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View Full Version : [Award Winner] Mountain Technique using Wilbur and the Gimp

Torq
03-17-2009, 04:39 PM
This tutorial is an attempt to explain the mountain style I have used in the March challenge entry. It assumes a working knowledge of Wilbur and the Gimp.

I will follow a step-by-step procedure spread over several posts. In this tutorial the syntax ">>" will be used to denote the selection of menu and sub-menu items.

Step1: Creating the Heightfield:

In Wilbur create an empty map and change the size (Surface>>Size) to 1024x1024.
Then generate the heighfiled (Filter>>Calculate Heightfield). This opens the Heightfield Computation window. Change the paramters by selecting Ridged Multifractal from the drop-down menu. Uncheck the Spherical Evaluation box and hit the scaling button. In the surface scaling window select Broken Value from the dropdown menu. Then press OK and watch Wilbur generate the terrain.

Fill the basins (Filter>>Fill>>Fill Basins). Use the default slope value of -1. Next select only the flat areas of the map (Select>>From Terrain>>Flat Areas). Once again use the default values. Then add some percentage noise to these areas (Filter>>Noise>>Percentage Noise). Choose 2 or 3% and press OK. Deselect the flat areas (Select>>Deselect).

The next step is to run the erosion filter (Filter>>Erosion>>Erosion Cycle). Use the default paramaters and hit the run button. This may take some time depending on your system's specs. Close the erosion window.

Change to a grey scale map (Texture>>Grey maps>>Height Map). Then save the map as 16bit .

You should end up with something that resmebles the map below.

In the next step we will be using Gimp. You can either use your own heightfield or the one below.

Torq

guyanonymous
03-17-2009, 05:29 PM
I'm waiting with bated (or is it baited?) breath....

Torq
03-18-2009, 03:31 PM
Step 2: Modifying the height field.

Open the greyscale map in Gimp. In order to increase the contrast and make the elevation effects stand out more it is necessary spread the grey map over the full range of black to white. To do this open the levels window (Colors>>Levels). The levels window is likely to look something like the first screen shot.

Pull the sliders inward to coincide with the beginnings of the curves on the graph as shown in the second screen shot.

Once you hit OK the result should have higher contrast and look something like the third screenshot below.

Torq

Torq
03-18-2009, 03:51 PM
Step 3: The Ground Layer and the Height field

In this step you will create three distinct ground layers and apply varying layers of bump to them in gimp.

Firstly create a new layer above the greyscale map as shown in the first screenshot Completely fill it with a light green colour. You may have to alter the mode of the image to RGB to get colour (Image>>Mode>>RGB). Make sure that "Fill whole selection is selected". I have used a light green texture that is not too uniform, as can be seen from the second screenshot.

Then select bump map (Filters>>Map>>Bump Map) and use the greyscale map layer as the bump map as shown in the third screenshot. In the bump map window adjust only the elevation to around 38. Then hit OK and you should get a result similar to the fourth screen shot with the rive paths clearly evident.

Torq
03-18-2009, 04:16 PM
Step 4: The High Ground Layer and the Heightfield

In this step we will create the next level, or higher ground and appy the bump map to it.

Firstly hide the ground layer you just created and select the heightfield as seen in the first screen shot below.

Then choose the "select by color tool" and check the "Feather Edges" box. Move the feather slider to about 30 and the threshold slider to about 90 as shown in the second screenshot. Then choose the lightest point on the heightfield and select by colour as shown in the third screenshot.

Then unhide the light green ground layer. Create a new layer above it and name it "High Ground". Then select the new layer it as shown in the fourth screenshot.

In the map window use the bucket fill tool to fill the selected area with a brown colour representing higher ground. I prefer to use lighter colours as lighter ones show off the bump map more effectively. The result should look something like the fifth screenshot.

The use the same bump mapping technique as in Step 3, applying the bump map to the new "High Ground" layer. This time the elevation is decdreased to

Torq
03-18-2009, 04:18 PM
Here is the last screen shot that was supposed to be in the previous post.

Torq

overlordchuck
03-18-2009, 05:25 PM
Ooooooh, this looks interesting...

ravells
03-18-2009, 05:43 PM
At bloody last!!! Thank you for sharing your secrets, Torq!!!!

Steel General
03-18-2009, 05:44 PM
Very cool - thanks for posting.

Ascension
03-18-2009, 05:48 PM
Hey, alright...glad there's more. I spent all night last night messing around with stuff just based on the first post and a post on Wilbur rivers in the overchuck tut. If waldronate happens to stop by and read this...is Wilbur going to support more import formats? I'd like to be able to do up some clouds, tweak them, and then import them into Wilbur but I can't output to any of the formats with PS.

waldronate
03-18-2009, 11:50 PM
Hey, alright...glad there's more. I spent all night last night messing around with stuff just based on the first post and a post on Wilbur rivers in the overchuck tut. If waldronate happens to stop by and read this...is Wilbur going to support more import formats? I'd like to be able to do up some clouds, tweak them, and then import them into Wilbur but I can't output to any of the formats with PS.

Use PNG. In Photoshop, work with 16 bits per channel and save as PNG. In Wilbur, read this as a PNG Surface (File>>Open, select PNG Surface as the file type and your PS PNG under File name). If you get an error message along the lines of "attempt to read a PNG with 16 bits per channel" then you didn't select PNG Surface as the file type. Save the PNG data from Wilbur as PNG SUrface to get it back into Photoshop.

Unless you really want some other format, of course...

Ascension
03-19-2009, 12:16 AM
Gotcha, simple. Thanks, man.

Torq
03-19-2009, 03:09 PM
Step 5: The Mountain layer and the heightfield

Hide all the layers except the heightfield layer and select it. (See Screen shot 2)
Choose the select by colour tool. Set the feather edges slider to about 20 and the threshold slider to 50.(See Screen shot 3)
Choose the lightest point on the layer and select it. An area smaller than the higher ground selection should be highlighted.(See Screen Shot 4)
Unhide the hidden layers and add another one called "Mountain" on the top.
Select Bucket fill and add a light grey texture. Once again the lighter the texture the more effectively it will pick up the bump map. (See Screen shot 5)

Torq

Torq
03-19-2009, 03:24 PM
Step 5 Continued.

Select the mountain layer. Apply a bump map. (Filters>>Map>>Bump Map). Apply the heightfield as the bump map to the mountain layer. As can be seen from Screenshot 1 the elevation has been set to about 5 and the elevation has been increased to 5. Hit OK and apply the bump map. The result should look something like Screenshot 2.

Torq

Torq
03-19-2009, 03:44 PM
Step 6: What about a bit of water

I know this was supposed to be a mountain tutorial but lets add some water.

Add a new light blue layer below the land layers. Hide the other layers and select the bottom heightfield layer. (See Screenshot 1)

Choose the select by colour tool (make sure that the feather edges box is unchecked) and set the threshold slide to about 60.(See Screenshot 2).

Now click on the black areas of the rivers in the heighfield. This will select all the lowlying areas and the largest of the river channels.(See Screenshot 3).

Unhide all the layers and select the (greenish) ground layer (Screenshot 4) and delete the selected areas (Edit>>Clear). Repeat this after you have selected the high ground layer. The result should look something like screenshot 5.

Torq
03-20-2009, 04:35 PM
Here is the same map after the colours have been tweaked, a dark blue border has been added and a forest included.

If you do use this tutorial please post your results in this thread, together with any questions you may have about the method.

Torq

Ascension
03-20-2009, 04:49 PM
The thing that I've been struggling most with is trying to get rid of the hard beveling on the rivers that Wilbur does. I'm pretty sure it's in the settings/values/numbers used but I haven't been able to find something softer.

waldronate
03-20-2009, 05:37 PM

Ascension
03-20-2009, 06:39 PM
OK here's what I mean...the rivers seem to have an outer bevel on them, like in Photoshop. One side of the bank is shadowed while the other is highlighted...as if the sun were in the top left corner. The first screenie is straight from me following the tut (Fun with Wilbur 1), the second is the grayscale, the third is the grayscale (set to overlay) applied to the screenshot. The fourth is from torq's map. The fifth is torq's method (erosion cycles) where it is more pronounced. Is there a way to soften the effect when using incise flow or erosion cycles?

waldronate
03-20-2009, 10:43 PM
The apparent bevel is the result of the step crfeated when excavating the river channel straight down. The lighting models in Wilbur and image editors then give the light/shadow effect as they would on any other kind of step. You can reduce the effect on the surface by using the Effect Blend setting on the Incise Flow Process dialog. You can smooth out hard edge on the step by using a blur operation on it. A combination of effect and blur can be very effective.

Korash
03-20-2009, 11:51 PM
Well here it is. Like Ascension said, the rivers are a little "beveled" in the highlands. I will have to try waldronate's suggestion the next time.

I do have a question though: It seems to me that there are maybe a bit too many rivers for my taste. Is there a way to lower the instance of river generation in Wilbur, or is it a question of painting them out in either Wilbur or Gimp?

Also, for some reason, I seem to have a few places where either the water is showing through the land or the land is blurred on the water. What did I do wrong?

Repped if I can, and 5 rated for the help learning something with Wilbur.

Ascension
03-21-2009, 12:03 AM
Thanks W...will give that a whirl.

waldronate
03-21-2009, 12:28 AM
Well here it is. Like Ascension said, the rivers are a little "beveled" in the highlands. I will have to try waldronate's suggestion the next time.

I do have a question though: It seems to me that there are maybe a bit too many rivers for my taste. Is there a way to lower the instance of river generation in Wilbur, or is it a question of painting them out in either Wilbur or Gimp?

Also, for some reason, I seem to have a few places where either the water is showing through the land or the land is blurred on the water. What did I do wrong?

Flow Exponent is approximately equal to number of rivers (smaller exponent = more rivers)

Amount is clipped when it would go below 0, which is what gives the wide steep-walled valleys. To prevent this amount from actually going to 0, use effect with a value like 0.75, which uses 75% of the result.

The features in that user interface are a leetle peculiar. They are a direct control over parameters in the underlying model rather than more user-friendly values. I guess I'm just that sort of guy.

Vandy
03-21-2009, 05:55 PM
Hi, Torq.

I'm currently compiling your tutorial into a PDF document and have a request / question for you.

Your fifth post on page one is incomplete as shown below.

Step 4: The High Ground Layer and the Heightfield

< snip! >

The use the same bump mapping technique as in Step 3, applying the bump map to the new "High Ground" layer. This time the elevation is decdreased to

Would you mind editing the post and completing it so I can include the necessary information for this step?

Thanks!

Regards,

Gary

Korash
03-21-2009, 11:37 PM
Hey Vandi!!

Congrats on the new award!!!!

I am just guessing here but I do believe that you are the inaugural recipient 8)

I am looking forward to that PDF too. I will be playing around with this one quite a bit in the future ;)

Maybe you should start a sticky thread with links to the PDFs for all the tuts you are doing. Would be REAL useful I think ;)

*hint* *hint* to any cls out there

Redrobes
03-22-2009, 10:16 AM
Torq: Excellent tut - I shall rep and 5 star it in a mo.

Vandy: Cool badge ! Yes we should have a sticky list of transcribed tuts, preferably with a link to the tut thread too. I am guessing that you would need a post per tut or else you would run out of attachment space.

Torq
03-22-2009, 04:45 PM
Hi, Torq.

I'm currently compiling your tutorial into a PDF document and have a request / question for you.

Your fifth post on page one is incomplete as shown below.

Would you mind editing the post and completing it so I can include the necessary information for this step?

Thanks!

Regards,

Gary

Thanks a million Vandy for putting together a pdf (hopefully edited). The text that you say is missing seems to be in the post when I look at it, but it should be:

"In this step we will create the next level, or higher ground and appy the bump map to it.

Firstly hide the ground layer you just created and select the heightfield as seen in the first screen shot below.

Then choose the "select by color tool" and check the "Feather Edges" box. Move the feather slider to about 30 and the threshold slider to about 90 as shown in the second screenshot. Then choose the lightest point on the heightfield and select by colour as shown in the third screenshot.

Then unhide the light green ground layer. Create a new layer above it and name it "High Ground". Then select the new layer it as shown in the fourth screenshot.

In the map window use the bucket fill tool to fill the selected area with a brown colour representing higher ground. I prefer to use lighter colours as lighter ones show off the bump map more effectively. The result should look something like the fifth screenshot."

Torq: Excellent tut - I shall rep and 5 star it in a mo.

Vandy: Cool badge ! Yes we should have a sticky list of transcribed tuts, preferably with a link to the tut thread too. I am guessing that you would need a post per tut or else you would run out of attachment space.

Thanks for the kind words Red. It has been great getting Waldronate's wise input on Wilbur too, which has been a learning process for me.

Torq

Vandy
03-22-2009, 07:08 PM
Hi, Torq.

No problem concerning creating the tutorial. I enjoy doing it.

The line I am writing about is in your fifth post on Page 1 DIRECTLY above the line of pictures. Here is the text of that line:

"The use the same bump mapping technique as in Step 3, applying the bump map to the new "High Ground" layer. This time the elevation is decdreased to"

As you can see, the line is not finished.

Thanks, in advance, and I look forward to getting the tutorial finished.

Regards,

Gary

Torq
03-23-2009, 03:12 AM
Sorry Vandy. I misundertood. The sentence should be "The use the same bump mapping technique as in Step 3, applying the bump map to the new "High Ground" layer. This time the elevation is decreased to about 20 by moving the slider. Then hit OK to apply the bump map."

Torq

Vandy
03-23-2009, 11:04 AM
Hello, Korash and Redrobes.

Thank you for commenting on my badge. I must say I was quite surprised when I received it. I am honored to be the recipient.

TO ALL:

I have attached a PDF copy of Torq's excellent tutorial for your use.

Enjoy.

Regards,

Gary

11617

su_liam
03-24-2009, 12:29 PM
Rated the thread a five, repped Vandy. Need to spread the rep around. Apparently I've been stingy with the rep of... forever.

Now that I can run Wilbur on my computer, I'm eager to see more tuts on this.

Poseptune
03-25-2009, 06:19 PM
Hello new here... came over from the CBG. :D

Anyways. I would just like to say thank you Torq, for an outstanding and easy to follow tutorial and to Vandy for pdfing it.

I've had the hardest time with mountains, never liking how they came out. Below is the result of following your tutorial (added some snowcaps).

Korash
03-25-2009, 06:37 PM
Poseptune - have some rep for posting a map with your first post :)

Welcome to the guild and continue to post any and all works in progress :) We have a forum for that sort of stuff where people are quite willing to make suggestions or help you out when you hit a rough spot.

Also, you should drop by the Intro forum and post something about yourself.

Welcome again

Torq
03-26-2009, 07:45 AM
Thanks Korash and Poseptune for posting your results. Its great to see you getting use out of the tutorial. In both mpas I think the mountains came out very nicely. Its interesting to see you both used very similar colour schemes. I found the blue of the sea on my tutorial effort too intense and desaturated it a lot.

Thanks for trying the tut.

Torq

Torq
03-27-2009, 02:10 AM
Also, for some reason, I seem to have a few places where either the water is showing through the land or the land is blurred on the water. What did I do wrong?

Sorry Korash, I must have missed this question when you originally posted it. The effect you describe is caused by the Gimp setting in the "Select by colour" tool. I think it is caused by using "Select transparent areas" rather than "choose whole selection" when you choose bits of the greyscale map.

I think it looks quite goos with the semi-tranparent areas though.

Torq

overlordchuck
03-27-2009, 11:43 AM
So, I wanted to play around with this but almost immediately ran into a snag. I use Photoshop rather than GIMP, which usually is fine. When it came time to make the bumpmap of the river, I found myself unable to do so.

Now, I consider myself fairly fluent in PS, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but is there a way to make a bumpmap like that in PS?

su_liam
03-28-2009, 02:56 AM
If I understand you correctly, O Overlord, what you are looking for is the lighting effects filter. An important issue with that is that(at least as of PS CS1) the lighting effects filter only works in 8-bit. I do most of my hillshade work in wilbur or landserf anymore, though, so that's less of an issue.

overlordchuck
03-28-2009, 01:35 PM
I tried lighting effects, but it did not quite do the same thing. It's the same basic principle, I guess, but I cannot find a way to select only the rivers or mountains or whatever.

arakish
09-22-2010, 03:25 AM
I know its been a while since anyone posted here, but I decided to give Torq's tut a try.

Believe it or not, but the attached map was done in only 15 minutes. Not the best work I could do, but not bad for 15 minutes.

Might give it another try and spend more time on doing a better map.

Thanks for such a great tut Torq.

BTW: How does one give Rep? (Will also search for answer)

rmfr

Canaille
09-23-2010, 07:57 PM
ooooh.. I'm gonna try this right now!! I'm SO glad I kept GIMP after I bought PSP

kewlpack
02-10-2011, 12:00 AM
I'm going to try generating some terrain with this technique, but does anyone have a translation of the GIMP settings for Photoshop CS5? This would be VERY useful.

mramshaw
04-10-2011, 11:39 PM
Excellent tutorial, thanks to all - especially the PDF guy who followed up on all the loose ends.

My first attempt wasn't too great, this is another stab at it. The bump-mapping in GIMP also
does shading, so I set the Azimuth in Wilbur to 180 to get a flat-shaded map for the GIMP.

After that I tried a few things, somehow I couldn't get reasonable rivers, but early days.

The GIMP crashed (first time I've seen that) which gave me a chance to think things through
a little better, anyhow this is what I came up with. All comments/suggestions very welcome!

wgdevanna
08-16-2011, 11:12 PM
I am a bit late to the game here. My first map using Wilbur and Gimp. I created 2-3 layers for each of the major terrain features; water, ground, high ground, mountains. I should have taken notes on which filters and layer modes I used to get there, but alas I did not. Great tutorial!
37854

Akora
08-25-2011, 06:13 PM
I have created the height map using wilbur and am stuck on Step 3. I make the new layer above the greyscale map as shown in the first screenshot and fill it with green. However, I can't get the background layer to combine with the green layer in order to show a green layer with the rivers. What am I doing wrong? I can see the green level "above" the height map, but when I try to do the bump map the result isn't in color. I have checked RGB.

Also, it seems like Wilbur makes the same height map every time I try to create one. Is there a quick way to change how the elevation is formed?

waldronate
08-26-2011, 01:34 AM
Change the seed value on the dialog that you're using to create the basic noise. You can control the scale of the features of the noise using the three size values (larger values give smaller features).

TregMallin
09-08-2011, 09:44 PM
...lessee if I can get this to work.

38422

So I did something a bit different, using a Hetero Terrain in Wilbur rather than a ridged multi-fractal. I like how it came out, though the lake has the appearance of having flooded its banks a bit. *heh* Actually, perhaps not a bad effect: the sunken islands to the northwest of the lake might be really good fishing!

I like this tutorial a lot. Thanks much!