Ok, first off, I have to say that I'm so happy I found Wilbur. Knowing that what I'm trying to do is even possible has been like Christmas every day since I started working on this project again!
So there's a long way to go, but I thought I'd share what I've learned so far.
I had two methods for creating my map. I could have hand drawn a heightmap, and brought it into Wilbur and gotten pretty good results. I should never have looked at NASA's heightmap of the earth. It was super detailed, and I could zoom right in and look at all the flowing, sweeping land forms, and I really didn't think I could get such diversity in Wilbur.
So, I went on impulse and made my heightmap from bits of Earth, overlapped them, warped, skewed, flipped, rotated them until it looked different enough.
(just a test, still exciting)
But it wasn't really Pern, it was Earth and that was bugging me.
So I blurred it and got something like this...
Then in Wilbur generated something like this,
Not bad, but I decided to keep the detail and made this from a non-blurred piece,
I'm excited about this stage because it's really become it's own planet. Any parts that looked hodge-podge are fully merged. Still playing with different techniques to get the size of mountains and rivers I want though. Lots of trial and error.
I plan to overlap these, and use some pieces from each to make the final version. I'm going to do the oceans separately and overlay it. To make the mountains and sea level areas more dynamic, I may use curves to select only certain ranges in Photoshop to darken them or lighten the grayscale heightmaps. Then I can bring it all into Wilbur one more time and raise lower a little more. Hold on to your butts!