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Table of Contents

Terrain Mapping II............................................................................................................................................1


Introduction.............................................................................................................................................1
Step 1.....................................................................................................................................................1
Step 2.....................................................................................................................................................2
Step 3.....................................................................................................................................................2
Step 4.....................................................................................................................................................2
Step 5.....................................................................................................................................................3
Step 6.....................................................................................................................................................4
Step 7.....................................................................................................................................................4
Finished!.................................................................................................................................................4

Terrain Mapping II
Creating an almost perfect curved height map for terrains in Photoshop.

Introduction

Many times I want to create a perfect curved surface in a terrain, or portion of a terrain. Here's how I do
this using Photoshop to create a grayscale map which is then imported into the Terrain Editor.

Step 1

Launch PShop and create a grayscale image roughly the size of the cylinder you want. In this case I
wanted a cylinder 150 wide by 350 high. Create a new layer and name it 'Selection' and fill it with white.
Now, choose Image>Canvas Size and add 33% to the width of the image making it now 200 pixels wide,
and anchoring it in the center. Fill the background layer with black as well. Your image and layers should
now look like this.

Terrain Mapping II

Step 2

Now controlclick on the layer 'Selection' (to select the transparency of that layer), then go into Quick
Mask mode (the small dark rectangle with white circle under the color swatches in the floating tool
palette). Once in Quick Mask Mode, you'll want to again controlclick on the layer 'Selection' again. Your
image should look like this.

Step 3

Now with the white area selected, choose Gaussian Blur from the filter menu and enter 48 as the number.

Step 4

Terrain Mapping II

Repeat the Gaussian Blur 5 more times (controlalt F) with the following settings:
24,12,6,3,1.5
Note the progression. Each time is half of the time before. If you have larger images, you want to start off
with a larger number, if you have smaller images, start off with a smaller number, but always go down to 1
or so.
When finished, exit Quick Mask mode (click on the lightrectangle with white circle under the color
swatches), then select the background layer and fill the selection with white.
Make sure and TURN OFF the 'Selection' layer and it should look like this.

Step 5

Now we need to crop it back to the original 150 pixels wide. Deselect All, then controlclick on the
'Selection' layer to make a new selection. This selection is the same size as the original document (150
pixels wide). Now go to menu Image>Crop to resize the canvas to the selected area.
Do a Select All and Copy to the clipboard.

Terrain Mapping II

Step 6

Launch Vue and create a new terrain. Doubleclick it to go into the terrain editor. Click on the Resize
Terrain button and enter 150 x 350, then click the paste button to paste in the grayscale image you just
copied to the clipboard.

Step 7

Once you've applied the displacement image, you'll see the terrain object doesn't reflect the resolution
settings. This is because the terrain defaults to square. To fix this, go into the Numerics tab in the top right
requestor, and click on the 'Display true object's dimensions On/Off' button until you see the actual
dimensions of the object. Then type in the dimensions of your displacement image, in this case X: 150, Y:
350, Z: leave as is or stretch to taste.
That's it you've just created a perfect curved surface as a terrain map!

Finished!

Terrain Mapping II

If you like, you can create a symmetrical terrain and build other forms! I like to use this altitude texture
map as part of other maps as well.
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