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Thread: LW & Topography - HowTo?

  1. #1
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    LW & Topography - HowTo?

    Hi,

    I'm in need to create some scenes with real Topographic data as a starting point. It doesn't need to be 100% accurate down to the Micron but accurate enough that someone should be able to recognize the mountain, valley, etc....

    I've been reading a bit on it and have come across some intersting things.. greyscale displacement maps.. etc..

    The Question would be.. Whats the best workflow? Whats the best Data source? Whats the best Data Type to use?


    Thnx

  2. #2
    LightWave documentation BeeVee's Avatar
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    You can subdivide a plane (I'm not sure how big an area you are talking about) and use an image as a texture for the Move command.

    1. Create your plane. I made one in the Top View that is 10mx10m with 20 subdivisions in X and Y;
    Click image for larger version. 

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    2. Use the Move tool (T). Use your relief map in the Texture section. I'm just using a procedural here;
    Click image for larger version. 

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    3. Move upwards (holding Ctrl before you start moving will constrain to a single axis).
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Remember, if you use your topographical image, you'll get that terrain (presuming it's a greyscale image with light areas being higher than dark, as they usually are). Hope this helps,

    B

    PS. I didn't subpatch, but you will possibly want to to get more detail and no non-planar polys
    Last edited by BeeVee; 08-06-2018 at 10:44 AM. Reason: SubD!
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stardust View Post
    Hi,

    I'm in need to create some scenes with real Topographic data as a starting point. It doesn't need to be 100% accurate down to the Micron but accurate enough that someone should be able to recognize the mountain, valley, etc....

    I've been reading a bit on it and have come across some intersting things.. greyscale displacement maps.. etc..

    The Question would be.. Whats the best workflow? Whats the best Data source? Whats the best Data Type to use?


    Thnx
    If you can find an existing depth map of the terrain you want to create, that would provide the best starting point. You can use the existing depth map information to create a displacement on a subdivided plane.

    There are quite a few tutorials on YouTube and from other sources that detail the process. HERE is a good one just to get the basic idea.

  4. #4
    Not so newbie member lardbros's Avatar
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    I've done this a few times, but unfortunately can't really help too much with how the terrain data is created, as I just get them from our GIS (Geographic Imaging Systems) team, they have access to the UK's Ordnance Survey data. I think there are some free resources kicking around, which will give you 20m per pixel accuracy. (I think).

    Usually, our GIS team hand me a TIIIINY .tiff file, that you can't even imagine contains any data as the file-size is soooo small, but it has 20m per pixel accuracy over 5kilometres or whatever they did for me, and it worked amazingly well used as a displacement map on a ground plane.
    The image looks black, but if you look at it in Photoshop and use the exposure control, it's just because it's an HDR image, and contains lots more data than is visible to the eye, or a monitor.

    Hope you find what you need!
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  5. #5
    Plays with fire sadkkf's Avatar
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    I've some good luck finding elevation data with TopoFusion. It's not free, but very cheap. Upgrades are free.

    You can create colored elevation maps and choose your grayscale range. It's very handy, but I've had some difficulty finding good data for places I visit outside the US.
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  6. #6
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    Here's a fairly recent thread discussing several techniques:

    https://forums.newtek.com/showthread...highlight=usgs

    This link:

    https://forums.newtek.com/showthread...=1#post1541473

    refers to a product called "Race Track Builder" (which I haven't used) but seems to be able to not just extract terrain data but also grab the satellite imagery for that terrain from Google Earth.

    mTp

  7. #7
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    Hi,

    Thank you all!

    I guess the prudent way to go about this is to first locate a datasource.. see what formats they have and go from there...

    Racdtrack builder looks cool, could be usefull for many other things, walkways, roads, etc...


    thnx

  8. #8
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    A question may be which dataformat can deliver the Right Height level according to the real location, and what import tool would allow for that in Lightwave.

    Otherwise it is super easy to displace with a lot of formats, though you also want to have heightmaps whith as close to meter scale as possible in many cases.
    I used to find stuff within usgs eros, but pages seem to have changed and Ivé currently lost the track of the best download pages, you could draw out areas and save out heightmaps or other formats, if you registred..which is free though.

  9. #9
    Plays with fire sadkkf's Avatar
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    Here's an interesting site for getting height maps: http://terrain.party/

    You can get an area up to 60 square meters at a time.
    So much water, so few sharks.

    "...all men are created equal." -- US Declaration of Independence

  10. #10
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sadkkf View Post
    Here's an interesting site for getting height maps: http://terrain.party/

    You can get an area up to 60 square meters at a time.
    Yes that one can be nice, around 10 meters of detail in some of the stuff, unfortunately..the usgs topography map that clearly shows how the terrain looks, is only available over the United states it seems and canada.
    I can go with the streetmap and extract from other places in the world..but you only got a streetmap topo view..so not so easy to see good spots.

    Otherwise easy to drag your area of interest and cloud icon with an download arrow to download your image, you will be promted with a requester to fill in what you want to call the area and then download the zipfile that contains a couple of versions,just extract the files and load the image files.

    I am inspired again to look at some areas..and I am gladely taking advice and hints on wonderful areas of mountains, right now I happens to be cruising over nevada and still water mountains.

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