Terrain (image as plane)


I am working on a ‘real-life scene’ of the fields around Zonnebeke and Passendale (world war I), with this I mean that all the data was gathered on the terrain itself and processed with ArcGIS (Arcmap, arcscene). Here we made different layers of buildings, trenches, roads, … and we want to paste it in our blendermodel.

I allready made a 3D model in blender from the surface using a heightmap in black and white (very easy: Import - Images as planes - edit mode - subdivide - modifier - displace!)
But now I want to align my buildings ( I can import them as .dwg, .dae, …) with this surface and this does not work.
I allready tried to extrude all the buildings and do a boolean but this doesn’t give the right result.

At the end of the process, the model will be milled in one material and used in a museum with a scale 1/1350.

Can somebody please help me? (the buildings is the first big jump, then I have to cut out trenches!)

Thank you,


Can you use the sculpt tools to refine the terrain to fit the buildings?

Steve S

put a plane under the ground plane, equal to foundations of building and shrinkwrap ground to it (is displace applied?). If displace is not applied, you probably want to remesh or same shrinkwrap-remodel ground.
Happy blending!

Hi Steve S,

I Can’t remodel the terrain because it’s the exact terrain. Also not all the houses touch the ground when I import them (some float above it and others are underneath because they are standing on a plane and the terrain is in relief). I can use the sculptmode maybe for when they are placed and I have to correct something…

Thank you for your reply!

Hi Eppo,

I will try that and let you know! I was also trying that modifier just now, but couldn’t succeed. I hope your trick with the plane works! What do you mean with ’ If displace is not applied, you probably want to remesh or same shrinkwrap-remodel ground’ ?
Do you mean I don’t have to use the displace modifier to make relief but the shrinkwrap? How would that work?

Thanks for your answer!


After displace modifier you’re probably left with a dense mesh and part of it relates to flat surfaces. Depending on complexity, what’s on that surface (wood, buildings, etc) you could manually model surface (or parts of it) using shrinkwrap modifier as a base using displaced one. Some of ideasare hereand here .Again, since you will need all this milled, might be i’m wrong.
To flatten/ level part of displaced surface you need to select parts of ground mesh at building foundation projections and have flat objects (bottom parts of your buildings) at these places, assign selected to vertex group(s). Then, in Shrinkwrap modifier tab applied to ground object, point to some flat object and that vertex group. Hope you’ll find something useful in all this…