View Full Version : 3d relief mapping [Bryce/ Fractal Terrains / Google Earth]

09-04-2006, 04:45 PM
Here is my first effort at 3d mapping.


Profantasy's fractal terrains
Bryce 5.5
Google Earth
Photshop / PSP


1. Make a planar terrain in Fractal Terrains to your liking
2. View it using the bump shader and save the image (image 1).
3. Fire up Bryce and import the saved image as a new terrain.
4. Fire up Google Earth and find a nice looking terrain (zoom in to the detail you require) and capture the image to PSP/PS making sure it's the same dimensions as image 1.
5. Save the terrain image (image 2) as a jpeg and use it as texture map in Bryce.
6. To get the cutaway effect on the terrain, I intersected a cube with the terrain in Bryce using booleans.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts as to how the overall appearance of the image could be improved.

Kind Regards


09-04-2006, 08:29 PM
Neat! I was going to create a workflow for Fractal Terrains into 3d studio max...But I never could finalize the script...I should probably go back to it.

This looks pretty good though.

Sir Alain
09-04-2006, 10:51 PM
That's something I'm just gonna have to try. I've had FT on my "to-get" list for some time now. Just got Bryce. Can you do it in ver. 5? Got Google Earth, PSP, and PS already.

Now I just need lots of spare time LOL!

09-05-2006, 05:17 AM
I'm pretty sure you could do it with Bryce 5. What inspired me was this website: http://www.shadedrelief.com/ and http://www.reliefshading.com/index.html which have lots of useful information on how to produce good shaded relief 'real world' maps.

At the moment I think the google earth textures are OK but a bit too blurred. I'll have to find a way of increasing the resolution of them.

The other point I am considering is getting the right detail for the right scale of map. The ones I have prodcued above look like they might be measured in 10s of miles on each edge. It would be quite nice if one could produce smaller scale maps, drop in 3d objects of landmarks etc.

What I might do is experiment with displacement painting the bryce mesh to make forests look more '3d'. It'll have to wait until next week though.


09-05-2006, 01:53 PM
Very interesting idea. I have everything you mentioned and may just have to take a stab at this at some point. Thanks for the info and examples!

09-09-2006, 06:38 AM
the maps are nice though, but I really don't like that kind of maps at all, so I will stick to "normal" maps.
Anyway, well done.

09-11-2006, 05:43 PM
That is pretty cool, Ravells. I particularly liked the second one.

Is mapping the terrain pretty hit and miss, i.e. is it difficult to put forests and rivers where you want them?



09-12-2006, 05:59 AM
It is possible but more work.

In the second one I used a screen-capture of a google sattelite image as the texture map, so if you wanted to re-arrange features to sit where you wanted them you would have to UV unwrap the mesh and edit the sattelite imagary with PSP or similar.

I must actually try to make a finished product one of these days rather than to continue to experiment!