View Full Version : Cutting roads into terrain?

09-17-2004, 07:11 AM
Hi -

Well I did search around a bit, but am trying to find the most maintenance-free ;) way of carving roads into a realistic terrain, sometimes with significant hills and sometimes nearly (but not entirely) flat.

You know, ideally, I'd like to be able to do the layout in Illustrator; if I could somehow create a road in Illustrator, bring it into Modeler top view, and tell Modeler to conform the shape of the road and merge it into the terrain, well, I'd be pretty happy!

Any advice appreciated.


09-17-2004, 07:42 AM
Use Drill or Solid Drill (R or C) in Stencil Mode on Y axis

09-17-2004, 07:51 AM
Use Drill or Solid Drill (R or C) in Stencil Mode on Y axis

Oh man... could it be that simple?!?

I can't wait to try it..


09-17-2004, 08:43 AM
Well, something I did a long time ago was even easier! At least if you are starting from the same point...


I was using a bitmap / heightfield for the main landscape. (These are easily made - free Terragen can export very good ones), or muck about with fractal noise, or there are ones for real landscapes on the web...)

Anyway, once you have your map, just draw your road on in one shade of grayas a closed path or whatever you want. Same colour = same height, so voila - one flat road.


There's a tutorial on the main newtek site on making landscapes from subdivision surfaces and height maps.


09-17-2004, 08:39 PM
You can use BGConform to make your geometry conform to a surface or something like KO_Pointfit. There are probably some other plugins.

The method you use really would depend on the type of road you need. You mentioned several types. If you have a very simply or basic road you might be able to go wtih bones though sometimes you have to watch out that you dont get some unwanted kinks or deformations in some areas. This can depend on the number of bones, falloff, bone strength etc.

With the new bone tools in LW8 its easy to split, fuse and do a variety of things to bones. Another thing is long chains of bones may not be convenient to bend by hand. This is where you might think of using IK. Again if you have LW 8 you can use IKBooster, whose IK system is perfect for this since you can adjust each node at will. LWs stanard IK can get twitchy with long chains and also time consuming to set up multi goal IK chains.

If I were going to use some kind of deformation tool I would look at FIs_Bezier bend or Shift Spline Transform which are spline based deformers and better then the one included in layout.

some other ways would be to select points off an existing landscape, create splines and use them as a guide for rail extrudes for creating the road surface or as guides for rail cloning support pylons, fence posts, light posts etc. The nice thing about rail extruding is that you can create the UV map right there.
You can easily create points to pick by stenciling in geometry.
You can also boolean in the roadway.
You can also start with a flat grid and model everything flat. from the top view you can treat it like a map and layout your surfaces, UV maps etc. Once you do that you can covert UV maps to weight maps. You can use those weight maps along with the FALLOFF setting with most of the tools in the modify panel to move, rotate, stretch and so on based on the weight maps strength.
You can also use image maps to displace geometry which may be useful for creating roadways. You can also use an image maps to create weight maps using the Texture Point plugin in modeler.
Another method is to create roadways using morph maps.
For instance you can make a grid and then create morph targets with the grid up, down or whatever. Using the airbrush tool or image maps (textured point in modeler or normal displacement in layout) you can use the image map to control which parts morph by how much.
The idea is that there are lots of ways to do this depending on the type of road and the type of environment it will be in.