ArtMatic Voyager CTX References

Interface Basics & Conventions

Almost everything that you can see in the user interface is active, including the text, icons and glyphs. Pretty much every graphic item can be clicked or dragged to perform a task. Like all U&I Software applications, most tools are accessible directly from the user interface.

  • Tool Tips :
    The Tool Tips area found at the bottom-center of the main window provides useful information about whatever is under the mouse. Move the mouse over any user interface item to display helpful information. Often the tip will include shortcuts keys if any.

  • Numerical controls and slider:
    Numeric controls allow you to change values by typing or by clicking and dragging. When typing, complete entry by pressing return or entry key. Selecting another field should also validate the entry. You can change the number with smaller increments when pressing the option key while dragging a slider horizontally or a number field vertically.
    * ( times 2) changes the field value to twice its value
    / (divide by 2) changes the field value to half its value
    i (invert) changes the field value to 1/value ,
    d (degrees) interpret the entry as degrees converted to radians and shall be used at the end of keyboard entry. for example to get exaxtly Pi type 180 then 'd'. d should validate the entry automatically.

  • Color Pickers
    Color swatches allow you to change items such as the sun and sky color. Click and hold a swatch to pop up the color picker. The cursor becomes an eyedropper that picks up the color beneath it when the mouse is released which makes it easy to grab color from anywhere in the background. Unfortunately Apple in recent OS makes the reading of screen pixel subject to Authorization so you will have to grant Voyager the right to access the screen otherwise the color picker won't work. Keep in mind the picker can read any color anywhere on the screen which is extremely useful as you can pick a color from a picture unrelated to Voyager on the desktop for example.

  • Inspectors and Dialog
    Introduced in Voyager 5 Inspectors allows to edit deeper settings in a non modal way unlike dialog. Thus we keep the name "dialog" for modal windows that prevent main UI to operate while we use "inspector" for UI that pops up in certain areas but don't prevent controls, menus and main preview to be functionnal. The most important UI tools to control objects, sprites, lights, animation, render options and environment controls have been reimplemented as "inspectors".
    Inspectors will appear on the side without hiding the main view. The main UI that control the Camera, Environment and Positions is still accessible while using a specific inspector. Modeless "inspectors" are used for Objects, Sprites, Lights, Animation and deeper Environmental options and parameters. They can be opened using the icons on the top right of the UI. The one specific to timeline 'Animation parameters' is located in the timeline area.
    Some functionality that were in the dialogs were moved to the main UI because the non-modality make them usable even when a particular "inspector" is open. For example a new section 'Positions' below the 'Camera' handle the positioning of every elements in a VY scene which meant the position slider became redundant in the dialogs. 'Positions' can apply to objects, lights, clouds, textures and even the main planet terrain. In general the target will be set automatically when selecting an object or a sprite or a terrain but you can use the mode pop-up at the left of the section to decide to move the cloud layer, even if you are placing sprites or objects at the same time.
    So practically if you open the object inspector to import various objects you can still move the sun or change the camera view.
    Keyboard entries can't be assigned to several windows simultaneously. Thus a selection click is needed on Main UI before keys input can be redirected to it when an Inspector is Open. Likewise click on the Inspector area to redirect keyboard entries to the inspector.

  • Adaptative resolution
    Most of all sliders gives you real time preview at an adaptive resolution. You can click and drag on any control while seeing in real time the result of camera or object changes. When the scene is slow this real time preview will be at a very low resolution but enough to have a useful feedback. As soon as you release the mouse a better rendering is starting, a rendering that can be interrupted at any moment to tweak another parameter.

  • Sprites inspector (x)

    Opens the Sprite inspector. Sprites are very fast to render and can provide a lot of cool visual effects for animation when using animated ArtMatic systems: meteorites that cross the sky, various light effects, even reflective water flakes. Static PNG sprites can be used to add people in your architectural or landscapes scenes, a city in the background, or some trees in the foreground etc...
    The Sprite inspector gather all tools to open, scale, orient, activate and shade sprites.

    DF objects inspector (o)

    Opens the Objects inspector. The Objects inspector gather all tools to open, scale, orient, activate and shade DF 3D objects.

    Lights inspector (l)

    Opens the Lights inspector. The Lights inspector gather all tools to setup and shade built-in additional lights. Lights are fully animatable and can be treated as additional suns so Voyager 5 can now have multiple-sun worlds.

    Quick Edit ArtMatic params & shaders

    Opens the Quick Edit ArtMatic params & shaders inspector. This inspector gives you a direct access to "Published" parameters from the selected tree and can set the shading options associated with extra outputs.
    ArtMatic Designer since version 8 can "publish" up to 6 parameters from the tree even if they are located deep inside Compiled Trees. "Published" parameters are accessible for modification directly within this inspector without having to open ArtMatic Designer.
    If no particular parameters were published it will present the first 6 founded parameters found in the tree.

    As ArtMatic trees are used for many things in VY you have (on the top-right of the inspector the wheel-gear icon) a dynamic popup that lets you choose which tree you want to modify. You can also rename the tree which is often useful after modifying an existing one or to create variations.

    Environment Context

    The left tools in Voyager UI are dedicated to Environment control variables that are part of the current Context variables.

    Sun direction sphere

    The sun direction sphere allows you to set the position of the sun that illuminates the planet. The sun's angle realistically influences the color, the shadows, and reflections. Click on any point to focus the sun's light at that point. The bright spot indicates the sun's position relative to the planet's sky dome which is represented by the sphere. When the illuminated spot is in the center of the globe, it is noon (i.e. the sun is directly overhead). When the illuminated spot is at the edge of the globe, the sun is dipping towards the horizon. In Voyager 5 it is possible to put the sound below the horizon. In no planet mode, this allows for the sun to light objects from below.

    Sun color box

    To change the sun color, click and hold the sun color rectangle to pop up the color picker. Sun color affects all colors in the scene and the clouds. The sun provides directional lighting and is the primary source of illumination whereas the Ambient slider provides diffuse non-directional lighting. To decrease the sun's contribution to the lighting, lower the brightness of the sun color. If you set the sun color to black, the ambient light from by the sky and the haze will provide the scene's illumination and shading. Varying sun color along with the haze color and sun position allows ArtMatic Voyager to simulate a wide variety of light conditions.

    Sun/Atmosphere mode pop up

    Sun/Atmosphere pop up menu is located to the right of the Sun direction sphere. It will set various aspect on how the atmosphere and sun are rendered.
    The modes are as follow:

    Cast shadows

    When this option is on, the surface will cast shadows on itself, and any clouds will cast shadows on the ground. This greatly increases the realism of the scene (and also rendering time). This setting is ignored in Draft quality. Computing shadows is computationally very intensive. Turning this option on can cause rendering to take many times longer than when it is turned off. The time required to compute an image when Cast Shadows is on varies tremendously depending on the sun's orientation, the maximum landscape height, and the closeness of the foreground. Keep in mind that when the sun is low, the sun casts shadows that are very long. The render quality setting affects the accuracy of the shadows. When the setting is better or best or sublime, Voyager uses very refined sampling which can take a very very long time but will yield the very best results. You may want to start with good quality and increase the quality if the shadows seem wrong or incomplete.

    Haze slider & haze color

    The haze setting determines the amount of atmospheric haze (caused by moisture and suspended particles in the air). With low values, the haze is only visible at a distance. With high values, visibility is reduced dramatically. The Atmosphere Height preference also affects the density of the haze and determines how high the haze will go . The haze color can be changed by clicking (and holding) the mouse on the Haze Color picker. ArtMatic Voyager models the scattering of light that causes a blue shift of dark colors and red shift of bright colors that increases with distance. Changing the haze color has a dramatic impact on the way that colors are attenuated and shifted in the distance. Setting the haze color to gray enhances the red shift. In Voyager (just as in reality), a low sun will appear more red than it is. Note that the Atmospheric Color Shift preference also has an influence on how distance influences color.

    Ambiant slider

    This slider controls the amount of ambient light provided by the diffuse scattering of light from the sky dome. The ambient light is an overall illumination predominantly provided by the sky and is non-directional (unlike the sun's). When ambient light is strong, the colors of the sky will "bleed" noticeably on the surface. Ambient light can be eliminated by setting the slider to its minimum value (0). Without ambient light, areas that are not directly lit by the sun will be very dark.

    Wetness slider

    This setting determines how much the sea and snow and areas near the shore reflect the sky color. It also accentuates the water's reflectivity. When the wetness is high, you get fuzzy specular reflections in the areas affected by the setting. It also may change 3D object wetness as the renderer takes the maximum of the global wetness setting and the object own wetness setting.

    Atmosphere height slider

    The Atmosphere Height sets the altitude at which atmospheric gazes becomes insignifiantly small. It affects the density of the haze and determines how high the haze will go and how much scattering is going on in the sky shading model. The slider range is between 1 meter and 8000 meters. Note that when no Planet mode is used there is no longer any Atmosphere.

    sea (level) & sea color

    Sea level determines which elevations are filled with water. It is expressed in meters. Everywhere below sea level will be covered with water. Use the color picker found next to the slider to choose the sea color. In scenes where most of the sea color comes from the reflection of the landscape and sky, use a dark color for the sea since the sea color is added to the total light coming from the water and can easily get too bright if its color is too light. The sea color is also modulated by the depth of the sea. It is darker where the water is deeper.
    Note: the Camera is not allowed to go below the sea level.

    roughness slider

    This slider controls the surface texture of the sea by controlling the wind speed which makes the sea rough. The wind speed also affects the speed with which clouds move automatically when time flows. Roughness influences the sea reflectivity and usually the amount of foam as well. Rough seas are less reflective than calm sees. The sea appearance can be modified with the various options avilable in the "Environment settings" inspector.

    Transparency slider

    This slider controls water transparency. The appearance of underwater features is also influenced by the Underwater Color Shift setting in the "Environment settings" inspector .

    snow (level)

    Snow level determines the elevation above which the planet is covered by snow. The amount of snow is influenced by the steepness of the terrain and the elevation above snow level. The range is from -500 to 10,000 meters. You can generally eliminate snow by setting the snow level to 10,000 meters since it is rare that you will have peaks that high.

    Environment Settings...

    Opens the Environment Settings Inspector.

    Main View area

    The main view area is not only the place you will preview the current scene. It can act as a controller as well if you click and drag on it to move the camera. The amplitude of the motion depends on the Map Scale radius. The resolution of the preview is adaptative and will change to allow quasi realtime feedback when sliding parameters or previewing animation. Many single shots commands display a low res preview before starting a finer calculation.

    Planet And Sky Settings

    The right tool sets provides most controls for setting up the current scene : the Surface that defines the planet, the Texture that shades the planet and the Sky settings that handle sky rendering. Various UI elements and sliders may appear depending on the chosen modes for Skies and Textures.

    Map Overview

    The surface map shows the portion of the planet that surrounds the current camera position. The default dimensions of the area covered by the map can be set with the Map Scale (radius) button below. The map reflects the current sea and snow level settings as well as the surface color mode. Click and drag on the Map Scale controllers to zoom in or out on the map. The red lines indicate the view visible at the current zoom setting. The blue line indicates the current compass heading.
    Click on the map to move the camera to clicked location. You can also click AND drag while keeping the mouse down to move the camera on the Map : the main view will render the camera view in fast preview mode interactively.You may even go outside the Map area while dragging which gives you a much larger virtual region to explore. This offer a very efficent way to position the camera.
    Notice that the latitude and longitude absolute camera position are displayed in the Tool Tips region at the bottom of the screen while dragging and on mouse overs.
    You may set the "snap to ground" preference to ON if you want the Camera to automatically stay near the ground when using the Map to position the camera.

    Map Scale (radius in km)

    Click on the Map Range control and drag left or right to increase or decrease the area visible in the MAP overview. You can zoom in to see fine details of the landscape or zoom far out to get an overview of the planet's terrain. As you drag, the Tool Tips area displays the dimension visible in the map overview. Large ranges (100 km. or more) are useful for seeing large-scale features and to facilitate large location jumps (by clicking on the Map overview). Smaller ranges are useful for fine camera adjustments or to navigate inside a DF volumetric city.
    The default range of the map will define the amplitude of the various relative camera sliders as well as the amplitude of motion when you drag the main view.

    Surfaces mode pop up

    Use the Surface mode popup menu to choose a planet surface. You can use one of the built-in planet models, an ArtMatic file, or combination mode which allows several ArtMatic systems to be combined with each other and/or a built-in planet. modes :

    Elevation gain

    The Elevation gain slider controls the surface amplitude which acts as a multiplier to the elevations found in the planet's source definition. Setting the amplitude high exaggerates surface features. Setting the value low flattens the features. Defaults is at 1. Negative surface amplitudes invert the surface and turn mountains into canyons or oceans.

    Open ArtMatic terrain

    Select an ArtMatic file to be used for the current terrain. The surface mode will be set to ArtMatic Surface unless already set to ArtMatic Surface or Animation. The ArtMatic sytem that defines the terrain should be a 2D (2 inputs) in 1 output (terrain elevation) tree or a 2D (2 inputs) 4 outputs tree with the output as RGBA (RGB color + elevation).

    Edit ArtMatic terrain

    Opens the current ArtMatic terrain in ArtMatic designer for further editing. In combination mode "edit" will invoque the Combination mode dialog.

    Browse Terrains library

    The Voyager Library provides a collections presets terrains and planets directly available with the browse pop up. The scaling mode will be set automatically according to which folder is used. 'Absolute' mode is recommended. You may add your own terrains in the following folders but keep them consistent. A non-texture surface function shall be put in Absolute Surfaces, while a fully textured RGBA planet in Absolute Colored terrains or Worlds.
    Terrains/Absolute Surfaces
    Terrains/Absolute Colored Terrains
    Terrains/Absolute Worlds
    Terrains/Colored Terrains
    Terrains/Absolute Bedrocks

    Add 3D ArtMatic DF object...

    Usually management of DF objects is done within the objects inspector. This button was kept for convenience to import a DF object from the main UI.

    Colors mode pop up

    The color mode determines how Voyager texture-shade the terrain. The options are:

    Open ArtMatic texture

    Open a new ArtMatic file for texturing the current planet terrain.

    Edit ArtMatic Texture...

    Opens the current ArtMatic texture (if any) in ArtMatic Designer for further editing.

    Browse Textures library

    The Voyager Library provides a collections of presets textures directly available with this pop up. Available folders :
    Textures/Color & Bump
    Textures/RGB Alpha
    Textures/MFD Textures
    Textures/Multi Channel

    Textures can have several outputs. Learn more about texture shading in
    ArtMatic Textures Xouts and Xouts naming conventions

    Edit gradient

    Available in 'Altitude gradient' mode this buttons calls the standard U&I Gradient editor.

    Select gradient

    Available in 'Altitude gradient' mode this buttons lets you choose among a list of gradients.

    Terrain shader Settings... (t)

    Invoque the Terrain shader settings dialog.

    Sky mode pop up

    The sky modes sets the various options to render and shade the sky. There is a Sky Color picker that permits setting the sky background color. Below the sky display there may be one or more sliders visible. Their function is determined by the sky mode. The sky appearance is also influenced by the Sky Illumination Gain setting found in the Image section. This setting can have a dramatic impact on the sky appearance.
    To control clouds in various forms a Scale and a Density slider becomes available when needed. The reference cloud elevation is set in the Position area when mode is clouds & Sky. It is the reference altitude at which layer clouds or volumetric clouds starts.
    The clouds illumination model (volumetric or not, built-in or ArtMatic based) is quite different in Voyager 5 than before : while more physically accurate it is more sensitive to various parameters. The "Cloud & fog color" controls the amount of light emitted within the cloud by scattering which is added to reflections from incoming lights. So when the "Cloud & fog color" is white or very bright you will have more total light. Set it to black to see the response that only depends from sun(s) light. Alternatively you can set the sun to black and play with the Cloud & fog color to see how ambient light is transmitted through the cloud.
    The role of "Cloud & fog color" is more important. You can shade a cloud only through scattering (light coming from every direction) using a bright "Cloud & fog color". In that case the thickness of the cloud will determine how much light is blocked by the cloud particles. The Sky Illumination Gain control affects only the directional light reflected from the sun(s). So in general darkening the "Cloud & fog color" and changing the Sky Illumination Gain is the way to adjust. When the two are high the cloud may emit too much light. In extreme case you may need to use the global illumination gain & Gammas to further equilibrate the image.

    Open ArtMatic Clouds or Environment texture

    Use this button to import a new ArtMatic Sky file.

    Edit ArtMatic Sky...

    Opens the current ArtMatic Sky file (if any) in ArtMatic Designer for further editing.

    Browse Skies library

    The Voyager Library provides an extensive collections of Skies, Clouds and & 360 environment that can be imported directly using the Browse pop up. Folder are organized by themes and contains : RGB Sky plane, Absolute Clouds, Scalar clouds, Underwater shaders, Volumetric clouds , Volumetric lights , MultiLayer Clouds, BackDrops, Custom Suns, Environments 360. In general choosing from theses folders will automatically set the sky mode to the proper mode and eventually set cloud type and cloud scaling mode as well. Custom Suns folder holds alternate sun shaders. When choosing from this folder 'link to sun' is activated automatically.

    skycontrol sliders

    Available in Backdrop and 360 Environment mode theses sliders offsets or rotates the sky coordinates.

    Clouds Density slider

    Controls an offset to the cloud density function. It affects avery kind of clouds and can be used to make the sky completely overcast and will growth volumetric clouds as well.

    Clouds Size slider

    Controls the overall size of the built in clouds or ArtMatic defined clouds/skies.

    Edit current ArtMatic system

    Available with ArtMatic defined clouds/skies this button will open the ArtMatic tree in ArtMatic Designer for deep editing.

    Camera controls

    This area gather controls and buttons dedicated to the Voyager Camera. Any scene is viewed through a virtual camera whose position is user-controllable and animatable. The Camera can use Cylindric, Perspective or Spherical projection. The camera's latitude and longitude, elevation above the terrain, the vertical tilt, and the rotation are usually set with the sliders below but you may use the Map to directly move the camera over the top Map view as well as a click and drag on the main Image preview to move the camera view directly. For small adjustments you may also use the arrows keys.

    Camera Settings...

    The button invoque the Camera Settings dialog.
    The Camera Settings let you choose the projection mode and set the Camera position in absolute coordinates. It also provides a slider for camera orientation in degree and camera tilt (vertical angle).
    Cylindric projection :
    This projection mode is the default and allow some very efficient optimisation technics for terrain rendering. It is usually the fastest camera mode when using Height field based terrains. However Cylindric projection prevent the camera from pointing straight up or straight down and will make verticals all parallel. Horizontal lines on the ground will be curved.
    Perspective projection :
    This projection is the usual projection found in 3D applications. Horizontal lines on the ground are kept linear, and parallel will converge at horizon. Image distortion will be greater at wide focale angles and 'Spherical projection' could be used instead.
    Spherical projection :
    This mode is suited for 360° or very wide angle focal renderings and is similar to a fish eye lense.

    Random place (r)

    The Random place button picks a location at random within the 60 000 square km of the current planet to put the camera. Direction of the camera is randomized as well. It is a fun way to explore the gigantic worlds provided by Voyager.
    Shortcut: 'r' key.

    Reset view

    If a Sprite or Object is set as target (see browsing scene picker below) the camera reset view (home) button will move the camera to focus on the selected object starting Voyager CTX 1.2. Otherwise the reset view button will return the camera to the origin: Latitude -1 km and Longitude 0 with a north-facing orientation and the default altitude and zoom angle (about 53 degrees). Home is often used after choosing an ArtMatic file as a surface since the most interesting features often occur there near origin.

    Land Camera (z)

    The "Land Camera" button puts the camera slightly above surface level wether the surface is a planet terrain or a 3D volumetric DF object.
    Shortcut: 'z' key.

    Lateral move

    This slider lets you move laterally in respect to the camera orientation. The range of the displacement depends on the current MAP view scaling. For small adjustments use option key (option will divide the slider range by a factor of 1/50).
    The slider is relative to current position meaning it will be set at zero after each use, zero representing current position. You can also use the left/right arrow keys to move laterally.

    Depth move

    This slider lets you move forward and back with respect to the camera orientation. Since the motion is relative to where the camera is pointing keep in mind that if pointing up this slider will make the camera go up as well as forward. If you need East/West or North/South displacement without changing altitude use the absolute coordinates numbers in the Camera settings dialog. Use option key for small adjustments.
    Key equivalent: up and down arrow key.


    This slider controls the camera's elevation. The slider is relative to current altitude position. The range of the displacement depends on the current MAP view scaling. Altitude is displayed in meters. If you need to set camera elevation to a precise altitude use the Camera settings dialog absolute altitude and set the altitude numerically.
    Key equivalent: Page Up/Page Down or control up/down arrow.

    Keep on top

    This checkbox ensures that when you are traveling over the surface of the world that you don't end up inside of a mountain. When this option is on, the camera elevation will rise above the terrain if you move to a place where the terrain is higher than the camera's elevation. When DF objects, terrains or DF cities are present "Keep on top" also activates collision detection to avoid the camera moving inside features.

    View Direction Compass.

    Click anywhere on the compass (located on the right of the camera area) to rotate the camera. The camera will rotate and point at the position where you clicked. You can also click and drag to rotate the camera.
    Shortcut: Control + left/right arrow.

    Vertical Tilt

    This slider controls the upward /downward tilt angle of the Camera.
    NOTE: When the camera is in Cylindrical mode the virtual lens is cylindrical and does not curve verticals. This allows for very efficient optimizations but causes the y axis to have no curvature while the horizontal axis can curve up to 360 degrees. It also prohibits looking straight downward as there is no downward perspective possible with this projection. The vertical tilt is actually a vertical offset in the image space and does not modify the camera's position or the perspective.

    Focale angle slider

    Zoom in or out on the landscape without moving the camera. Notice that the Surface Map reflects the zoom setting by showing the angle of view visible through the camera when the angle is below 180 degrees. Zoom changes the effective focal length of the camera's virtual lens. Low zoom values correspond to wide-angle lenses and high values correspond to telephoto. The minimum zoom level provides a full 360 degree view angle and can be used to render full panoramic pictures. The maximum zoom level provides a viewing angle of about 22 degrees. Spherical projection is advised with wide angle focals.

    Position area

    Every Voyager entity has now coordinates that can be moved using the new 'Position' section in the main UI. The old "ArtMatic sky coordinate" is thus no longer needed as clouds coordinates are now common for any kind of clouds and can be directly changed in the 'Position' section when in "clouds and sky" mode. Even main planets terrain can be moved. Suppose you have a great sky at some point but the foreground of the terrain is annoying. You can use the position sliders to offset the planet laterally or in depth, or the absolute coordinates numeric fields to completely change the terrain position. Inversely you can have a great scene but the clouds cast an unfortunate shadow. Just move the cloud layer until the problem is fixed. Layer and VL clouds do cast a shadow even in fast preview low res mode so you can interactively move the layer and see the shadows move.

    Warning : Terrain and Texture position are global to the scene (only one value for all places and keyframes). Changing the position of the planet origin will make all saved Places and Keyframes invalid.
    Sprites and DF Objects position are also global to the scene and changing their position will affect all Places and Keyframes. Only Lights and Clouds position are part of the voyager
    Context variables that can be keyframed and stored in Places.

    The "Mode" pop up menu on the left sets the target of the position controls. Usually it is set automatically when editing a particular type of object but at times it may be necessary to set it manually.

    Browse scene elements

    Objects, terrains and sprites used in the scene can be selected (and made target) directly using this pop up picker. Note that if a Sprite or Object is set as target the camera home button will move the camera to focus on the selected object.

    Lateral displace

    The slider displaces the target lateraly in the camera view space.

    Depth displace

    The slider displaces the target forward or backward in the camera view direction.

    Vertical displace

    The slider displaces the target vertically relatively to current vertical position.

    Longitude (km)

    Sets the absolute longitude coordinate in Km. Since the Voyager worlds are immense, setting absolute coordinates is rarely used but it might be very handy to center or align various object to specific point in space. If you need to offset objects East/West independently of camera view this field is the answer, probably with option key down to avoid going too fast as the range is huge.

    Latitude (km)

    Sets the absolute latitude coordinate in Km. You may use this field (likely with option key down) to offset objects, clouds or terrains North/South independently of camera view.

    Elevation (meters)

    Sets the absolute elevation coordinate in meters. Quite useful for setting cloud layers or various DF object altitude. When target mode is clouds & Sky this slider sets the reference cloud elevation which is the reference altitude at which layered or volumetric clouds starts. In Underwater sky mode this will set the water surface level.
    Elevation is just the y of Clouds & sky coordinates origin. As part of context variables it can be keyframed.

    Timeline area

    This area is focused on Animation controls. It provides the Keyframes UI, the main timeline slider and various buttons. Nice animation can be created with a motionless camera by animating the sun position and colors and rendering with shadows on (be aware that turning shadows on increases render time dramatically). Moving clouds will cast moving shadows on the landscape, and the sun can set with the shadows getting bigger and the colors reddening. Power

    Animation parameters inspector (a)


    Time slider

    This is the main slider that controls global Voyager time. The time flows from 0 to the given duration. You can use the time slider even when no keyframes are present as many Voyager elements are automatically animated over time. In particular when any ArtMatic tree is used for texture, terrain, sky clouds, objects, it may have its own keyframes and will respond to time changes (Keep in mind that the entire ArtMatic animation will always map to the Voyager timeline duration).
    You can click and drag on the time slider to preview the animation in non real time or simply click at a particular time to see a frame preview at that moment.

    Tip: The time always flows in Voyager, and the timeline can be used to select a particular position in time. This is useful because some elements (water waves and clouds, for example) move automatically at their own speed regardless of the animation duration, and you can use the timeline to find the perfect moment. Thus, a nice trick to change the appearance of the clouds is to set the global duration to 10 minutes or more with the watch icon and use the timeline to find the best cloud positions. In a 10 minute time span the clouds can change dramatically. You can also use the timeline to pick a particular moment within a sky, texture or surface ArtMatic Animation. This is a powerful way to find interesting settings since many parameters can be animated at once with ArtMatic keyframes.


    Keyframes let you store locations and environmental parameters that can be used to render QuickTime animation. Keyframes are not required for animation if you are using ArtMatic animation for the surface mode or if you use preset clouds and water – whose movement is controlled by the Sea Roughness setting. The ArtMatic system's keyframes will be mapped so that all the keyframes play back over the course of the animation. When selecting a keyframe by clicking on it the keyframe Context variables will be copied to the current context, with the exeption of parameters that were set specifically to not be animated within the Animation parameters inspector.


    Click on this button to see a realtime preview of the animation. The preview will be a low resolution approximation of the animation and will appear blocky as even the fastest machines are currently much too slow to calculate a high resolution realtime preview. The preview won't show some aspects of the final rendering ( shadows and reflections for instance). So, it is often useful to do several small renderings at low frame rates to fine-tune the camera motion and animation parameters before the final rendering that can take days or weeks.
    Shortcuts: Press the spacebar on your keyboard to start and stop the animation preview.

    Duration (MSF)

    The watch icon is used to set the animation duration. Click and drag left or right to change the duration. Duration is displayed in MSF format (minutes, seconds, frames)

    Add (keyframe)

    Add a new keyframe with the current Context variables Shortcut: you can also click on the first blank keyframe to add a new keyframe.

    Continue (keyframe)

    Continue will add a new keyframe without changing the absolute time of existing keyframe by changing duration accordingly.

    Replace (keyframe)

    Replaces selected keyframe with the Context variables. You may also use command click on a keyframe slot to perform the replacement. .

    Insert (keyframe)

    Calculates a new keyframe that is halfway between the selected keyframe and the keyframe after it.

    Delete (keyframe)

    Delete the selected keyframe. Shortcut: option-click any keyframe to delete it.

    Places area

    PLaces provides a simple an easy way to store locations on a planet along with the entire Context variables of Voyager. You may use Places not only to remember and go back to places already visited but also to store atmospheric and lighting conditions.

    Add place

    Saves the current Context variables into the first available Places slot.

    Delete place

    Deletes the selected active place. As with keyframe you can use option click to delete a particular slot, selected or not.


    Not all changes in Voyager will re-render all places preview thumbnails. 'Refresh' is useful when global changes makes the preview no longer accurate. All places thumbnails will be re-rendered according to the latest settings.

    Image Settings area

    The Image Settings area collects all controls that globally affects the rendering : the quality setting, various illumination gains and the gamma sliders. The Gamma filter is applied at the last stage of the rendering while the illuminations gain are taken into acount at the shading phase of various elements. Theses setting, except the quality setting, are part of the current Context variables and are thus both keyframable and can be stored in Places.

    QUALITY pop up

    This popup menu determines render quality (of both the image on the canvas and any pictures or movies rendered to disk). Generally, you will use Draft quality while exploring and switch to a higher quality setting when rendering images and animation to disk. The higher the quality setting, the more computation that Voyager must perform in order to calculate the image and the longer it takes for Voyager to render the image. In some cases you may encounter strange artifacts at the lower quality settings due to insufficient sampling steps in particular for terrains with steep peaks or tiny features (a tiny steep spike can fall in-between samples and be missed). A higher quality setting will increase the amount of samples and will make features misses less likely. When performing draft renders, you may want to use the lowest quality that provides acceptable results. For final animation rendering, it is recommended that you use Better or Best quality as misses can cause flickering where fine details occur and make small peaks appear and disappear unnaturally.
    NOTE: When Draft quality is selected, Voyager ignores the cast shadows setting.

    global illum gain

    global illum gain controls overall illumination gain. It is rarely needed but can be used to compensate for particular lighting conditions. High gamma values will darken the image while adding contrat so it might useful to compensate with the global illumination gain.

    Ground Illumination (Gain)

    Controls illumination gain for terrain and objects only.

    Sky Illumination Gain

    Controls illumination gain for sky shaders only. It mostly affects clouds and atmosphere shading. This slider is often used to enhance the clouds contrast or to make them darker if the various illuminations makes the clouds too bright.

    Gamma R (Red color filter)

    The gamma sliders use an exponential range where 0 means no change is taking place , 1 means power 16, -1 means power(1/16). Gamma values above average (0) will contrast the image.
    Using gamma can greatly enhance the visual impact of a rendering and may also be used to control the color balance of your image.
    Note that Voyager renders colors in 64 bits per components and the gamma and range adjustment is done before final 8 (or 16) bit quantization allowing a much better accuracy and quality than doing these adjustments as a post process in photoshop or any graphic application.
    TIP: Shift-click the Red gamma slider to move all the sliders together.

    Gamma G (Green color filter)

    Green channel of the Gamma filter

    Gamma B (Blue color filter)

    Blue channel of the Gamma filter

    Reset color filter


    Render pict to screen

    Resets the various image controls to their defaults values.

    Render animation

    Click the Render Animation tool render an animation. The file does not need keyframes to be animated. The clouds and waves and ripples all are automatically moved by the wind even without keyframes. Movies will take a long time to render. To stop a render, press the escape key. The duration of the complete animation is set with the Duration Tool found next to the timeline in the main window.
    Mode popup (movie or picture sequence)- The options are: QuickTime Movie, List of Pictures, List of Tiff. The "List" options render the movie frames as sequentially numbered image files (in either PICT or TIFF for- mat). Such sequences are recognized by most movie editing programs. Pict/Tiff sequences are a good idea when performing a long render since nothing will be lost if the computer shuts down unexpectedly. ( movies will be unplayable if the render is interrupted). Preset popup - The preset popup provides a list of common frame size/frame rate combinations. Choosing a preset cause the format and fps fields to be filled in with the appropriate values.

    Open ArtMatic Voyager bundle

    This command is the same as File->Open and will prompt you to locate a Voyager bundle.

    Save Voyager bundle

    This command is the same as File->Save and will either directly save the cureent scene if the file already exists or prompt you to set a name to save the Voyager bundle.

    Render pict to file

    Click this tool to render the scene as an image file. The Render Picture dialog opens to give you control over the image settings. You can choose dimensions up to 16000 by 8000 pixels. Renderings now always use dithering. Dithering introduces a tiny amount of color (RGB) noise to the image which greatly enhances color accuracy and avoids color-banding.
    NOTE: Voyager does not set a DPI in the rendered pictures which will probably be at 72 by default. Various options are availble :
    Render Mode : Single view, stereoscopic views.
    Render : Current View, All places, All Keyframes.
    Render All Places option will render a picture for each place stored in the file. Keep in mind that this can take a long time. To abort a render in progress, press the escape (ESC) key.
    Anti-Aliasing :
    Standard 2*2: Samples per pixel is set at 4. Default and Fastest AA mode but often insufficient for DF cities and textured DF objects.
    Stronger 3*3: 9 Samples per pixel.
    Double 4*4: 16 Samples per pixel. Recommended to avoid flickering, in particular with DF cities and textured DF objects.
    Adaptative AA:
    The Adaptive anti-aliasing oversampling is done only when fast changes in depth and color occurs which makes it faster than a brute N*N oversampling. For terrains it works only when the camera is set to perspective and spherical due to specific optimisation in the cylindric case. Its speed is quite variable depending on the scene, but it is often better and faster than the 4*4 oversampling.