Hi Blender Community!
This is my first post on Blenderartists. I was directed to this forum quite some times when I faced difficulties with Blender and more often than not found an answer. To return the favor I would like to share my findings on how to quickly texture a terrain with the help of World Machine 2 and a macro I’ve created for this purpose. I have found very few examples on this topic which satisfied my needs, so perhaps this might also be helpful for more people.
You will need the following to do this:
- One of the later versions of Blender and Cycles Rendering Mode (it might work with BI but I did not try)
- World Machine 2 (the free basic version should do)
- My World Machine macro to create RGB maps (Installation Instruction Inside): http://www.photoniker.net/WM/RGB_map.zip
Now to the procedure (short version).
Generate or import (heightmap) your terrain in World Machine
Insert my RGB map macro to create an RGB map, which is then used to tell Blender where to use which textures (limited to three textures), based on slope- and height settings you can adjust within the macro.
Render out a diffuse/colormap as a base texture with the “Costal Overlay” macro (available at the World Machine website).
You can even render a normal map for your terrain, as well as a flow-map for the erosion, which can then be overlayed in gimp for nice effects. The terrain can be put out as a height map or wavefront obj. The maximum resolution for the free World Machine version is 512x512, but should be enough at least for the mesh resolution (it is a drawback for the texture resolution though).
Now switching to Blender:
Import the terrain as wavefront obj into Blender and bake the generated RGB map to vertex colors (Blender Internal).
Therefor you need to create a material, set the shading to “shadeless” and load the RGB map as image texture. Make sure the mapping coordinates are set to UV and influence to “Color”.
On the rendering tab go to the bake options, choose “textures” as bake mode, and check “Bake to Vertex Color”. Then click the Bake button. If you go now to Vertex Paint mode you should see your vertex colors of the terraing correspond to the RGB map.
Note: In order to make the transitions from one texture to another a bit smoother, you can blur the RGB texture in Gimp before baking it to vertex colors.
With this done, switch to Cycles Render. Set up the terrain material similar to this:
When everything is set up correctly, you may get a nicely texture terrain:
I know this is not a very detailed description, but I hope this gives you some new ideas. There are a lot of good tutorials out there for World Machine as well. I was thinking of doing a video tutorial, but was not sure about the response and if it would be worth the effort.
I would be glad to answer questions or receive feedback on how to further improve this.