PDA

View Full Version : Creating 3D contour maps of land



pyrandon
05-08-2007, 08:10 AM
In a separate thread (http://cartographersguild.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1596#1596)
about city streets we began discussing creation of 3D contour maps of hills, mountains, and such
Can anyone suggest the best way(s) to do this--hopefully ?

I have used diplacement maps in Photoshop to create waving flags & banners; would this be one possible avenue? Or would a 3D application such as Bryce, Terragen, 3D Studio Max, etc. be most useful? Hopefully the latter is not the only method, since for many of us the high price tag of those programs makes them prohibitive.

I'm a complete novice at this sort of art, although I do own a couple 3D programs, so any help/advice would be appreciated. I can see it being very valuable.

keithcurtis
05-08-2007, 10:23 AM
I believe Terragen is freeware.

RPMiller
05-08-2007, 11:14 AM
As I own Bryce and Carrera as well as Fractal Terrains I would most likely use one of those.

I would take a gray scale elevation map of the area and insert it into the appropriate program as a height map. Pure white would be the highest and black the lowest points. The 3D app would take care of the rest.

I would then probably cheat and simply overlay the full color map of the area on top of the 3D map after removing text and such.

If I was really feeling creative, I would convert my full color map into gray scale and use that as an additional height map to actually create the buildings and such.

RobA
05-08-2007, 03:33 PM
welllllllll...


this gave me an idea, so here is my lunchtime project.

I took my map from following the tutorial here (half way down the page):

http://cartographersguild.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=252

Then I took the various layers and made a bump map. First by merging the hill layers, stretching the range from black to 50% gray.

I then made copies of each layer I wanted to elevate separately, and either added them, or applied them normally to get the attached heightfield.

I loaded this up in Povray (http://povray.org/) (a most excellent ray tracing freeware, but having no modeler - everything is text files) as a height field, scaled appropriately.

Then used the original image to paint the heightfield as an image-map. Added a semi-transparent waterline and a sky, and made the attached quick and dirty and absolutely free software version....

Is this what you were thinking of?

-Rob A>

pyrandon
05-08-2007, 03:41 PM
AAAAHHHH!!!! Great Bone Biscuits, that's exactly what I was thinking of!!!!

I do not know what bump maps are, nor what you mean by applying layers to get a height field (nor what a height field is), nor.......... Okay, I'm a total technidiot, but I love the results! Heaps upon heaps of potential!

Do you think you could make a short tutorial on that--or at least be more A-B-C for we losers? I assume the close-to-same processes could be followed for Photoshop, Bryce/Daz studio/etc. as well. That is very, very impressive--especially for just a "lunchtime project"! Wow!

RPMiller
05-08-2007, 05:45 PM
Well done RobA!! Well done!

Can you animate in POVRay? I used it many many moons ago, as in years, but it just never 'did it' for me. I haven't tried it again since, but that is a pretty nice result for all freeware.

Don, yes the process would be pretty much spot on for anything you used.

RobA
05-08-2007, 09:47 PM
Well done RobA!! Well done!

Can you animate in POVRay? I used it many many moons ago, as in years, but it just never 'did it' for me. I haven't tried it again since, but that is a pretty nice result for all freeware.



Animate......like this? (I tried to attach an avi, but the forum doesn't allow it, so the animated gif will have to do :) (I'll delete it if too slow to load...)

Yeah - I have used POV a lot, both personally and professionally. excellent program for those who can't draw a straight line, as everything is mathematically described...

RPMiller
05-08-2007, 10:52 PM
Very cool. It has come a long way for sure. Can you do a fly-through also?

ravells
05-09-2007, 05:00 AM
That's superb, Rob!

Very nice indeed!

Ravs

Robbie
05-09-2007, 08:05 AM
Hey can you post your texture/color map for it as well, I'd like to try a render in 3d studio using your same maps...but with the super impressive mental ray displacement capabilities.

I'll of course share the results.

That looks awesome though.

RobA
05-09-2007, 08:56 AM
Hey can you post your texture/color map for it as well, I'd like to try a render in 3d studio using your same maps...but with the super impressive mental ray displacement capabilities.

I'll of course share the results.

That looks awesome though.

The colormap image is in this thread (half way down):

http://cartographersguild.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=252

I'd like to see a comparison with the POV render, too!

Robbie
05-09-2007, 09:33 AM
Duh...I should read more.

Anyways, here's my first attempt...I still need to tweak the water and the displacement...I'm using default global illumination and final gather...I think I need to increase the samples though. I'll try another render after I get back from todays conference festivities.

Robbie
05-09-2007, 10:25 AM
I lied...I rendered a sky time sequence while I was in the shower. I need to animate the water and tweak the water, and still need to fix the displacement samples and edges, but that will come later. I also think the lighting may be a bit harsh, but I dunno.

pyrandon
05-09-2007, 12:31 PM
Man! I really need to learn how to do this sort of mapping! Amazing. Tons of potential. Nice work, you guys.

heruca
05-11-2007, 09:28 AM
Awesome stuff, guys!

RobA
05-13-2007, 10:44 PM
I just got around to animating a fly-over.

It looks horrible (and is way too big) as a gif, so I converted it to a FLV and posted it over on my blog. The FLV of the rotation animation I posted earlier is there as well. The entry is here:

http://ffaat.pointclark.net/blog/archives/134-Map-Flyovers.html

-Rob A>

keithcurtis
05-14-2007, 12:34 AM
That is really, really fun! I wish I had better 3d skills.

RPMiller
05-14-2007, 01:07 AM
I concur! Very cool! It really brings some life to the area.

You should make it a dragon flyover. ;)

ravells
05-14-2007, 04:55 AM
Excellent flyover!

Ravs

pyrandon
11-21-2007, 11:36 PM
Okay, so here I am six months later trying to figure out how to do this 3-D thing.

I have Bryce 6, and I am trying to make some simple images of a town & landscape...and my first step is already a failure!

I turned the basic landscape into a grayscale image (attached)--but when I attempt to Import Object, none of the formats available to save from Photoshop are usable by Bryce. Do I need to do some intermediate step? Can anyone give me a clue? I can find no tutorial on-line to help with this and am completely lost when it comes to this area.

Thanks!

ravells
11-22-2007, 05:18 AM
Hi Don,

Unfortunately Bryce and photoshop just don't work together 'that way'.

One way of creating a landscape in Bryce might be as follows:

1. In photoshop, make a 'height map' (I recommend that you use a square canvas of 1024 px), using one of the many tutorials about how to make one - ie. cloud filters etc.

2. On separate layers paint your landscape so that it works with the heightmap.

3. Save the heightmap as a .bmp or .png img and save the detailed map (colours, etc) as a separate image (bmp or png).

4. Open Bryce, delete the infinite ground plane which loads as a default (just click on it and press delete) and then create a terrain object (press the little mountain symbol on the top of the screen). Select the terrain created by clicking on it. You should see a little sub menu of letters on the right hand side of the control cage. The bottom letter is 'E'. Click that.

This will allow you to edit the terrain. On the tabs along the right, click 'New' and then 'Load'. Load the heightmap you've saved. This will give you the landscape shape.

5. Come out of the terrain editor and then press the letter 'M' to the right of the control cage, this opens the material pallette. Load the detail colour picture, and select 'object top' as your projection.

That should do it. I haven't set out the details of loading images into materials pallete (I'm assuming you know how to do this) but if you need any help there are any number of tuts on the web.

Ravs

RobA
11-22-2007, 09:22 AM
From the Bryce FAQ:


QUESTION:
What 3D Object File Formats can Bryce Import?

ANSWER:
Importing - Bryce can import objects saved to the following file formats.



TrueSpace (.cob) Versions up to 4.0 are supported. Material properties are supported.

VideoScape (.vsa) All versions are fully supported.

VRML1 (.wrl) Imports all properties relevant to Bryce, including camera, light, and surface and material textures.

LightWave (.lwo or .lws) Both objects and scenes are supported. The camera, lights, and all objects (with material information) are imported. Versions 6 and up are not supported.

Heightfield (.hf) Used to import descriptions of heightfields (terrains).

USGS DEM (.dem) All forms of DEM files are supported.

USGS SDTS (.ddf) This format is the new USGS format which will replace DEM files.

Portable Greyscale Map (.pgm) Used to import descriptions of heightfields (terrains).

3d Studio® Objects (.3ds)

3DMF (.3mf)

AutoCad® (.dfx)

Direct 3D (.x)

Wavefront (.obj)

WCS Elev (.elev)

WorldToolKit® (.nff)

So I think pgm is the one you want. AFAIK photoshop supports it, depending on the version, (but it might not be installed by default - check your EXTRAS folder ion the CD)

...or if not, I know there is at least one 3rd part plugin. (http://photoshop.pluginsworld.com/plugins/adobe/362/richard-rosenman/portable-pixmap-importer-exporter.html)

Attached is a zip of a pgm file made from your jpg (and on a side note, stay away from jpg when making heightfields as the compressions algorithms really mes them up).
-Rob A>

pyrandon
11-23-2007, 12:43 PM
Thanks a lot for all this info + help! I imported the hf and it looks odd--far too spiky. But that's ok; I'm sarting to realize I do not want to learn a new program at the moment--I have too many ideas to play with as is & so I don't want to take the time. Bryce is much less intuitive than I had expected. I'll come back to it some day (amybe in the summer, when time is more plentiful) and then I'll take the time to arm wrestle with Bryce.

Thanks for all your help, though! You guys are awesome!

RobA
11-23-2007, 01:26 PM
The spikes are probably because of jpeg compression artifacts. I should have applied a 3 or 4 px blur before saving it out as a hf.

-Rob A>

pyrandon
11-23-2007, 10:55 PM
Don't sweat it, Rob--like I said, I really appreciate it. I just don't have the patience (right now) to figure out Bryce (especially since I'm working from 0 skill level/experience in both that program and any other 3D app--plus only slight computer knowledge in general!)

As a side note, I did use PS's "perspective" tool, the "liquify" filter, a little hand painting to create the image below. Not great, perhaps not even all that good, but this process could serve my needs until I take the plunge into the world of computer 3D modeling. Plus, not bad for about 30 min. work, if I do say so myself! Just need more hand painting, more cut-n-paste, etc. etc. etc.

Thanks again!

Naryt
11-23-2007, 11:14 PM
Don't sweat it, Rob--like I said, I really appreciate it. I just don't have the patience (right now) to figure out Bryce (especially since I'm working from 0 skill level/experience in both that program and any other 3D app--plus only slight computer knowledge in general!)

As a side note, I did use PS's "perspective" tool, the "liquify" filter, a little hand painting to create the image below. Not great, perhaps not even all that good, but this process could serve my needs until I take the plunge into the world of computer 3D modeling. Plus, not bad for about 30 min. work, if I do say so myself! Just need more hand painting, some images of trees to cut-n-paste in, etc. etc. etc.

Thanks again!

Beautiful Don, just beautiful! If you keep this up, we'll end up making Fish Seide our home!

ravells
11-24-2007, 04:43 AM
That is very cool! How much touching up did it require? Any chance of a shot of the picture before you touched it up?

Cheers

Ravs

pyrandon
11-24-2007, 12:15 PM
The attached image is something like the "first step", using just the perspective tool. Touch-up took maybe an hour to 90 min. or so.

The end result looks neat, I guess, and the results are fine in a faux-painterly sort of way, but the problem is that I had envisioned the town being three tiered, each tier being an ascended elevation from the sea. The image I've produced, however, looks quite flat to my eye. This is why I was hoping to do a 3-D model: to convincingly capture that change in height. I know I could recreate that manually in Photoshop if I felt like taking the time to tweak for a lot longer than I did--but since I was just a play-test-goofing around, it'll do.

:)

RobA
11-24-2007, 02:14 PM
Wow! that turned out great! That looks like a real nice way to "fake" a 3D view.

-Rob A>

RPMiller
11-25-2007, 01:15 AM
I agree! That is a really great "fake", and definitely so for being only an hour or so of work.