Post Processing

World Construction Set 6 and Visual Nature Studio 2-3 provide the ability to perform numerous operations on images after rendering. This walk-through will demonstrate just a few possiblities offered by this amazing tool.

All renderings below were created entirely with WCS 6 (but could have also been done using VNS 3) and saved as optimized JPEG by Photoshop. No other program or processing is involved.

Here is the original (vanilla) rendering, a project created with the quick and easy New Project Wizard.


The lighting is not very exciting or constrasty, in fact the rendering comes across as very flat. Let's try using the Gain and Gamma Post Process Events to adjust the range of the image.


Another possibility would be to exploit the High Dynamic Range (HDR) rendering capabilities, and use the Exposure Post Process Event to virtually open up the Camera's iris half of an f-stop.


We can go much further. Each Event can be set up to affect only certain channels of the image: Red, Green, or Blue, or Hue, Saturation and/or Value. With this, once can create PostProcess Events that (for example) replace the Value (brightness) of a rendering without affecting anything else. Here, we replace the Value channel with the data found in the Illumination Dynamic Parameter input channel. This effectively erases any light/dark information contributed by textures, or variations in color intensity, leaving only a surreal landscape of featureless blobby trees. The Hue and Saturation are left alone from the original image. Looks a little like something from Dr. Suess.


For another example of surrealism, how about a Distort event, using a Fractal Noise texture to specify how much each pixel should be distorted in the X and Y direction.


Sort of resembles an image photographed through textured glass, or perhaps an oil painting. 

We can Posterize the image, reducing the number of discrete 'steps' or 'levels' of color and intensity available.


WCS 6 provides a simple and fast simulation of Depth of Field (DOF) blurring as a Post Process. You can easily configure the distance of the in-focus area.


Because almost all Post Process event types can be previewed and tinkered with on an finished rendering, you can quickly adjust settings like the Focal Distance and see the effect update almost immediately without re-rendering. 

We can perform a Negative of the image, which by itself isn't very interesting.


But by masking the effect of the Negative Post Process with a texture (which you can do with all Post Process Events!) we can restrict it to certain areas. Here, a remapped Fractal Noise texture Negatives certain areas of the rendering in sinuous patterns, creating an effect like film melting in the projector.


Like all textures, the Effect Intensity texture is completely customizable and animatable! 

A picture is worth a thousand words, but how much is a picture with words in it worth?


The full-featured Text Overlay Post Process feature can control (and animate!) the size, position, justification, intensity, and color of the text. 

The Text Overlay event has the ability to insert variables into the text, which will be replaced at render-time with pieces of information about your rendering.


The image on the left is a screenshot showing the titlebar of the View used to render this image. You can see that it was rendered using the "Lake Camera", and the "Artistic Preview Options", and the Text Overlay reflects this information, as well as the Project name, and the absolute elevation of the Camera. On the right is a screenshot of the Text Overlay user interface, showing the configuration used to create the text you see. At the bottom of the window, a few of the numerous available variables are shown in a selection list. 

What if you want your text to appear as if it is within the scene, going behind objects in the rendering? WCS can do that.


Simply set the desired Z Distance for the text in the Text Overlay user interface, and WCS will Z-Buffer composite your text into the scene, allowing it to appear in front of or behind other scenery. 

And because we knew you'd ask for it, you can set any Post Process component to operate Before Reflections, allowing the Processed output to be reflected in appropriate surfaces like water!


Processed output to be reflected in appropriate surfaces like water!

Another dramatic Post Process Event boosts the color in the image, resulting in a bright cartoonish color scheme.


If you combine this with the Edge Ink Event, which picks out edges in the scene based upon changes in distance or angle, you can get a non-photorealistic cel-look for your renderings.


Try that with any other 3D landscape software!

The Median Filter softens and smears detail, resulting in another kind of painted look, useful by itself or in combination with other Post Process Events. 


Numerous Post Process Events can be stacked together to form a single Post Process Component. Events and whole Components can be prioritized, and both Events and Components can be saved to disk and accessed from the Component Gallery. Post Process Event textures have access to a large variety of Dynamic Parameters (formerly called Terrain Parameters) to alter their output based on changing scene criteria. 

Here's a great use of Dynamic Parameters. A Texture Overlay Event mixes together two different Fractal Noises, one light and one dark, based upon the input Luminosity Dynamic Parameter. The result is an image that looks like a pencil-stippled artistic rendition.


Post Process Events also have access to the new Include/Exclude texture element, useful for applying (or restricting) a Post Process to particular Components or types of Components in your scene. Imagine Stippling your landscape but leaving your Sky and Clouds unaltered, or perhaps applying a Distort to the Sky and Clouds, and a Median to your Lake, or all water bodies. Image Output events can be set to save either the unprocessed image, or the Post Processed image, allowing you to create two versions of the rendering at once! 

Post Processing gives you boundless possibilities for altering your images with subtle finesse or dramatic style.


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