Author Topic: How to generate height-maps with Terragen  (Read 16791 times)

Offline Hamilton

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How to generate height-maps with Terragen
« on: May 03, 2011, 03:49:06 pm »
What you will need ::

Terragen Classic :: linked here
Any art editing program :: such as Paintshop Pro, Photoshop, Gimp, etc etc

What is Terragen?

Terragen is a program that allows you to create and render 3D landscapes using either a generated height-map or a drawn height-map. It's user-interface is incredibly easy to understand and to use for a variety of needs.

Our, today, being creating a height-map that can be used in FeralHearts mapmaker.

First, open you programs. The order isn't important, just make sure both Terragen and you art program are running.

In the Terragen windows, you will have Rendering Control and Landscape.

We want Landscape.

On this window are two important options we need. The first is "View / Sculpt...". Clicking it will open a 512X512 box. This is your map.

It's pretty flat right now. Let's add some terrain details.

Hit the "Generate Terrain" button. This gives you a smaller box with a lot of options to quickly generate a height-map.

Method. this changes the overall type of landscape that will be generated.
            subdivide and displace II will created a pretty jagged landscape with cliffs, steep mountains, and gullies.

            perlin noise will create a softer, rolling landscape with minute hills.

            multi perlin will create that same rolling landscape but have areas that are smoothed over and areas that are sharper.

            ridged perlin will create a semi jagged landscape with snaking mountain ridges coiling through the map.

            ridged multi perlin will create that same snaking mountain effect with some areas smoothed over.

Settings. this effects smoothing, and shape of features.

            realism, when increased makes features rounder. decreasing makes squarer, odd shaped features.

            smoothing, effects how much smoothing will occur. more is softer, less is more jagged.

            glaciation effects mostly the gully areas, making them deeper but still having a softness to them.

            canyonism does the same thing, but creates steep cliffs rather than soft slopes. It also flattens a lot of the higher elevations.

            size of features will zoom in or out on the data generated to create tiny, intricate patterns or huge single formation maps.

            perlin origin isn't necessary, I don't know if the free version lets you change it. Basically, if you like a generated map but want to edit is settings, you can uncheck the box and your features won't go away.

Action. has it's own description for what it does. lol You can chose to generate a new map ever time or have them layer ontop of eachother.

If you're unhappy with the generated terrain, you can draw your own in the "view/sculpt" window. Just hit the button that looks like a mountain getting bulldozed.

In this option, your right mouse button will push down the terrain. The left mouse button will pull the terrain up. The brush is always soft, but you can change the size and strength with the editing tools at the top of the window.

If you dislike the softness the brush has, you can go to "modify" in the Landscape window.

Here, you can ::

        Set a height range to match your mapmakers height. This will come in handy later.
        Scale vertical, which will change the amount of difference between the highest portion and lowest portion of the map.
        Glaciate any gullies you put in to give them deeper, flatter shapes with soft slopes.
        Canoyonize  the whole map, making everything have a harder, steeper cliff-edge to it.
        clear/flatten. Does exactly that. It will erase your map! Beware!

Okay, so, you have a map you like? Why don't we preview it first?

Go to "size" at the top of Landscape. In landscape area there are two boxes with large numbers in them and a third box with a much smaller number.

Leaving the smaller box alone, punch in the size of your map into one of the larger boxes. By size, I do mean the size you want your map in FeralHeart to be.

It doesn't matter which of the two you choose, the other will match what you type to square up the map.

If you didn't already, go back to "modify" and set your height range to "0" and your maps desired height.

Now, lets go to the Rendering Control window.

First, find "detail". it has a few notches next to it. move the curser to the very furthest notch. This sets the rendering to it's smoothest and best quality for the preview screen.

Now hit the big "render preview" button.

A mini-version of your map will load in that little 250X250 square.

In the "view/sculpt" window, switch off edit and you can change where the camera is pointing. Left mouse button moves the camera itself, right mouse button changes where it points to.

Hit the "render preview" button again to see what the camera see's after you move it.

If you are happy with the initial view, you can hit "render image" to git a larger, bitmap view of your map. Free version only renders as 640 X 480 or smaller. ((If you are only using Terragen for maps in FeralHeart, this is all you need. It is not cost effective to purchase an unlocking key [99$]))

Are you now completely satisfied with your map?

Then lets move on!

Go back to the "view/sculpt" screen and move your camera off the map. You don't want it's sight-lines in the final piece.

Now hit "print screen".

You can either close Terragen now, or just minimize it for later.

Go to your art editing program and paste as new image.

Using the crop tool, crop away everything but the 512 X 512 height-map.

Now, I only have Paintshop pro, so your function may be in a different area.

Go to Image and select "resize".

Change the resize data from "percent" to "pixels"

Now change the height-map size to any acceptable FeralHeart compatible size. (( 513, 1025, 2049 [N x 2 - 1]))

You may want to soften the map before saving. As Terragen has a habit of making very jagged landscapes that would otherwise require ginormous map sizes to smooth out.

Now you can save the map. Make sure the image is flattened (it should be for a copy paste job). Set it to gray-scale. And save it as gray-scale.

To save directly to gray-scale, go to File and "export" Chose "export as PNG". Export wizard will open. Of the three options, chose "Gray-scale" instead of "pallet based" or "64 bit" which are color images.

Finish off the save. you can either close the program or minimize it for later.

Go into FeralHeart mapmaker and load your new map.

Hurray! you've just created a map with Terragen!

There are ways to import maps into Terragen for 3D previewing and editing...but they are incredibly difficult and a little kooky. Maybe next time lol
« Last Edit: May 03, 2011, 03:55:48 pm by The Original Hammy »

Offline 3

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Re: How to generate height-maps with Terragen
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2012, 08:34:58 pm »
I don't get it. I can't find where Rendering/Control/Landscape are. :/

Offline CreamWolf

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Re: How to generate height-maps with Terragen
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2012, 10:05:36 pm »
Ooh, nice tutorial. I've not heard of this Terragen, been using L3DT since the dinosaurs existed... ~ -Gives it a shot.-

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Offline safarirun123

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Re: How to generate height-maps with Terragen
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2012, 08:38:23 pm »
Sounds intresting I might, use this.
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Offline Kashii

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Re: How to generate height-maps with Terragen
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2012, 09:59:29 am »
Thank you. So much. <3

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Offline TurtlezSoup

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Re: How to generate height-maps with Terragen
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2013, 10:43:49 am »
I love you for this ;3;

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Offline LightWolfWarrior

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Re: How to generate height-maps with Terragen
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2013, 07:43:23 pm »
Very helpful! Thanks a million Hammy! ;D

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Re: How to generate height-maps with Terragen
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2013, 10:00:49 pm »
Nice tutorial c:

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