Zbrush is fun yes - just be careful trying to import a mesh of millions in to Max or Maya doesn't kill it! :) - I need to get back to Zbrush, been away from it too long.
Lot of video game related stuff works with zbrush max/maya work flows. Here's some environment Sculpting links that may interest you...
Various Tutorials Some of which also below.
Tiling Rock Wall Tutorial Console, Standard Development
Generic Wall Tutorial create high quality tiling meshes in a short amount of time.
Standard Materials Wood, Metal, Various Stones and Blocks
creating perfectly tiling meshes in Zbrush a workflow to create perfectly tiled normal maps on perfectly tiled lowpoly geometry, especially useful for cliff faces and rough stone surfaces.
Uncharted 2 Texture Workflow in ZBrush
How To Create Tiled Textures With Nonuniform Stones Using Zbrush
For importing stuff, there's a whole import section on the Outerra forum. people have been bringing in all sorts of things. I expect you've seen it :)
that link's cool you posted, thanks - clouds are cool too.
I suspecting you're aware of city Engine? another cool thing that would help make planetary scale stuff.
you’re probably aware of it but if not -
Esri CityEngine Trailer - YouTube
Esri CityEngine | 3D Modeling Software for Urban Environments
create procedural cities in no time
Examples - CityEngine and Unity - YouTube
Watch 1. CityEngine Basics | Procedural Inc. Episodes | Tech & Gadgets Videos | Blip
CityEngine Example Videos
people are using it for in game stuff
Unreal Game Engine featuring CityEngine - YouTube
Unreal Game Engine featuring CityEngine - Making Of
Examples - CityEngine and CryEngine - YouTube
sorry - a bit of a 'link dump'!!!
Awesome links! In June I'm starting an online course for Zbrush and I started wondering if I could use it to build environments and even Matte Painting! Thanks a lot!
Links dump is fine here! I got Max, Maya etc on educational license as I'm doing a short course in Max at the mo. I've seen CityEngine- really cool. I think that's the way to go myself. I think Urban Pad is being rebooted. Urban Pad Reboot/Successor ? [poll]
I'd never heard of dDo, but I'm glad to see that they're offering a non-commerical version. I've got imagesynth somewhere, don't know if you've ever heard of that- it's a texturer.
What online course is that Carbus?..isn't that a character from Baldur's Gate??? :-D
Originally Posted by Carbus
@ Carbus - Yeah most game environments use Zbrush or Mudbox now. Check the link below on the Megatexture stuff.
Matte painting is certainly possible. I'm looking into that, myself. I was taking screen grabs form Outerra, then model detail stuff in Max, texture, render and composite, work into it all...well I say that, I haven't really started much :) - mostly in my imagination with the other 200 projects :) . It's worth working out just how much detail you actually need, or you could waste hours adding detail hardly seen when a photo might be better.
You could use Zbrush to sculpt and environment and then import to Vue and add millions of trees etc quickly. render the stuff out, edit back into PS. Zbrush is normally used ( in the game world )as a detailer, we use Max/Maya for lower triangle count in game meshes. If you just want to do matte paintings, then, yeah, Zbrush is fine. 3DSmax/Maya/Blender etc - usually import into zbrush and you add details. Good luck on your course - sounds exciting.
Here's a good tutorial for matte painting workflow using 3Dsmax - but you could use Blender for the 3D bit if you dont have Max/Maya <other software> , which is free. check out Vue - that can help you out. cool pic here used it -by Dragos Jieanu, you can see more info on that image and more of his work here . Here's a vid with someone using Vue with PS for a matte painting though you can use it to a better effect, but it shows a work flow. Populating environments with foliage and then render that for a layer in PS etc. I've yet to try it all myself, but there's a cool workflow in there somewhere.
@ Monks - I've not heard of the Urban pad thing. I'll look into that more, thanks.
here's another cool link in the workflow for making this terrain for Quake Wars - 5yrs old now, but worth a read. I studied it when I was working out what I was doing. It's a similar kind of thing. They use mudbox so if you have that already, take a look.
A Simple First Megatexture
Advanced Megatexture ( the image above)
Been fiddling with Max, going thorugh tuts and stuff. Building facade using displacement maps:
Procedural rock made in Max, in Outerra
Wow, what an amazing project! I will definitely be watching this with great interest.
Monks, I'm really interested in your extensive use of real world terrain data to build up specific areas of Middle-earth. I have been researching how to go about doing exactly that for a project I'm working on, but I haven't really got the specifics figured out yet. Could you give me an example of your workflow, including what programs you use to process real world DEM data into your own map?
From your post at the top of this page, it sounds like you do most of your editing using layers in World Machine. Did I understand that correctly? I haven't used World Machine much, though I am interested in the professional version's tile support, which seems to me to be an essential feature for working on a detailed fantasy world. I didn't realise that it was able to allow splicing of real world data into fantasy maps.
Hi Thorf, thanks!
Yep, you need World Machine really because of the tiling suport. Photoshop is also pretty useful but not essential. Although having said that I'm working on a game world for a small studio at the moment and I'm using a new technique if you like, which requires CS5 or 6..I thnk. Basically it uses content aware fill, which if used in conjunction with satellite imagery produces some really good results and it's also a lot faster than my previous method. Literally an hour to set up masks (first time I didi it so probably faster) and one click, wait a few minutes and you have your entire terrain filled in with no unslightly seams. You can even use iot to process satellite dems. For example, say you have some satellite data that has too much height variation in it. You can use content aware fill to even out the heights, get rid of lake areas, etc. But I did all of me-dem without that. I did use the PS warp tool though to shape mountain ranges to fit the mountains on the map.
I use Global Mapper as well. It's not essential but you might need some way of stitching downloaded satellite imagery together. Global Mapper is a painless way to do it. There are probably other free GIS progs out there that can open up georeffed tiles as well. With Global Mapper I can also export any area I need. It has full tiling support. In addition- although this bit is definitely not essential, I use it to create proper flowing river beds. In September Global Mapper is getting a new feature which will allow for tapering river beds. World Machine will probably get it soon- although I couldn't say when. World Machine can do river beds but you can't make them taper from wide at the estuaries to narrow at the mountains. This might not be that important for you though. But only use Global Mapper for modelling if you're comfortable with drawing contours. Photoshop can also be used to taper river beds. There are some tuts on here to do that.
I use a two layer approach to building. A bottom layer built from contours and gridded (turned into a 3D surface) in Global Mapper. This could be done easily enough though in a paint prog or WM itself, although you don;t get the degree of control since if you're using painted greyscales with blur, you can't vary the amount of blur over the surface liek you can with gridded contours. The bottom layer describes the broad height changes of the landscape. A second layer consisting of satellite data is added to it, with masks to avoid river beds and such. This time around I'm also using a multiplier mask in World Machine which basically gives you more control over the overall height of the terrain. The multiplier mask just rescales the heights on a global scale. It's useful to give you a very quick way to make global changes.
If you're building maps of greater resolution than the satellite imagery (90m/pixel), ie almost always, you'll need to add a little bit more detail to them in World Machine. the best way to do that is to use a WM device which selects for convexity in the terrain, -that way you can avoid adding noise and choking up river valleys- that's if that bothers you...:-D That's pretty simple to do.
World Machine now has a Height Splitter device which allows for merging of different terrain inputs by height on the map which acheives something like the content aware fill, but I've not tried it yet so I can't say if it's any better. I do know that the dev has said that at the moment there is no control over the blend transitions between terrains so it still needs improving a little. That's on the dev roadmap
I did a lot of processing in thw layout mode of World Machine. This time around I've opted to rely more on Photoshop than World Machine to do that because this time around the terrain is much smaller. If you're dealing with tiles or a really large terrain then World Machine is probably more convenient than PS.
I also use Wilbur which is free. Wilbur is real life saver for many things. I use Wilbur routinely to process any terrain coming out of Global Mapper since Global Mapper sometimes outputs heights which Worlda Mchine considers "out of range". Very smple to do though but always work in tiles that can fit inside Wilbur. wilbur 64 maxes at at around 16K so it's not a problem- you'd have to test your limits out with your system.
So for me: Global Mapper -> World Machine, with some PS.
Paint prog -> World Machine another option.
All in WM also an option.
Please feel free to ask me any more questions, specifics and such. :)
Thanks for the speedy reply, Monks. You've given me a lot to think about.
I've been swithering between using satellite imagery and building my own height maps. Satellite imagery is very pretty and realistic (obviously!), but it's also limited colour-wise. For a while I was thinking of going that road, but I eventually decided to go for height maps and shading instead.
Having said that, if I understand correctly, you use satellite imagery in the form of DEMs to make up height maps, don't you? That is of course always an option. But I don't yet have the process down to a manageable form with the software available to me. I may go this way eventually, in the pursuit of detail, but for now I've been working with Photoshop to generate the base height maps and Wilbur to wear them down into something that looks at least semi-realistic. World Machine looks nice, but I don't have the budget to invest in it right now. Same with Global Mapper.
Thanks again - I will definitely be back to ask you more detailed questions at some point. :)
Yes, Wilbur is a great app, especially for erosion- incise flows- I'm sure you know about the tuts on Wilbur's website already. And PS will be fine for the base maps. Try downloading some satellite tiffs. Open them in PS. Then use the layer blend modes to add them to your base. I think you could do it all in PS fairly easily. Set up your sea/land mask and rivers. Then blur them so that you have white falling off to black at the coasts and river edges. Then apply that as a multiplication mask to the satellite imagery. The multi mask should create falloff of the heights towards your coasts and rivers. Then apply some erosion and stuff in Wilbur.
I have been looking for a while for a map of Middle Earth just like this! I think its amazing what your doing and can't wait for anything close to the finished project! I was wondering if you have an official site about this or if everything there is to learn about this map is on this forum. I would also love to help but seeing as I am terrible with computers I was wondering if there is any way I can donate some cash to the cause? Maybe over Paypal or something?