3D Nature Frequently Asked Questions

Add-on Tools

What is NatureView Express?

Explore Scene Express projects with NatureView Express, the free realtime viewer created by 3D Nature. NatureView Express is included with Scene Express and may be redistributed with no additional licensing costs. This allows Scene Express users to publish projects and send them to clients and other interested parties with NatureView Express included to explore the scene. NatureView Express can also view projects on the Internet in a web browser.

More info about NatureView is available.

What is Scene Express?

Scene Express is 3D Nature's tool that allows the export of terrain and landscape elements for use in realtime engines or for final rendering in other 3D packages.

Learn more or see a wide variety of images here.

What is the Forestry Edition of VNS?

The Forestry Edition for VNS was created at the request of our many Forestry Customers. They wanted a tool that would directly connects their forest stand and polygon attributes to their visualization with a few easy clicks of the mouse.

You can learn more about this tool and see some images created with it here.

What is the NLCD Data CD Set?

The NLCD Content CD is actually a 2-CD set with one VNS Template project, supporting texture image files, and compressed GeoTIFF raster images for the lower 48 US states. This product relies on the Templates feature and is therefore only compatible with VNS, not WCS. 

For more information or to view images created using this data click here.

What is the Ultimate Earth Data DVD?

This DVD-ROM contains the best quality, highest resolution collection of terrain, bathymetry, color imagery and cloud maps that we could assemble that covers the entire planet.

Ultimate Earth contains 1 Kilometer land mass terrain data, 10 Kilometer bathymetry, 1 Kilometer color imagery and 5 Kilometer cloudmap data for the entire globe. The DEM data alone contains well over 939 million data points. The imagery contains over one billion pixels.

This DVD-ROM also contains over a dozen projects that allow you to work with a smaller area of the earth (Saves memory and hard drive space.) and Components that allow you to apply this image data to your current projects. 

Click here to see sample imagery or learn more.

Buying WCS or VNS

Are 3D Nature products RoHS compliant?

All of the parts that are included in our products have been verified to be compliant.

I'm a dealer/distributer. Can I purchase WCS or VNS from 3D Nature?

Yes you can! Contact us at 303-659-4028. We will review your information to see if our companies are a good match. We can also add you (and your Web Page) to our Online Dealer Network so customers can find you quickly!

World Construction Set and Visual Nature Studio can also be conveniently be purchased from your favorite software distribution sources. If they do not carry WCS or VNS, ask them to contact us!

I'm an end-user. Can I purchase WCS or VNS from 3D Nature?

Yes you can! 3D Nature sells World Construction Set and Visual Nature Studio to users worldwide. You can order from the Store or call the Sales Office at (303) 659-4028. We can also direct you to a dealer in your area. Visit our Online Dealer List.

What is 3D Nature's return policy on software?

3D Nature does not generally accept returns on software. Please make sure you really want our product before ordering it.

If, under extenuating circumstances a return is authorized by one of our Managers, that product must be in the original unopened packaging, including all parts, undamaged in any way.

If a return is accepted a 15% restocking fee will be charged. Additionally, you will not be refunded for the original shipping charges and you will be responsible for shipping the product back to 3D Nature at your expense. 

When will [version X] be available?

See our Availability, Pricing and Upgrades page for pricing and availability for announced versions. If it is not on the list, then we're not talking about it yet! Stay tuned to our web site for more details.

Where can I get updates?

Right here! Registered users can obtain program updates online via our Internet Update System after Registering their copy of WCS or VNS.

Delivery and Shipping

What is the 3D Nature policy on International shipments of products?

3D Nature is proud to have a world wide user base.

When a product is shipped outside of the Untied States we will ship it via whatever service method the recipient prefers. Due to reliability and billing issues, we currently only offer services through Fedex. Although we can offer average delivery time for each service we are not able to guarantee these times due to occasional international shipment delays that are beyond our control.

All international duties and taxes are the sole responsibility of the recipient.

Features and Capabilities

Can I create landscapes from scratch in WCS or VNS?

Yes! World Construction Set and Visual Nature Studio both include powerful tools for drawing or importing control points and using them to grid new terrain shapes. The points can define contours, ridgelines, peaks, dips, valleys, watershed/drainage basins or any other topographic features.


The new Terrain Generator allows users to create their own terrains. Use the power of the texture editor to design a heightfield, and have WCS or VNS turn it into a DEM of what-ever resolution you require.

Can I create my own trees?

Yes. For Image Object trees you can modify any picture to add your favorite local species of foliage! There is a tutorial located on the Tips and Tutorials Page telling you how to do this. 

Can WCS or VNS Animate?

Definitely! WCS and VNS can animate hundreds of different terrain, foliage, texture, water, cloud, atmosphere, sky, celestial object, light, shadow, 3D object and camera attributes. Our keyframe animation system is spline-based with precise control of key frames, tension, continuity and bias on every motion channel individually. For your convenience, you can also simultaneously create key frames for related groups of parameters together, such as all three camera position parameters.

Can WCS or VNS create roads and other man-made terrain features?

You can create roads of all types, from simple paths to multi-lane super-highways, with our exclusive Terraffector™ technology. WCS or VNS will even manage the terrain modification (cuts or fills) to maintain the road centerline elevations you specify.

Terraffectors are useful for more than roads. They can make dams, runways, golf course features, baseball diamonds, and much, much more.

Perhaps the best thing about Terraffectors is that the changes don't really alter the terrain model. They only alter its rendered appearance. So any changes are instantly reversible. You can tweak the effect until you get just what you want without worrying about wasting disk space with multiple copies of the DEM.

Another important advantage is that they work on fractally-subdivided terrain. You don't need highly detailed terrain models to get detailed topographic effects. The detail is added at rendering time only in the areas where it is needed. This is a big benefit when most of the scene doesn't need extreme detail.

 

Can WCS or VNS Import/Render/Animate 3d Objects?

Yes. WCS and VNS let you import 3D Objects created in LightWave, MAX, Onyx Tree Professional, Tree Druid, LSYSTEMS or any other program that can create objects in LightWave, 3D Studio, Wavefront OBJ or DXF format.
3D Objects can receive shadows, be self shadowed and cast shadows on other 3D Objects and the terrain. They reflect in water. You can animate size, position and rotation on any axis. You can place 3D Objects at specific places on the terrain with georeferenced host vectors using the 3D Object Effect.

For surfaces, WCS or VNS recognizes object color, luminosity, transparency, specularity, single or double sided rendering and shading. You can choose from flat or phong shading. WCS 6 and VNS 2 and 3 support Bump Mapping and UV mapped bitmap image textures to make your 3D Objects more realistic!

You can animate and texture color, luminosity, specularity, transparency and translucency with the powerful WCS or VNS Texture Engine. The Texture Engine that is included with both programs, lets you combine a variety of procedural textures to create looks like brick, rock, dirt, metal, plastic and water, along with image-based texturing. Translucency controls lets you simulate light transmission, which is great for realistic sunlit leaves.

You can also add non-landscape objects to your animation by modeling and rendering them in a general-purpose 3D package and using our Z-Buffer Compositing to merge them together seamlessly. This is particularly useful for character animation, aircraft or objects that you need to render using specific features of another package.

Does WCS or VNS calculate cut/fill or water body volumes?

At this time, WCS and VNS do not do volumetric analysis. A number of the natural-variety adding features of WCS and VNS would actually degrade the precision of any analysis calculations of this sort, so we do not currently attempt to address these capabilities.

Does WCS or VNS have AntiAliasing/FieldRendering/MotionBlur?

Yes! World Construction Set and Visual Nature Studio both have advanced antialiasing built right into the renderer. In addition we offer Box Filtering, Z-Buffered Edge Softening, and Multi-Pass antialiasing with sub-pixel offsets. Plus, we have Field-Rendering for smooth 60fps video, and built in user-controlled Motion Blur.

Does WCS or VNS perform Viewshed Analysis?

At this time, WCS and VNS do not perform Viewshed Analysis calculations. While calculating Viewsheds for simple surfaces is a well-known art, Viewsheds incorporating more advanced capabilities such as foliage occlusion, lighting and contrast consideration, distance weighting and other perceptual factors are considerably more difficult. 3D Nature does not feel that a simple bare-surface Viewshed analysis adds any value for our users, but we may in the future implement visibility analysis if we can create a method that incorporates vegetation and other factors we feel are critical.

Import and Export

Can I create landscapes from topo maps with WCS or VNS?

Yes! If you have contour data available in a compatible vector format you can import the data, assign elevations to the contours and use them to grid a DEM in WCS or VNS. For files with over 6,000 points, VNS is much faster at the gridding process.

Can I drape a satellite imagery over the landscape?

Yes. You can drape Satellite or other remote-sensed imagery over the terrain. You can directly project a picture onto the terrain, or even use the colors in an image to control where different ecosystems appear. Ecosystems include overstory foliage, understory foliage and ground texturing. WCS can drape images in geographic coordinates only. VNS can drape images in many other projections (UTM, State Plane, etc) as well!

Can I export trees?

WCS or VNS can use trees of several types. The efficient and realistic Image Object trees are essentially 2.5D objects composed of textures shaded onto generic 3D forms. 3D shading gives them their realistic volumetric look. These trees cannot directly be used by other 3D packages in the same manner since other software lacks the ability to render them this way.
WCS or VNS can also import and render true 3D trees in LightWave, MAX, DXF and OBJ formats. If you have trees in these formats, other packages might also be able to use them. However, only WCS or VNS gives you the ability to render luminosity for realistic light transmission by leaves. WCS or VNS also gives you the ability to plant many trees automatically based on Rules-of-Nature™ for fast and realistic Ecosystem distributions.

Update: The new Scene Express add-on for WCS and VNS allows for more full-featured export to a variety of formats, including pre-shaded tree images!

Support and Training

Support Knowledgebase

Technical Issues

Version and Pricing

WCS or VNS and Other Programs