DreamScape, developed by Sitni Sati, is part of the Discreet Certified 3ds max Plug-in (DCP) program conducted by Turbo Squid, who are its worldwide publisher and exclusive distributor. There are several other Discreet Certified 3ds max plug-ins including Final Render Stage-1 and finalToon from cebas; AfterBurn 3.1 from Sitni Sati; clothfx from size8software; Kaldera and Texture Layers from Mankua; Absolute Character Tools from Snoswell Design; Flight Studio from Bluerock Technologies and hairfx by Dimension Animation Group.
The purpose of the DCP program is to bring new technology to the 3ds max pipeline and ensure that each of these plugins work in conjunction with each other. DCP products also have and advantage because Turbo Squid has an online support system including community forums, in case you need to ask questions. Hopefully, in the near future, more plugins will be added to the DCP program making them all more user friendly and compatible.
With this we would also like to thank Turbo Squid for making the DreamScape 2.0 available to us for this review.
What is DreamScape?
In simple terms, DreamScape is an environment generator for 3ds max. With it you can generate very realistic terrains (called Terra), sky and clouds, and even naval dynamics for oceans, lakes, and ponds. It is an extremely powerful tool and comes in very handy when working with scenes that require any or all of these types of effects. But enough of this chatter let's dive into the fun parts of DreamScape!
The Meat and Potatoes of DS
The Terra system allows the animator to create easy, convincing landscapes. The Terra UI is, in itself, very simple to use. It allows easy manipulation of terrain, and even has a texture map paint tool which gives you the ability to paint ANY 3ds max procedural material directly onto the surface. Great stuff!
Another advantage is that your RAM usage while rendering is dramatically reduced due to the fact that it's not actually rendering out as geometry, but as a procedural object, though this does not hinder your ability to turn it into geometry, if you wish.
And, as you know, this means that this geometry can be converted into either a poly or mesh for further tweaking.
Finally the terra system has its own materials, so you can multi-layer textures, creating a more realistic look, i.e snow on top of rock. One slight annoyance is that terra requires the use of the Dreamscape's Sun light and sky to be rendered at all. This is very doable but sometimes a hassle when you're used to using the standard max lights.