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Kees Waagmeester

Heightmaps

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I've got a rather simple question about heightmaps: All the heightmaps you see are black and white maps with 8 bit per colorchannel. This means you only get 256 'levels' in you're 3D height. (Which I have in my 3D app) If you look at Farcry for example, they have more height differences (from high mountains to low sea floors). How can you achieve this with only a b&w heightmap (assuming they use it). A few solutions I thought up are: - Use more channels in you're heightmap (but then is not b&w anymore) - Use 3 levels (high, medium, low) and 1 heightmap per level, so you can triple your height range Am I thinking in the wrong direction? Is there an easier solution? Many thanks in advance!

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They could've used a 16-bit black and white. It's usually not supported by standard image editors, so they might have to write their own tools to do it.

They could also be using various interpolation tricks in order to make it look smoother than it actually is.

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The height differences can be achieved by simply dividing or multiplying the height-value at a given point too, i could have a heightmap with values from 0-255 and by dividing them by 10 i could make my map look like rolling hills, or i could multiply by 10 and make it look like that meteor from armageddon...

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My guess goes with Promit's first suggestion, 16-bit gray-scale. Working with POV Ray, I remember having to hunt down some image programs that would work with 16-bit channels. If I remember correctly, at one point I ended up writing my own program that would try to smooth out an 8-bit file and save it as a 16-bit file. Didn't work too well, though. It would have been better just to have a 16-bit gray scale editor. There were some terrain makers that I found that could export to 16-bit gray scale images, but I don't remember if any free ones were available or good. You could check here to find out, though.

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