPU lorsque vous créez des paysages complexes avec des ombres portées, de l'eau, etc. Voyez à ce propos cet article rédigé en anglais.

Notons que depuis fin 2006 plus aucun développement n'est assuré pour la version Classique 0.9.43. Seule la version TG2 connaît de nouveaux développement. Elle est déclinée en trois produits y compris une version gratuite.

Terragen Classic 0.9.43 tourne sur Mac OS 9, X et toutes le plates-formes Windows 32 ou 64 bits.

TG2 tourne sur Mac OS X et les plates-formes Windows XP et supérieures de 32 ou 64 bits.

Terragen 2 adds more realistic vegetation and a more complex clouds texture as well as new tools like a more powerful relief editor, a lens flare effect, new imports, etc.

In order to benefit of all anti-aliasing options and get the best image quality, buy the registered version of Terragen. Not only in this way you encourage Matt P.Fairclough to improve its product but this version allows you to create larger images too.

Hardware side, a computer running at 500 MHz and using 196 MB RAM (Pentium III) is sufficient to use Terragen Classic 0.9.43, although this configuration will slow down the processing.

TG2 having been reprogrammed from scratch, this version requires 1 GB MB RAM minimum but will be more at ease using a performing system and much memory (3 GHz CPU, 4 GB RAM and 256 MB VRAM). 

In both cases, Terragen can hardly appeals your computer, mainly the CPU when you create complex landscapes with shadows, water, etc. See this article that I wrote about this subject.

Note that since end 2006 there is no new development for the Classic version 0.9.43. Only TG2 know new developments. It is declined in 3 products including a free version.

Terragen Classic 0.9.43 runs on all Mac OS 9, X and all Windows 32 or 64-bits platforms.

TG2 runs on all Mac OS X and on Windows XP 32 or 64-bits platforms and higher.

Vous pouvez obtenir la dernière version de Terragen pour Windows ou MacOS sur le site officiel de Planetside.

Actuellement, ses principaux concurrents sont MojoWorld et Vue d'esprit, tout deux sous licence et beaucoup moins intuitifs. La NASA propose également un outil de recherche très puissant et très gourmant en ressources appelé WorldWind. Il mérite votre attention. 

Si vous désirez créer des objets, des animaux, des personnages ou de la végétation, Bryce est un excellent produit parmi beaucoup d'autres logiciels de rendu 3D. Complété par Photoshop et des photographies ou des dessins numérisés, vous avez à votre disposition tous les outils qu'il faut pour devenir illustrateur !

You can get the last Terragen release for Windows or MacOS on the official website of Planetside.

Currently its main competitors are MojoWorld and Vue d'esprit, both under license and much less intuitive. NASA also provides a powerful and resources hungrier search tool called WorldWind. It deserves your attention. 

If you want to create objects, animals, people or vegetation, Bryce is an excellent product among many other 3D rendering software. Completed with Photoshop and digitalized pictures or drawings, you have at your disposal all tools you need to become illustrator !

Terragen Resources

Terragen homepage, Matt P.Fairclough, Planetside

TG2 Technology Preview (download page)

Ashundar Terragen Community, Oshyan Greene

Yahoo! Terragen group (forum)

Outland, Oshyan Greene

Terrasource, T. & A. O'Donoghue

Terranet, Rainer Dückerhoff

Terra-Dreams, Peter Kleiner

Terra Evolution, Tero Tanninen

Space4case, Kees Veenenbos


The rendering time in Terragen, on this site

Surface map guide, Jo Meder, Planetside

Terragen Tutorial, Carol Brooksbank

Terrabil, W.A.Cummings

Downloads (Terrains, etc)

Space Graphics

Mars topography maps, PDS Geosciences Node (to convert with 3DEM)

Ashundar Terragen Community, Oshyan Greene

Land processing,USGS

SRTM data (worldwide data, sorted by Lat./Long.)

Tools (converter, animation, effects, etc)

Firmament, LensFX, etc (special effects from M.P. Fairclough)

3DEM (read .img, .dem files, etc)

Terranim (to create animations, from Oshyan Greene)

French pages

Yahoo! Groupe Planète Terragen

Olivier Cousino (Terracollines)

Christian Fly

Dominique Hoffmann

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