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Gaea Essentials: Create Realistic Procedural Environments

A Comprehensive Crash Course in Procedural Terrain Creation With Dax Pandhi


Procedurally generated terrains that can be art-directed — or even combined with real-world satellite data — are an important cornerstone of CG production. Gaea is an exciting new tool for developing photorealistic environments and has been quickly adopted by the industry. In this 4.5-hour workshop, Dax Pandhi, creator of Gaea and Co-Founder of QuadSpinner, provides a thorough look at all the essentials you need to know to create realistic, high-definition terrains using a procedural methodology. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a 3D hobbyist, this workshop will help you get up to speed quickly in terrain-generation techniques being used in the real world.

In this comprehensive crash course for Gaea, Dax shares techniques that have been used on high-budget productions to create a multitude of photorealistic environments, including an overview of how to use real-world satellite data and Dax’s personal techniques for “bulking up” and eroding terrains for naturalistic results. As the workshop progresses, you’ll learn how to create even more sophisticated terrains for very high-quality and photorealistic results that follow the laws of nature.

Dax shares a variety of texture setups — all driven procedurally using the Texture and Satmaps nodes to give you complex color maps to colorize your terrains. As well as demonstrating standard Mountain and Erosion nodes, you’ll also see how other nodes including Anastomosis, Snowfall, Canyonizer, Fold, RockMap, Stacks, Shear, Carver, Surface, and Shatter can be utilized to achieve very specific looks and terrain shapes — particularly helpful when exploring look-dev options.

Gaea project files are included with this workshop.

Duration: 4h 47m

Format: HD 1920x1080

Dax Pandhi

Co-Founder of QuadSpinner, Creator of Gaea & GeoGlyph

Dax Pandhi is the co-founder of QuadSpinner, and the creator of Gaea and GeoGlyph. He has worked in the CG industry for over 20 years on a host of AAA games and feature films. The technology he has worked on has been used to make impressively realistic environments for AAA games, including Doom, Call of Duty, Halo, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and Shadow of War, among many others.

  • "Gearing up for the next big Battlestar Galactica project, 'Blood & Chrome', I went looking for a VUE artist that would help us raise the bar when creating planetary environments. It didn't take long to realize that the best guy on the planet is Dax Pandhi. His understanding of real world environments and terrains blows the doors off of anyone I've ever seen. He is a weapons grade talent."

    - Doug Drexler
    VES, Emmy, and Academy Award winning Visual Effects Artist and CG Supervisor: Battlestar Galactica, Caprica