Some progress shots of work I’m doing for a client. Using low-resolution (8k * 4K > 1K) maps for now just to test the material Shader, which is where all the magic happens. All the Atmospheric stuff such as colour, density, etc. can be tweaked in real-time so you can completely change the look without having to swap out textures or using any texture lookups at all.
The final surface texture will have a 65,536 Pixel-Resolution around the equator, and be completely seamless. I’m doing this by splitting the globe into identical chunks, re-baking textures based on projection in Maya and having 4 UV-layers on each chunk for different resolutions/global mapping and various other things. I’d also like to split up the BRDF-styles for each section too, using Minneart for the clouds, Oren-Nayar for the Topography and perhaps just default for the oceans. Very tempted to write a paper on this when I’m done, as some of what I’m doing hasn’t been mentioned anywhere before that I know of and is a combination of loads of techniques (Can’t reveal the secrets yet!) Here’s the progress I’ve made so far (click images for High Res).
Earth In Space
Earth Shader (Surface Only)
Bro Do U Evn Parameter
Massive shout-out to Everett Gunther for showing me a great way to generate cloud-shadows on the surface, and also a good starting point for the atmosphere effects. I’m likely going to switch to the method proposed by Sean O’Neil at a later date once I get some help translating the math, and also try to incorporate JBaldwins awesome eclipse shader. (If he’d be so kind as to help me figure out how to do all the offsets in the Material ;))
!!! That’s insane !!! Where can I get images with that level of detail?? (without having to purchase my own satellite?)
Is this going to be an interactive globe, or just animated through matinee? Looks great so far! Sounds like quite the project, good luck man!
I’ve added yet more parameters and proper night/day masking now. I’d like to re-create a Gradient mapping tool like Photoshops in the Material Editor to make the atmosphere colour bands more interesting. I’ve seen it done in HLSL, but the Custom node doesn’t work in UE4 at the moment
Thanks Dot Once the cloud-shadowing and detailing is back in it should look ever better
As for performance, I WAS noticing spikes when streaming in the textures (lots of things being dumped in and out of GPU memory each frame). Since then I’ve turned off the Mip-Maps (no aliasing artefacts yet) and the performance remains a solid 120 FPS wherever I am in the scene! Still more to do:
Great progress so far
Now what would be really neat is to create the Aurora Australis and the Aurora Borealis in realtime. I have wanted to create the auroras for some time now (just haven’t gotten around to it).
Some other neat things you could create in an earth shader: