"Gaea, in my experience, represents the current next-gen tool that is ahead of its time.Alex Alvarez
QuadSpinner are passionate artists themselves, who clearly understand the needs of environment artists."
Founder / President, Gnomon
Gaea packs geological shapes, sophisticated erosion, snow, and river simulations, rock tools, and one of the most comprehensive texture generation packages into simple, intuitive nodes that can be used by anyone with just 10 minutes of learning.
Gaea features an efficient, minimal, artist-friendly user interface. Enjoy up to 16 million polygon previews. Make terrains with geological primitives, paint a terrain by hand, or import meshes as terrains.
Scientific nodes are wrapped in easy-to-comprehend settings. Manage elaborate simulations without blinking an eye!
The non-destructive, procedural workflow gives you control every step of the way. You can reiterate swiftly and produce millions of variations with zero effort!
"9 out of 10. Gaea has gone from strength to strength."3D World Magazine
Concept to Production
Working in CG often becomes a fight between the artist and the software. Gaea dissolves that struggle. It helps you achieve your vision with the right kind of tooling from start to finish. And for the rare case when you can't find something out of the box, Gaea's procedural toolset makes it easy to build your own.
Creating a terrain in CG is very easy. Creating a realistic one... that's much harder unless you have the right tools.
Gaea's toolset focuses on real-world concepts, not CG constructs. You work with mountains, canyons, and craters, not noises and filters. Gaea encapsulates these paradigms into nodes, and exposes their properties as easy-to-understand settings.
(Btw, we still have noises, filters, and all the low level bits you would ever want for drilling down to the most basic elements.)
Instead of wrangling noises into coherent landscapes, use our procedural geological primitives to get essential shapes to build your terrain's foundation.
Want more? Combine primitives to create new shapes, even when they don't seem harmonious, by using Embed, Insert, and other Combine modes.
Gaea's erosion has been lauded as the best in the business, hitting that coveted "sweet spot" between physical realism and artistic control.
Erosion is the heart of any CG terrain. Having the right kind of control over those processes is essential to any project. Gaea's erosion gives you deep control when you want it and will handle everything automatically when you prefer to run it with defaults.
Terrain software tends to focus heavily on erosion and soil-based functions, while ignoring rock formations, rock debris, and other hard materials that naturally make up terrains.
Gaea's rock tools create rock formations, individual rocks, rugged details, and more. You can have them be part of the terrain's structure or superficial elements on top of the terrain.
"Gaea has been a complete game changer for me.Rasha Shalaby
It has given me control over creating extremely detailed terrains and results that are far superior to other tools.
The time I spend in Gaea has become my favourite part of the process. "
Lead Environment Artist, ScanlineVFX
The Lord of the Rings, 300, Argo, Black Adam
Tools for every step of your workflow
Create. Erode. Simulate. Modify. Colorize. Our 150+ nodes carry you through the entire process.
You will find unique options for every part of the workflow. And for some special tasks, you'll enjoy multiple choices. For example, our most powerful simulation node Erosion is also available in a light version called Wizard. You can achieve all common erosive tasks without a learning curve.
Non-destructive graph workflow
CG supervisors, art directors, and TDs have become strong advocates for Gaea. The non-destructive workflow, enhanced by baking and mutation, allows fast turnarounds and minute changes while retaining an art-directed look.
Gaea's Embed operation can transpose details between terrains. You can craft details like cracks, rock structures, and other elements on a flat surface and drape them on non-uniform terrains as a post-process.
The Insert counterpart operation can take individual elements, like rocks or even large solitary formations, and insert them into another heightfield while preserving the integrity of both shapes.
Procedural doesn't have to mean surrendering control. You can import meshes as terrains or even paint a shape into a terrain.
Using a combination of Combine and Mask nodes, you can paint any effect or even entire biomes!
Instead of cluttering your graph with simple adjustments, the Post-Process Stack lets you reprocess a node at lightning speed via its dedicated set of common operations such as levels, bias, inversion, clamp, and so on.
Want two stacks? Just add an Fx node and get a second copy of the stack with the same speed.
"Gaea is crushingly fast, speaks to all the other 3D applications, andKyle Toucher
has proven itself indispensable as a terrain creating tool. "
Senior Visual Effects Artist
Top Gun: Maverick, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly
Gaea was built from the ground up to address a giant gap in the industry - a procedural terrain workflow that is based on natural analogs, not on the shader-like approach of previous generations. This new workflow is exposed through geo-centric nodes, processors, and simulations that are wrapped in artist-friendly layers.
The procedural nature of Gaea, combined with both high and low level nodes, ensures that you can always build creative solutions of your own.
Go beyond terrains
We realize that the terrain you design in Gaea will be the foundation of a much larger world. To create the most realistic results possible, Gaea enables you to take terrain data and run simulations of other natural phenomena to create vital data.
This data can be used inside Gaea to drive further processing of your terrain, or can be exported as masks, point clouds, and meshes to further develop your world in game engines and DCC applications.
In addition to numerous forms of Erosion, Gaea produces realistic Snow, River, Ice, and other natural phenomena. You can drive these simulations with masks or other data.
For example, you can use the composite sunlight map of a specific period of time to drive snow melt.
Geology is an important factor for vegetation growth. The Arboreal and Vegetation nodes let you craft complex ecosystems for your terrains, and drive them with relevant data such as conflicting zones, snow, water, and more.
Export the vegetation masks or point clouds to drive actual ecosystems in your DCC app or game engine.
You can set up biome-specific extras such as frozen lakes or drying rivers. You can also affect the vegetation and change growth patterns or plant health by directly linking them to biome drivers like snow melts or floodplains.
"Gaea is one of the most intuitive, user-friendly programs I've come across.Andrew Reeder
It makes concepting complex, highly detailed terrains a very fluid process
- a critical advantage during demanding production timeframes for film and television."
Spider-Man: No Way Home, Avengers: Infinity War, Captain America: Civil War, Avatar
Terrains textured in Gaea always look more detailed and realistic.
The procedural functions used to create a terrain yield procedural data for various aspects of the terrain. For terrains that don't have such data or where that data has been reprocessed (e.g. placing an effect after erosion which makes the erosion-flow obsolete), Gaea's Data Maps can reproduce the information. They even work on satellite data!
Generate textures at source
A terrain's complex aspects are extracted via Data Maps. Those generated by mask generators - such as Texture, Arboreal and Vegetation - can be used to create textures that would never be possible externally in any paint application or even in other procedural texture software.
Gaea's 1000+ Satellite Color Maps can quickly colorize any terrain with real-world colors captured from all over the planet. You can use the Texture node to automatically produce an elaborate texture mask for the color map to flow through.
Create multiple satellite maps, custom gradients, and even color maps synthesized from reference photos, concept art, or even satellite imagery.
These color maps can be layered and masked using data maps to create sophisticated textures that work in sync with the natural aspects of the terrain.
Gaea's innovative 2.5D renderer is built from the ground up for heightfields, not polygons. It can light up a landscape with subpixel precision. Explore your terrain in different lighting conditions throughout the creation process. You can also bake the lighting into your diffuse maps to save resources during renders (offline or realtime).
You can export lighting elements such AO and Shadows, and even use them to drive other nodes like Snow melt.
"Gaea is an amazingly intuitive program that gives artists full control to create stunningly detailed terrains!Eric Bouffard
The features keep getting better and better with each new update.
Spend an afternoon trying it, you won't be disappointed!"
Set Extension/Matte Painter, Walt Disney Animation Studios
Strange World, Encanto, Raya and the Last Dragon, Frozen 2
Smart Terrain Exports
You can export your terrains as heightfields, using standard ^2 sizes such as 4096 x 4096 and 8192 x 8192. If you're using Unreal or Unity, you will have options to export to resolutions specific to your engine.
Gaea can also export terrains as meshes, using either highly optimized decimation or lossless uniform grids.
Gaea supports exporting in OBJ, FBX, TIFF, PNG, and RAW (16 or 32-bit) among several other formats for the broadest industry coverage. You can load your Gaea assets in every serious 3D DCC application or game engine.
SideFx also provides a Gaea to Houdini bridge as part of their SideFx Labs offering.
Gaea's Sophia algorithm creates highly optimized meshes that budget polygons precisely where needed. Unlike typical decimation, optimized meshes always retain a clean topology. It can reduce polygons by up to 60%, depending on the shape of your terrain.
You can export both optimized and grid-based meshes for the terrain and swap between them as needed. Gaea can create faithful LODs for the meshes.
For truly large worlds, you can create massive terrains up to 2 million x 2 million pixels (that's 4.3 trillion pixels!) with tiled builds. For terrains with tiles that are 4K or smaller, Gaea provides realtime preview of individual tiles to ensure that your vision translates to the actual asset.
Expose parameters as variables and control them through the CLI. You can use them to modify terrains from the outside and automate builds for complex projects, custom pipelines, and proprietary tools. You can even build your own bridge!
You can create logic constructs and rules in your graphs using Logic and Routing nodes.
Houdini® is one of the best procedural software in history, and contains its own heightfield tools for making terrains. Gaea and Houdini can work together to bring the power of Gaea into your Houdini workflow.
The Gaea TOR Processor SOP ships with Houdini and is installed with the SideFx Labs component.
"Gaea replaced every terrain creator in my toolbox.Conrad Allan
I used to spend hours massaging designs,
but with Gaea I achieve the target results in minutes."
CEO, MattePaint.com / Senior Matte Painter
Game of Thrones, Logan, Lost in Space
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Respawn used Gaea to bring worlds to life in Star Wars® Jedi: Fallen Order™. We interviewed Hanhee Lee, Senior Skybox Artist at Respawn Entertainment about her work on the game.
"Gaea saved me a lot of time in creating the desired, unique looks I was going for. With so many features and nodes, it doesn’t produce that generic look!"Hanhee Lee
Senior Skybox Artist, Respawn Entertainment
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Shadow of War, Halo 5: Guardians
Respawn Entertainment, LucasFilm, Star Wars, and related entities are the property of their respective owners.
When Quixel was making Rebirth to showcase Megascans assets in Unreal Engine, they needed an additional shot to show the terrain from above. They were looking for specific shapes that their existing toolset could not create. Production was already rushing to completion on the rest of the sequence, so achieving that shot was urgent.
Gaea was quite young back then, but our in-house team knew we could deliver what was required. In fact, over one weekend, we were able to create a terrain that matched their exact specs.
We used the Synth node to create terrain textures using Megascans's scanned textures. This ensured that the textures matched the surrounding objects in the shot and the Iceland-inspired terrains in the rest of the sequence.
Below you can see some of the initial experiments from the prototype stage. It was important to get the right kind of erosion for the mountain slope that had a structure built into it.
Quixel and related names and images are the property of Epic Games, Inc.
Gaea in Education
Terrain design has become an integral part of CG studies specializing in visual effects, game development, and virtual production.
Leading academies and universities are now incorporating Gaea into their curricula. Join the ranks of institutions such as CG Spectrum, Gnomon, Savannah College of Art and Design, University of Quebec, Westerdals Film and Media Oslo, and many others.
We offer discounted licensing for institutions and for individual teachers and students. Please contact us for further details.
Join the fastest growing community
Thousands of artists rely on Gaea to create groundbreaking (pun intended!) terrains for their artwork. Find out why. Download Gaea today!
Gaea powers projects ranging from visual effects and video games to scientific research and space exploration.
All logos, names, and trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Used for informational purposes only under fair use doctrine and should not be considered an endorsement.