How to render a texture over a terrain?

I am new to Blender. I am seeking guidance to 1. import into Blender the digital elevation model, stored in this single channel TIFF raster image http://homepage.mac.com/gregcoats/bryce/images/terrain_01_Byte.tif
2. import into Blender the texture map, stored in this 3 channel RGB TIFF image http://homepage.mac.com/gregcoats/bryce/images/texture_01.tif
3. then have Blender render the texture map over the terrain model, with a vertical exaggeration of 3.0, to create a perspective view similar to this image http://homepage.mac.com/gregcoats/bryce/images/rendered_05.jpg
Greg

Hi Coatman, welcome to BA.com!
I did a quick example using 2.54, hopefully you can learn what you need from it. You will have to re add the pictures as I’m not packing them in for size reasons, the elevation data is a hightmap, and the texture is in under colormap.
I turned on GLSL so you can see all the prettiness in view port, but that wont effect a standard render.

note: a strength of 3 didn’t give quite the same results as the example you posted, so I turned it up to 5.

Feel free to do whatever with it, even use it and claim it as your own work if you want. :wink:
Let me know if you have any questions, I’ll keep an eye on this thread for the day.

I have to ask though, where did you get the height map from? it was totally set up and ready to go.

Attachments

ATSkill land maping example.blend (481 KB)

Using Blender 2.5

  1. make a plane, and make sure to subdivide it heartily (at least 25 subdivisions per side).
  2. create a new texture for the plane by selecting it and going to the materials panel, and clicking “Add New”
  3. UV-unwrap the plane by going into edit mode, pressing the “u” key, and pressing “Smart Project”
  4. Add a new texture by going to the textures panel with the plane still selected
  5. Change the type to “image/video” and “open” the color image you have
  6. Make sure to change the “Mapping” coordinates from “Generated” to “UV”
  7. Add a light and render your scene, you should see a flat plane with your picture on it
  8. Add another texture with the image of your black and white image
  9. Uncheck the “color” checkmark below
  10. Add a new “Displacement” modifier in the modifiers panel
  11. Select the texture you disabled the color checkmark for in the “texture” box
  12. Adjust the midlevel and strength as necessary
  13. Render!

pop850 basically described exactly what I did in the file, with only a few minor differences that shouldn’t pose a problem.

A few fine tuning things I think I should mention.
Set the plane to smooth shading in edit mode.
don’t subdivide the plane, instead use the sub division modifier/'s like I did. Just be sure the sub-D modifier is higher up/or before the displacement one. by doing this you can adjust the detail non linearly, and have it render higher then the viewport shows.

I am using Blender version 2.54 under Mac OS X 10.6.4. I do not see under Add -> Height Map, and I do not see under Add -> Color Map. So, I am not able to render an image using the file you supplied. Also, I need to know how you did what you did, so I can work with other height maps, and color maps.Greg

Oops, my bad, the “hightmap” and “colormap” is what I named the texture inputs. Go to the texture panel and there should be a few textures sitting in there with file references to where the pictures you linked to had been downloaded onto my computer. what you need to do is change those to wherever the files are on your computer so blender can use them.
hope that clears that up for you.

I have created terrain visualizations for several years, but I never before used Blender. So, unfortunately, your command to < what you need to do is change those to wherever the files are on your computer so blender can use them. > is too general, and not something I can complete. Is there a Blender Tutorial on how to import a terrain image and a texture image into Blender?

ok, so am I getting it straight that you are completely new to blender? I guess you’re question made me think you knew your way around a little bit already. It is really hard to gauge how much people know when you aren’t talking to them face-to-face, which means we typically error on saying less for the sake of our own time.

here is a quick step by step.

  1. select the plane by right clicking on it. (orange outline shows it’s selected.)
  2. click on the “texture” tab pointed out in the picture.
  3. it should already be selected on the “colormap” channel so go to the “file” browser and click the open file. (circled)
  4. find and open the TIFF file for the satellite color image through that browser. (I can’t give you more specific instructions here as I don’t know where it is on your computer.)
  5. click on the little checker icon next to the “colormap” to drop down the menu you see open in the picture.
  6. select the “hightmap” and repeat step #4 only for the 1 channel TIFF image.
  7. click the little checker icon again, and select the “colormap” again. This is important because the one you leave here will go to the final color of the plane.

I believe everything should be working then with the file. You will still need to add and position a camera and a lamp to render though.

again feel free to ask questions on what you don’t understand or get stuck on, I can’t always anticipate everything that could go wrong.

For more basic tutorials you should just search. Good sites I often recommend to new and seasoned users alike are:
blendercookie.com
blenderguru.com
blendernewbies.com
and the links section over at blendernation.com (though that seems to be having a few technical issues at the moment.)

Attachments


< 6) select the “hightmap” and repeat step #4 only for the 1 channel TIFF image. >
I do not see on my screen “hightmap”, so I can not select it.

< You will still need to add and position a camera and a lamp to render though.>
I do not know how to do that in Blender. Is there a default camera and lamp?

Is there a Unix shell script that accepts as its two inputs the texture image .tif file, and the elevation image .tif file, and then feeds that into Blender?

First off did you click the little checker icon right next to the name “colormap”. (step #5) Do you have the drop down menu open like in the image I posted?

If not try that before continuing to read.

@anyone else reading this thread:
I only have one computer which makes it hard to check this myself, can someone tell me if the blend file I uploaded dumped the “hightmap” texture channel in this file. It wasn’t assigned to any materials, which may have caused that to happen, though I didn’t think that was enabled.

Coatman, if you know for sure that the “hightmap” is missing from that drop down you can create a new texture channel the exact same as the one I made. pop850 brefliy described the process in his post.

Picking up from where you are on step 6 before
6.1) click top of the four little checker icons below the blue highlighted “colormap”
6.2) uncheck the box to the right, this will disable the new texture channel from effecting the material of the plane.
6.3) after selecting the icon just below will be a big button saying “new” click it to make the channel. It will auto name the new channel something along the lines of “Texture” or “Texture.001” you can edit this as name you please, or leave it, so long as you know how to find it again from the list.
6.4) Just below that will be the channel “Type” this is by default set to “Clouds” change it to “Image or Movie”
6.5) continuing down under the sub-box labeled “Mapping” change the “Coordinates” that says “Generated” to “UV”.
6.6) Directly below Mapping is “Image” slect the big “Open” button to go to the file browser as you did for the “colormap” and select the Tiff image for the height.
6.7) click on the “Modifiers” icon at the top, (the socket icon at the top, should be the one you opened the file on.)
6.8) go to the bottom modifier “Displace” and change the “Texture” to point to the new channel you created. (step #6.3)

Final note: if you end up doing this you will obviously no longer need to do step 7 in the original instructions as the “colormap” will still be there where it should be. if the plane turns mostly gray with make sure you have unchecked the the box in #6.2.

On the camera and lamp:
Blender does indeed come standard with a default camera and lamp set up, but I deleted those when I made this file. You can find both of those in the add panel, which can also be accessed with “shift” + “a”. A helpful control when positioning the camera is “crtl” + “alt” + “numpad 0” or in the space menu search “Align Camera To View”.
I think these hot keys are the same on a mac, but modifer keys may be called something else, can anyone else who knows shed light on this for me?

I don’t know anything about unix shell scripts, but what you are doing is very basic, and unless you plane on doing massive quantities of the exact same thing scripting it seems unnecessary to me.

Coatman: I would REALLY encourage you to go find some beginner tutorials if you plan on using blender more in the future, they don’t have to be, and probably won’t be centered on exactly what you want to do. but will teach you the right things about using blender.

< 6.7) click on the “Modifiers” icon at the top, (the socket icon at the top, should be the one you opened the file on.) >
I do not see where “Modifiers” is available on the Blender user interface screen.

I think Blender has much to offer those of us in the landscape rendering community, if an easy to follow “How to user Blender to render a landscape” guide can be developed and posted online. The release of a product similar to Blender, but perhaps easier to use, gained almost 10,000 users last month.

I am seeking an easy to follow, detailed series of instructions, to use Blender to render a perspective view of a terrain landscape. I have not found a step by step guide for landscapes that a new Blender user can follow. I would welcome a link to a web page, to an online tutorial, to a PDF document, to a QuickTime movie of a series of screen captures of the import process, or to a chapter in a Blender book. I am willing to make a financial contribution for an easy to follow guide, that I think would work best if it included screen shots showing the Blender process. I will host this Blender tutorial on my web site, unless there is another more appropriate site that is available.

Easy to follow guides work best with example images, so I am contributing these small images.

  1. import digital elevation model, stored in this single channel TIFF raster image
    http://homepage.mac.com/gregcoats/bryce/images/terrain_01_Byte.tif
  2. import color map, stored in this 3 channel RGB TIFF image
    http://homepage.mac.com/gregcoats/bryce/images/texture_01.tif
  3. set the vertical exaggeration to 3.0
  4. render a perspective view roughly similar to
    http://homepage.mac.com/gregcoats/bryce/images/rendered_05.jpg

regarding 6.7: Refer back to the screenshot I posted, the socket icon is left of the textrues panel, pointed out by the arrow, by three icons. You’ll need to hover your mouse over the buttons for the name to be displayed as a word, this is done to save on space in the user interface of blender.

Coatman, I realize that blender can be very overwhelming to use at first, but a guide starting from the very basics for every application it could be used for is not a practical thing to do, no matter how many people may end up using it for that particular purpose. My seggestion is that you learn how to at least navigate around the basics, which means you’ll be doing tutorials that are not directly related to what you want to do at first.

If you have money to buy a book I would say that is a great idea and can speed up the learning process a lot if you stick with it. No they will not be a silver bullet to learning blender, but no such thing exists. The topic of what book to get has been discussed many times on this forum, just use the search feature (or search this site with google) to find those threads. Finally the sites I mentioned earler in post #8 are also good places to to check if you don’t wish to drop money right away.

I am a little quirous as to what the name of the product released last month is that you mentioned. I would love to check it out myself. Also, what programs have you been using to render landscapes before trying blender?

< 6.7) click on the “Modifiers” icon at the top, (the socket icon at the top, should be the one you opened the file on.) >
OK. Thanks. Done.
< 6.8) go to the bottom modifier “Displace” and change the “Texture” to point to the new channel you created. >
I do not see “bottom modifier Displace”, and so again can not proceed.

Again, my desire is to purchase and follow a set of simple screen shots, or better a QuickTime video that shows, what I assume is about a one minute process to import into Blender a terrain image, and a texture image, then somehow specify the vertical exaggeration desired, and finally render the scene. I think thousands of people would be interested in this one minute process, but it appears the process is not explained in a HTML file, nor a PDF file, nor a series of screen shots, nor a QuickTime video, and so as a consequence many people will not try Blender.

I am searching for a very easy to follow, detailed series of instructions, to use Blender to render a perspective view of a terrain landscape. I am seeking a step by step guide for landscapes that a user brand new to Blender can easily follow. I welcome a link to 1. a web page with an online tutorial, 2. a PDF document, 3. a series of still images showing the Blender user interface, 4. a QuickTime movie showing the screen during the import process, or 5. a specific chapter in a specific Blender book. I am willing to pay for this easy to follow guide, that I think would work best if it included screen shots showing the Blender import process, or, even better, was a one minute QuickTime video showing the Blender import process. I will gladly host this Blender tutorial on my web site, to make it available to thousands of others interested in using Blender to render landscapes.

The red bracket is the displace modifer, because of space the “D” is missing in the screenshot, though enough of the word is there that you can still recognize what it should be. You can drag this whole thing up and down around the other modifers, but that change things as blender applies them to the object starting from the top. (therefore this setup has the displace modifier applied last.)

First arrow points to the texture input, in the screen it is still set to “hightmap”.

Second arrow points to the strength of the effect, like i said earlier, I have it set to 5, but you can adjust this to whatever gives you results you like.

I am wondering as to what the name of the product released last month is that you mentioned. I would love to check it out myself. Also, what programs have you been using to render landscapes before trying blender?

< The red bracket is the displace modifer, because of space the “D” is missing in the screenshot >
I do not see the “red bracket”, and I do not see “isplace” with the missing D.

I would like to be able to do a rendering with Blend to see how it compares, but without a step by step screen shot guide, or a QuickTime movie, of the import process, I (and may thousands of other potential users) are unable to simply import a terrain image, and a texture image into Blender, to then see and judge/compare a rendered image.

Is there anyone who can import the terrain image, and the texture image into Blender, save that as a Blender project file, then do a rendering, and publicly post the Blender project file and the rendered image in an uncompressed format, as I have publicly posted the terrain and texture images in an uncompressed format?

:o oops, sorry forgot to load the screenshot up with the post.

here it is.

Edit: and here is a quick example of rendering the landscape you wanted to see. I made a few cosmetic changes as well to make it more closely match your example, just for the fun of it, but really you could do a lot more with some effort.

Attachments



Here is a step-by-step tutorial on using heightmaps to generate 3D terrain in pre-2.5 Blender versions.

what I assume is about a one minute process to import into Blender a terrain image, and a texture image, then somehow specify the vertical exaggeration desired, and finally render the scene.

For an experienced user like Atemporalskill, probably a few minutes’ work. However, while what you’re asking is a fairly simple use of Blender, the process isn’t a single pushbutton, turnkey operation in a powerful multipurpose program like Blender or any other 3D package. If you want something specific for making terrains you could try L3DT.

A message was posted saying
< Here is a step-by-step tutorial on using heightmaps to generate 3D terrain in pre-2.5 Blender versions. >
but the message does not include, nor does it lead to a step-by-step tutorial. It is not helpful to me to know that a step-by-step tutorial exists, but is not available.