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Let It Snow!

Author: Kaedric

Tools Needed

* Bryce


With winter approaching, at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere, there are bound to be lots of images showing off assorted Winter Wonderlands. But wouldn't it be great to actually see the snow falling? Read on and I'll show you one way to turn basic landscapes like this into realistic snow scenes using only Bryce.


Step 1 - When is the ground not the ground?

Yep, you guessed it. We're going to use the ground terrain to simulate falling snow. It's actually quite easy once you've seen how it's done. You'll be making your own Winter Wonderland in no time.

First, start by creating a terrain. We will make a few changes to it that will give us the look we want.


Now let's go to the Terrain Editor. Click the [E] button and we're off.

Step 2 - Generate the right terrain.

The default terrain sure looks nice, but it's not what we need for this effect. So click on the NEW button on the Editing Tools floating window to clear everything out. (#1)


Now to make the snow, click once on the Spikes button (#2) and then once on the Smoothing button (#3). This will give you somewhat randomly placed dots all over your terrain, and will end up being the snow when we're finished.


Step 3 - Clip a little off the bottom.

Since we want to see through the snow flakes, we need to get rid of the base of the terrain and only leave the peaks. Use the little icon to the left of the triangle on the Terrain Canvas window to show the clipping tool. Click and drag the bottom of the white tool (not the colored bar) up until you see most of the terrain turn red. The red portions will not be visible so all you will see is the grey dots. These are our snowflakes.


Step 4 - Position the terrain.

Click the check mark at the bottom of the window to leave the Terrain Editor. Now you can see your snowflakes in the wireframe window. But wait, something is not quite right here. The snow isn't falling from the sky is it? Okay, time to make one more adjustment and get things lined up. The easiest way is to open the Attributes window by clicking on the [A] icon. Now select the Linking tab.


As you can see, you will want to have the terrain track to the perspective camera, and do so in the Y+ direction. This forces the terrain to always present itself to the camera in the same head-on view no matter how you rotate the scene or reposition the camera. Of course if you move the camera too much, you'll want to move the terrain as well so that it fills the field of view for a more convincing effect.

Step 5 - Is that falling mud? We want SNOW!

The default texture applied to the terrain probably isn't very convincing for snow. Well, at least not on this planet anyway. So it's time to pick a texture that will work well. I'm choosing the Melting Ice texture, but there are many others that work equally as well, even the basic white texture.


It's all about how it looks to you as an artist. Be creative with your choices and everything will turn out fine.

Step 6 - Now for the Render

Putting everything together with the rest of your scene will give you an impressive snow scene. Feel free to experiment with duplicating the terrain, rotating it and repositioning it to create a larger depth of field. The sky is the limit here, so have a great time playing with the snow.