How to Build a World: Detail and Texturing


After a bit of work and rendering we now have a piece of terrain ready for final details and colors. This process will be done for each of our horizontal splices. Lets start with the lowest one.

The first step is to import it into a new WM file using a File Input Device. But before we dig into the detail of that, make sure the main extents match the extents we used in the previous file.

I also lock it and create a second extent that I call working. This way I have an extent that I can zoom and move around without messing up the one needed for imports and exports

Key aspects for this is the size and placement of the imported terrain. By using the main extent you only need to press the button Place into Current View and the imported terrain will be in the right place.

The next step is to add fine detail where needed and also make sure that the top part is untouched so it still matches the mid level terrain. That is done using the Cover Mask Selection. 

For this project I have created for different types of details: Flatten, Blur, Bumpy and Terracing. The effect of Flatten and Blur are more less detail, but they interact with the terrain the same way. I could have created a special group for all the controllers but I was a bit lazy and didn't for this bit, so they are located in each child group. Data out from this is revised ALT (I use short code names) and Cover Mask.

The Cover Mask will come in use both for the final assembly of the three horizontal splices again as well as for the texture touch up in Photoshop, so it is wise to export it while we are rendering this.

Finally its time for texturing!

This group is fairly straight forward with additional colors and one texture added using various forms of selectors. You can use a Color Generator Device for Single Colors, a Colorizer Device for colors set to elevation or a File Input Device in order to use a bitmap texture. 

In this case I'm using all three methods, and you can find download the texture file I'm using here:

You blend the different colors or textures using either a Chooser or Combiner. The Combiner gives you more options, with a number of different ways to blend colors. Texturing requires a lot of testing and creativity to get right.  Things doesn't have to be perfect, you can touch up things using Photoshop afterwards as well.

When you are happy with how things look its time to set up the exports.

In this projects I'm going to export ALT, TEX, SHADOW and 0-3700 COVER MASK, so I added a Light-Map Map Maker Device as well.

Go over all the settings in each of the export devices and its time to render. If all goes well you should have the results after a few minutes or hours depending on your render resolution and hardware.

The other two horizontal slices will have to have a very similar setup. The only difference really is that the import is a bit more complicated using the low mask we just created.

Here is the 0-3700m WM file:

The 3700-6200m WM file:

and the 6200-10000m WM file:

Next post in the series How to Build a World, will be how to put the slices back again.