Thanks! This was a 3 step approach: composition, model and texture. 1) Composition: I built a kind of a prototype using simple spheres, to obtain the overall shape. 2) Model: Export all the spheres to zbrush, where I converted it to a normal model and refined it; import it back to Vue. 3) Texture: in Vue I applied a custom procedural material, based on a fractal, which created all the fine details.
Probably www.geekatplay.com has the most comprehensive range of free Vue tutorials everywhere on the net. You'll find several tutorials about materials there and most probably some will include fractal use. Another good spot for free tutorials is www.cornucopia3d.com but a bit more difficult to navigate. If you are willing to pay, then I would recommend www.asilefx.net.
Of course - seems obvious now that you mention it. I haven't yet used Vue or a terrain gen yet, but have been increasingly considering it. I have Bryce - seen some amazing work produced with it too, though it seems one really needs to be a total Bryce rock star for good results.
Bryce was one of the apps I experimented when I was starting my CG 'adventure', in late 2006. But I never quite got the hang of it and I was always facing serious limitations to what I wanted to do. Then I found Vue and never looked back. It's much easier, more intuitive, a much better render engine and has some extraordinary features (for example, being able to create plant ecosystems with hundreds of billions of polygons). And, very important, it has a company behind very interested in making it shine and evolve, unlike Bryce, which seems to be just a very small part of Daz3D strategy. I also use GeoControl2 for terrain gen but if it were today I would have opted for WorldMachine. I hesitate in changing now, after all the time I invested in GeoControl2 but if you're seriously considering a terrain gen, I would recommend WorldMachine.
Vue's render engine has some fantastic features. I see lots of beautiful renders from Vue software. I know what you mean about the importance of having a dedicated team (working on a software product). It does seem that all Daz's products, other than Studio, take the back seat in terms of development and love. I sorta wish they would sell them off to a company that would and could give them the TLC they need to be all they can be. I love Hexagon, but the damn thing is so buggy you need another modeler to fix modelling errors that cause it to crash (in my experience). I know Daz is a small company, but it is a great shame to see some really good products on the verge of withering on the vine.
WorldMachines looks very cool (good prices too). Have you used Terragen?
Yes, I used Terragen for a short while. I didn't find it flexible enough for my needs. It does make some really nice water planes, nice cloudscapes, nice rocky mountains... and that's about it. I god fed up after 1 or 2 days of playing with it.
That's good to know, thanks. Well, I've got the free versions of both, and now I just need to take the time to sit down and learn a bit about them, which I really want to do, but somehow I'm imagining they are just going to sit there on my HD and collect digital dust. One that looks really fun is MojoWorld, but sadly it is not in development anymore and is stuck single threading - but being a terrain gen enthusiast I assume I'm sharing information you already know