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View Full Version : Real world land data in 3D... how?



Kaptive
06-18-2014, 05:37 AM
Hi all.

Would you be so kind as to let me pick your collective brains for a moment?

Is there way to get accurate 3d land geometry (i.e. Using a particular piece of software, or contact a company that specialises in getting/creating this data), without having to create it by hand from elevation maps/images?

I'm working on a development and the footage we've been given isn't really showing what they wanted, so now I've got to recreate the place. I do a lot of environments but they are usually imaginary places when it comes to the land formation. This job is very specific, and it needs to be roughly accurate.

I'm just unsure (after a lot of searching around and the clock ticking) how best to approach this problem.

Many thanks for any help, sincerely.

Kris

Danner
06-18-2014, 05:56 AM
I've used DEM files before an broght them into LW as grayscale images to do displacement, the resolution available was kind of low but It worked because I was doing a very large area. Search for Digital Elevation Maps of the area you are interested in. If you find it then it's a matter of converting the data to something you can bring in.

OlaHaldor
06-18-2014, 06:41 AM
If it's available for you, use DEM files (the actual file extension may vary depending on what source you're getting it from). I've used Global Mapper (http://www.bluemarblegeo.com/products/global-mapper.php) a little bit, and I can import just about anything here. If you have several DEM files that needs to be stitched together, you can get Global Mapper to import as many DEMs as you like, and export a massive height map image.

And if you need to fix things, or perhaps add some erosion what not, you can import height maps in World Machine (http://world-machine.com/) and give it a spin. It can also generate texture maps and splat maps for you if needed.

Kaptive
06-18-2014, 07:36 AM
Thanks guys, this info really helps. :)

spherical
06-18-2014, 05:06 PM
I often use MOLA data and run it through Wilbur (http://www.ridgecrest.ca.us/~jslayton/wilbur.html) to generate normal maps. Advisable to use the 64-bit version if you're covering a large area, as the 32-bit can choke pretty quickly on high-rez datasets.
122445

Eagle66
06-21-2014, 01:00 PM
Here is a DEM Maya tutorial, with Global Mapper:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MelubnkS9oQ

http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/store/product/1078/#.U6XVc9relhQ

Texturing, Lighting and Rendering is the biggest issue...

erikals
06-21-2014, 01:07 PM
did you consider Larry's trick... ?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXfe3xizdnE

prometheus
06-21-2014, 01:46 PM
did you consider Larry's trick... ?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXfe3xizdnE

Too cumbersome to tilestich a good complete landscape for geometry, and also get textures to extract, basicly you canīt grab big enough areas from within google, and the area you can extract are just to low in resolution..thatīs my opinion on it.
Michael

erikals
06-21-2014, 02:42 PM
wouldn't call it too cumbersome, but the resolution could be lower than wanted, depending on your project
you can uprez it manually though like Alex shows here > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MelubnkS9oQ
Eagle66, thanks for link \ :]

so it might be what you want, or you might wanna go the DEM route...

thanks to Ola too, for info... \ :]

SteveH
06-21-2014, 05:48 PM
Kaptive - I think it really depends on how large an area you are needing geomtry for - and how far away your camera is going to be. I use Sketch Up and Google Earth pro to get fairly detailed geometry for jobs I work on and get additional terrain further out from a specific area at lower resolution in Sketch Up. Then I get high resolution aerials from Google Earth pro and map those images to the SketchUp derived terrain. Sorry hard to explain in text....

Let me try again....close in I have higher resolution geometry - and the further out from the main area I want, the geometry progressivly gets lower resolution. Stitching these areas (which overlap) together isn't that time consuming. Just delete the lower res geomtry where you have higher res - and then select large blocks of points to make polys - then triangulate them all. A lot of the detail you might think you need - if you have denser geometry - once you drap the aerial image over it - that detail goes away. So really - in the end you don't need that high a res geometry. Of course that's all dependant on how close the camera is going to be. Hope this made some sense if not let me know and I'll try to explain in better!

Sorry the images kind of came in out of order. I can't figure out how to sort them - but their names are pretty self explanitory.

spherical
06-21-2014, 09:49 PM
Nicely done. As for sorting images, just move their respective codes into the order you want or upload them one at a time in the sequence desired.

ianr
06-22-2014, 08:26 AM
Nice Stuff Steve H,
Does anybody know where i can pick up Lidar 3D sets for big Euro cities?

I have a Demo of a lidar mapper, on which i can reduce the big point clouds
down,so not to choke Lightwave. I have imported a Lidar scan in before,
it was a 12th cent. Catherdral before in LW11, the stone work was amazing
in mesh form, so I know that they can be brought in.

erikals
06-22-2014, 10:23 AM
detailed map data always seemed tricky to find, i'd suggest

phone the government's map service (don't call independent ones, they will only try to sell you their data)
google the hell out of it (tricky, they have absolutely no idea how to make global high-res data easily available)
ask on forums (some forum guys might know)

it always frustrated me when working with this back in the days how hard it was to get high-res data for cities... :/

med-res data however (often DEM) is easier to get a hold of...

SteveH
06-22-2014, 12:43 PM
Ianr - I don't know if this is just for the US - or world wide - but perhaps a place to start
https://lta.cr.usgs.gov/LIDAR

erikals
06-22-2014, 01:23 PM
last time i checked that was unfortunately basically just the US in high-res, but could be worth a second look

i guess contacting them about high-res worldwide data could be a good idea...

OlaHaldor
06-23-2014, 01:23 AM
wouldn't call it too cumbersome, but the resolution could be lower than wanted, depending on your project
you can uprez it manually though like Alex shows here > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MelubnkS9oQ
Eagle66, thanks for link \ :]

so it might be what you want, or you might wanna go the DEM route...

thanks to Ola too, for info... \ :]

I'm sorry, but I beg to differ. SketchUp can do limited sized squares at a time (unless there's a feature I've not found), and stitching them together, in my experience, have turned out to be a BIG mess. It's also hard to see what areas of the map you've already made into a 3D model and texture too.

DEMs, if available, is the best choice.

As for World Machine, I've used that to smooth the low res DEMs and add some erosion and interesting stuff. But then again, I've never had to do things close up and super high def.

erikals
06-23-2014, 03:34 AM
oh, Digital Chart of the World is now free, didn't know... :]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Chart_of_the_World

but darn if i can find the download location... :l

edit: ok, think i found it, seems the free server hosting that was up and running years ago took too much resources, so now you have to buy it on a CD, again... :]
http://store.geocomm.com/viewproduct.phtml?catid=25&productid=119

this could be interesting though, seamless >
http://store.worldgeodatasets.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=4
but again, you can download that data for $50 in the first link (though not seamless)

------------

also found some interesting info here >
http://worldmap.harvard.edu/maps/new/?layer=geonode:Digital_Chart_of_the_World

Kaptive
06-23-2014, 04:29 AM
Thanks for all the info folks. I actually already used the sketchup/google earth route for what I am currently working with.
However the particular area that I am working on has quite a specific look. I mean... it was all supposed to be video with motion tracked CG put in there. But apparently they didn't get the footage that they really wanted, so now we have to try and recreate the whole damn area. Madness!

It is the view to the sea that is the key part, and the geometry is a bit too low res and just doesn't show what we see in photos. I've attempted to sculpt it a little to closer match it, but it all starts to get a bit messy.
I've searched and searched for DEMs for the area (in Portugal) but there is nothing that is higher res than what I pulled from Google. The US seems to be the place for high resolution, everywhere else... not so much.

Anyway, I'll have a look at all of your suggestions and see if i can find something better.

Again, thank you for your insights and knowledge kind people.

lertola2
06-23-2014, 07:07 AM
Nice Stuff Steve H,
Does anybody know where i can pick up Lidar 3D sets for big Euro cities?

I have a Demo of a lidar mapper, on which i can reduce the big point clouds
down,so not to choke Lightwave. I have imported a Lidar scan in before,
it was a 12th cent. Catherdral before in LW11, the stone work was amazing
in mesh form, so I know that they can be brought in.

The highest resolution free elevation data set that covers the whole world is available here: http://srtm.csi.cgiar.org/ This data has one pixel every 90 meters so it does not show buildings but I would think it would be good for an area the size of a city. If your area is in the US you can get higher resolution for free from the USGS: http://nationalmap.gov/viewer.html. To use the elevation data I bring it into Qgis (www.qgis.org) which is free gis software. In Qgis I can crop the data to the area I want and save it as a gray scale image to use as a displacement map in Lightwave.

If you want really high resolution images and elevation data and you are willing to pay (a lot) you can get them from satellite companies such as digitalglobe.com.

SteveH
06-23-2014, 07:58 AM
I'm sorry, but I beg to differ. SketchUp can do limited sized squares at a time (unless there's a feature I've not found), and stitching them together, in my experience, have turned out to be a BIG mess. It's also hard to see what areas of the map you've already made into a 3D model and texture too

OlaHaldor - I agree that there is a limit to how detailed a grid you can get out of SketchUp - around 18' square is what I have in that model I showed images of. If the camera isn't too close - and you drape the highest resolution images you can get from Google - the results aren't too bad. I too wish there was some way to know what areas of terrain you already have in SketchUp - but overlapping them and stitching them is easy (atleast I think it is). I only use the lower res SketchUp images UV mapped to the terrain as a guide - to place the high res Google images using planar mapping. then all the stitching (that has been tripled) isn't visible any longer. For fairly distant shots it's a good thing! And once you have the software - the cost of that terrain is great (free is good)!

ianr
06-24-2014, 12:04 PM
Thanks Lertola,
But Lidar is different, you see Lecia custom laser paints a City
Let's say sideways,where as Dems are vertical. Oh Well, The
softs I used was GeoMagic Studio for Lidar,& damn it was like
Polytrans on steriods,33 Million mesh of the 12 Cent Cathedral
down to 3 million imported into Lighwave using Wavefront OBJ.
No problem! Also The Euro Cities I mean the the Med Sea.
But thanks for the reply also.

erikals
06-24-2014, 12:39 PM
curious, would you know the price of GeoMagic Studio ?

i bet it costs a lot of ca$h... ?

prometheus
06-24-2014, 01:18 PM
this might be of some interest to look into, maybe, maya,zbrush and google earth for location scouting and google earth pro to get 8k and 16k textures, and global mapper to stich landscape...
Volume 1 and 2
http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/store/product/1076/Creating-Terrains-with-Satellite-Data%2C-Volume-1#.U6nOoLFm18E
http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/store/product/1078/Creating-Terrains-with-Satellite-Data%2C-Volume-2#.U6nO07Fm18E

ianr
06-25-2014, 10:13 AM
$ 2K Erikals, Plus say a Leica Scanner,(maybe SH on E bay?)

Good luck. This very CADDish but, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWIhsqMQkH8

erikals
06-25-2014, 04:53 PM
2K... hm, yeah, had a feeling the price would be around there...

thanks, i don't think i will go there, but it's good to know,

thank you for informing... :)

ianr
06-26-2014, 05:15 AM
Erikals,
It's for say, painting in real buildings in heavy detail, real quick onto a digital lot!
They say that 100 million point cloud can be brought in,thats where it earns it's
money-speed. ask people like Digital Negative VFX.
Used for bringing in a REAL city or a portion of it for your stage.

Hey maybe Chronosculpt rev 3 could do this,has to bring in Las & Laz files ?

erikals
06-26-2014, 06:34 AM
Chronosculpt 3 could kick it :)

walfridson
06-26-2014, 08:41 AM
http://www.viewfinderpanoramas.org/dem3.html
These ones are great and have been cleaned.
In hgt but you can use accutrans(free) to get it into lightwave

cbreton49
03-03-2015, 02:31 PM
I use Global Mapper to get my DEM's and my high resolution images
and then bring them into Poly Trans and convert them into LWO - very easy..

cbreton49
03-03-2015, 03:53 PM
I use Global Mapper to get my DEM's and then bring them into Poly Trans and convert them into LWO - very easy..

m.d.
03-04-2015, 11:13 PM
You guys realize, there is a native Lightwave plugin for this....right?

http://www.digitalcarversguild.com/plugin.php?ProductId=7

I helped finalize a bit of the workflow....brings in a few different DEM formats either as geometry or image maps for displacements(octane)

If I have some time, I may do a tute for the easiest way to get high Rez imagery mapped to the geo

sculptactive
03-04-2015, 11:32 PM
You guys realize, there is a native Lightwave plugin for this....right?

If I have some time, I may do a tute for the easiest way to get high Rez imagery mapped to the geo

Great. That would be very helpful.