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safra

designing height maps

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safra    122
Hi, I just started with 3d game development. What I am looking for is a (photoshop) routine to design greyscale images for rendering 3d terrains. Black in the image simulates the lowest parts of the terrain and white the highest parts. All greyscale colors in between form the final 3d surface of the terrain. I tried to create my first heightmap but found it quite difficult. I first drew all main surfaces in photoshop, giving each surface a greyscale color representing the height of the surface. As it is a lanscape these surfaces already have blended greyscale colors as the surfaces are not plain flat. I then tried to blend each surface manually into eachother with the brush tool. Obviously this is not the correct way as the rendered terrain didn't look quite as wanted. Does anyone know a technique in photoshop to blend all surfaces seamlessly into eachother? Or perhaps anyone has experience with designing heightmaps like this and can tell me how to do this in an efficient way with high quality results? Thanks, Raoul

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AndyPandyV2    298
You could try using world machine http://www.world-machine.com/ it generates terrain height maps. Nvidia has a photoshop plugin that generates normal maps from photos, you can use it to make some height maps if you tell it to store height in the alpha channel.

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gamerxr    122
One way that I get some decent looking heightmaps is to use the Render-> Clouds/Difference Clouds with photoshop. Depending on how high of a resolution you want with your terrain, you can either scale the terrain in the x and z direction(so its not so jagged) or you can use a box filter (http://www.gamedev.net/reference/articles/article2164.asp).

Also, the two colors you use for the render noise will determine how steep of a terrain you want. Using the default white and black, will result in a pretty extreme terrain(depending on scale) with high, jagged hills but if you use two shades of grey that are closer to each other in intensity, the hills won't be as sudden.

Hope this helps, gl

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safra    122
Thanks all for the replies.

I looked at the help files of world-machine, I don't think it generates greyscale heightmaps. I just downloaded the nvidia plugins and will try them later.

I also looked at Render-> Clouds/Difference Clouds. This generates random blends with colors in the layer. This is good when you need an imaginary terrain. I am looking for an efficient way to built real exisiting areas. Scaling is a solution. I think it has more or less a similar effect as using gaussian blur which I am mainly using now. The problem with gaussian blur is that when you use a high radius, the quality is not ideal. When you zoom in you can see that the blur is not completely smooth.

Unfortunately I can not just download a heightmap of the Internet and modify it as, already, mentioned above, I want to built heightmaps of exisiting areas.

Raoul

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noisecrime    817
you could take a look at

L3DT
PNP Terrain Creator

L3DT is straightforward to use and generates heightmaps (and all other maps you could want) from a low resolution design grid. It allows a certain degree of control over the heightmap generated and generates great looking terrain.

However judging by your posts you may find PNP offers the level of control you need.

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