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Thread: Creating 3D contour maps of land

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      pyrandon is offline
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    Post Creating 3D contour maps of land

    In a separate thread
    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.
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    Professional Artist keithcurtis's Avatar
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    I believe Terragen is freeware.

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      RPMiller is offline
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    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.

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      RobA is offline
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    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 (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>
    Last edited by RobA; 04-27-2010 at 10:15 AM. Reason: removed attachments

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      pyrandon is offline
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    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!
    Don
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      RPMiller is offline
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    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.

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      RobA is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPMiller
    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...
    Last edited by RobA; 04-27-2010 at 10:15 AM. Reason: removed attachments

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      RPMiller is offline
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    Very cool. It has come a long way for sure. Can you do a fly-through also?

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      Arcana is offline
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    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.
    Robbie Powell - Site Admin

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