View Full Version : Applying biomes to a Wilbur-enhanced map...?

08-22-2011, 07:14 PM
Hi guys,
First off, I have to mention that the software known as Wilbur is amazing, and even more amazing is that the guy who makes it gives it away for free...! I discovered it just a few hours ago and it solved all my niggly 'great-mountain-generation' problems; I had a height map ready to roll in PS, but the 'Render Lighting' method just wasn't doing it for me...

So anyway, here's what I've achieved using Wilbur plus the PS height-map:

It looks waaay better than anything I managed in PS, mostly because the mountains now seem radically different to the lowlands (which is what I wanted). Now... up near the north I'd want it to be mostly white-ish coloured, since it's permanently snow, and down south I'd like a sandier, drier colour to dominate most of the southern islands, but I'm not sure how to easily apply this without ruining the Wilbur-colours for the mountains... i.e. I'd want the green to be replaced in both cases, but keeping the snow-caps, and definitely keeping the texturedness of the mountains and terrain.

I'm probably missing a pretty simple and obvious solution, but I am new at the whole cartography game (only started 48 hours ago, but it's been a blast :) )

08-22-2011, 07:51 PM
Well, I don't know that this is really an "easy" solution, but rather than using the default Wilbur shader you could create your own height color gradient maps. What I do is start with a Gradient Map to designate Temperate biomes, then create one to designate desert/arid biomes, and finally one to designate tundra and arctic biomes. Then I place opaque layer masks over the Arctic and Desert layers, paint in the areas where I want them to show up and apply a Gaussian blur effect to help better show the gradual shift from one biome to the next. Below I've posted cropped copies of some of the gradient maps that I'm using in my current map, as well as what they look like once combined the way I described.


08-22-2011, 08:48 PM
That sounds good... do you mean do this in Wilbur? I'm very new to it and I've not found the settings yet to make custom height gradients... I assume one would do three copies of the same landmass (one icy, one dry, one temperate) and then opacity-layer them together in PS?

08-22-2011, 08:56 PM
I was going to suggest using the Latitude feature of the Wilbur shader, but it turns out that it's not quite working correctly at the moment (it might work just fine if you only have a single-core machine, but I don't have one of those handy). It lets you specify a color shading range between two latitudes just like you can do in altitude with the Altitude part of the shader.

Your rivers look a little odd and are placed in a non-physics-based manner. I'm guessing that you used the difference clouds filter in Photoshop? I'm kinda partial to the river effects that you get with the Fun With Wilbur tutorials from the main program download page ( http://www.ridgenet.net/~jslayton/wilbur.html - you probably already knew that, though).

And that guy who gives away Wilbur for free can be a little odd at times, so be careful around him...

08-22-2011, 08:59 PM
I was going to suggest using the Latitude feature of the Wilbur shader, but it turns out that it's not quite working correctly at the moment (it might work just fine if you only have a single-core machine, but I don't have one of those handy). It lets you specify a color shading range between two latitudes just like you can do in altitude with the Altitude part of the shader.

Unfortunately I have a quadcore CPU... so latitude wouldn't work, if that's what you're saying. How does one use the Altitude shader, and where can I find it?

08-22-2011, 09:04 PM
It's the Wilbur shader, Altitude tab (Texture>>Shader Setup when the Wilbur shader is selected). The Altitude tab will let you change the height coloring.

08-22-2011, 09:21 PM
Ah yeah... that let me edit it, cheers :)

Another thing I was wondering... is it possible to generate some depth/detail for my sea alone, in Wilbur? Currently it's a bit flat and boring... it'd be nice to have some dips and such.

08-22-2011, 10:35 PM
Huh, I didn't realize Wilbur had an altitude shader! Well anyway, to answer your earlier question Kyrel, I should have specified that I created the gradient maps in GIMP, which is sort of a scaled down Photoshop clone. I know that you can create gradient maps in Photoshop but, not having ever used PS, I'm afraid I couldn't tell you how to do it. But basically you import the Wilbur height map, make a copy of it, and then apply a gradient map to that copy.


08-23-2011, 04:19 AM
Well, I took the original idea and applied it to my landmass...


I'm amazed it turned out pretty much as I wanted it to, and relatively similar to how Arsheesh's example looked. My only wish now is to have some sort of sea texture...

08-23-2011, 11:28 AM
Rumor has it that Wilbur 1.77 (out now at your favorite Wilbur distribution point) fixes the latitude shader problem referred to earlier.

The sea fix in PS should just be a matter of putting in a sea texture layer on the bottom and chopping out the sea parts on the other layers. A fix involving Wilbur would be to select the sea areas using Select>>From Terrain>>Height Range with a Minimum of -1000000 and Maximum of -0.00001, followed by Filter>>Fill>>Mound with Minimum Height -0.0001 and Maximum Height -1000 to fill the sea basins. Better results can be obtained on the Mound operation by using the Edit Profile button and setting a Non-Linearity value of 2 to get continental shelf-looking things (a similar result can be obtained by doing a Select>>Modify>>Contract with a value of 3ish before doing the initial mound). If it's a little too harsh of an effect, setting Sea Opacity to 0.5 in the Altitude tab of the shader setup will make the water a little murky.

08-24-2011, 09:32 AM
Excellent, I'll download the latest version and play around with that... and thanks for the tips for the sea too :)

08-24-2011, 09:55 AM
Did you see what Waldronate meant about odd rivers? For all the awesomeness of the mountains generated this way, to me it's jarring to have rivers going nowhere. Or for that matter, ending improbably. Your Sevauvud/ Aelon/ Geran one, and the Ponzala/ Cirelia ones probably ought to behave differently, winding up at the ocean. If I generate some reasonably plausible terrain with Fractal Terrains, I still manually complete "stuck" rivers, connect mid-continent dead-end lakes with an outflow somehow, and otherwise fix stuff that just looks unlikely. I mean, yeah, there are real-world basins with no outflow - but most minor ones either fill up until they do overflow, or (ages later) have worn that outflow down to a slot through the 'barrier rim'. Here I'm referring to your southern Kaelia and northwestern Sevauvud terminal lakes. The big one mid-Elohabor could be plausible. You could sell me on the one in western Elohabor having no outlet - depends on the exact terrain south of it and how much rainfall the basin gets.

As far as the biomes / climate you're depicting - they're not inherently implausible, just don't fall into a stereotypical "north = snowy wastes, south = arid desert" without planning to do so. The latitudes you're working with make all the difference. Deserts, on an Earthlike world, would tend to fall around the 20-35 degree north and south range; a matter of air circulation, not "equator=hot". Other wetness and dryness come both from latitude and generalized seasonal airflow, coupled with rain-shadow effects from mountain chains. Ice could just as well be antarctic as arctic. Just how much of your globe does this map depict, and where on the globe is it? <never mind - I see the later post placing this on your globe.>

<I'd suggest calling the north edge just 70 or 80 degrees north, which may be what you mean by "near the north pole", since there's none of the distortion you'd expect on a rectangular projection as it nears 90 degrees north. But yeah, if you figure the south edge as a sahara-ish latitude, drier climate is quite believable.>

They're nice maps, both the political and the topographic versions. Personally, I want the canal concession at the south of Kaelia. The little terminal lake there is actually ideal to supply water to the 'peak' of a set of locks going over the divide.

08-25-2011, 05:08 AM
Thanks for all the feedback jbgibson :)

First off, about the rivers... yeah, I agree with the Sevauvud/Aelon/Geran one, but I think I made the Ponzala->Cirelia one run out of the ocean; I wanted the two countries to have animosity, and Ponzala could tamper with freshwater supplies heading to the Cirelian capital (which is on the river/ocean mouth) hence why I made it run there. To be honest, though, the rest aren't that important to me... I tried using the 'River Flow' tool in Wilbur to give me more plausible rivers but that just generated a near-infinite amount of tiny ones running everywhere :P I think if I want 'proper' rivers I'll have to modify my alpha map, removing all the river channels I put in manually... and then put it into something which will generate 10/15 large plausible rivers around the whole area.

And yes, for the biomes, the world spans from 75 N to around 25N, I'd think. I downloaded the latest Wilbur (1.77) and I'm trying to figure out the Latitude shader tool, but where do I tell it 'right, this map starts at 25N and ends at 75N, put these colours there'?

08-25-2011, 10:42 AM
The latitude shader works with the map information. Wilbur assumes that the editing area is a rectangular block of latitude/longitude coordinates with a height at each point. Surface>>Map Info lets you set the latitude/longitude edges of the map. Use Texture>>Shader Setup to bring up the shaders settings. The Blending tab controls how to mix the various channels. It's a straight blend between the RGB values, so it's not as useful as some other shader options might be..

Using a random world with your specified latitude range and just the altitude shader (facing=0,latitude=0,altitude=1,slope=0,texture=0) gives the following:


Using a slightly edited color map for the latitude shader, I obtained the results shown below using just the latitude shader (facing=0,latitude=1,altitude=0,slope=0,texture=0) :


Using (facing=0,latitude=2,altitude=1,slope=0,texture=0) gives the following results:


Using (facing=1,latitude=4,altitude=2,slope=0,texture=0) gives the following results:


Simple color ramps for facing can give an effect very broadly like the difference between north slopes and south mountain sides, a color ramp for slope can give more intense greens in basins and less intense results on the steeper areas, and so on. The Wilbur shader can be fun to play with, but you have to go to several places to get the results that you want and it's hard to tell in advance what will happen where. I've been told that this sort arrangement is not conducive to "fun" with the software and I may or may not work on that if I get some free time.

08-25-2011, 11:45 AM
Quick question... in the Map Info box, what units are the numbers in? Are they just normalized (so 1 means 90/polar), or what do they mean?

I tried playing around with the settings but all I got was a dark blue/grey sea...

Also, if I give Wilbur an alpha map with all rivers removed, can I get it to make several large rivers, rather than a near infinite array of tiny ones?

08-26-2011, 01:44 AM
The numbers should be interpreted as degrees when you wish to use features that function in real-world units. Otherwise, they can be interpreted in whatever manner is convenient. For the images above, I used degrees (thus, 75 top, 25 bottom, -25 left and +25 right to match the aspect ratio of the image).

The latitude shader Ice Caps value, unfortunately, is done in normalized nuits as you observed above. Consistency is not a strong suit of Wilbur. Features have been accreting for 16 years now and most of the features weren't really designed to work together as a coherent whole.

Wilbur routes rivers downhill. If downhill doesn't go very far before there's an upholl segment (as is the case with virtually all fractal / cloud algorithms used as heightfields), then rivers will be very short. Wilbur has Filter>>Fill>>Fill Basins to fill in those pesky pits and let rivers flow across the landscape. Wilbur will not route rivers very well for a map that you intend to have a lot of endorheoric basins (those without flow to the sea) because it will fill in the basins.

From left to right below, there is an unfilled terrain and the rivers that result from it. Because the landscape is covered in little pits, rivers can't go far before they encounter an endpoint (in Wilbur, rivers are calculated as thresholded flow values rather than attempting to drop bundles of water on the surface and let them slosh around). The Fill Basins operation fills in the little pits as if they were full of something (perhaps water, perhaps something else). These filled basins allow large flows to accumulate, which the flow computations will allow to be seen as long rivers. A little bit of noise added to the filled surface (followed by another fill basins to get rid of the new tiney pits formed by the noise) will prevent rivers from flowing straight across the filled areas and make them wander around a little.

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