The entire workflow:

  • Part 1: Download elevation data as an image, preparations (editing)
  • Part 2: Generate a terrain from texture (WorldMachine)
  • Part 3: Modify the terrain in WorldMachine
  • Part 4: Generate the additional textures from the modified terrain in Substance Painter/Substance Designer
  • Part 5: Create the scene in Maya/Arnold

Part 2: Generating a terrain from a texture in WorldMachine

  • After you downloaded the Tiff file (from https://gdex.cr.usgs.gov/gdex/) you have to fix the one pixel wide (or high) column (or row) additional pixels (sometime you have both a column and a row) with an image editing software.
  • You might want to adjust the width/height ratio of the image to correct the distortion of the map. (You can change the ratio later in WorldMachine as well.)

In WorldMachine:

  • Delete all the default nodes
  • Create a File Input node
    Generator -> File Input
    Double click to open
    Screenshot 2017-05-03 15.28.23

    • Load the texture
    • Set the Width and Height values (of course this is an approximation)
      Width (in km) = 30 × width of the image (in px) / 1000
      Height (in km) = 30 × height of the image (in px) / 1000

      output_panel
      This was my original output window
    • Set the Altitude Scaling to Specific elevation range
    • Set the Elevation Span:
      First value = Data Value Min from the texture output data
      Second value = Data Value Max from the texture output data
  • Project settings (World Extend and Resolution)
    Screenshot 2017-05-03 15.28.34

    • Turn on Allow non-square extends
    • Set the Width and Height attributes (same as in the File Input node)
    • Set the Normal Build Resolution (you can change this later to get more detail)
    • Go to the General Setup tab and set the Maximum Elevation and Base Elevation attributes (Same as the Max and Min values)
      Screenshot 2017-05-03 15.28.37
  • Set a water level and click the Show button.
  • Click the Build button
  • Change to 3D view (F8) to see the generated terrain preview
  • This is a fairly accurate representation of the real terrain.
  • You can change the colors of the terrain: Set Terrain Color… button, or you can turn off the colors and use the shade option only.

Cheers, D

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