View Full Version : Any good approach to make a height map?

01 January 2006, 02:58 PM
I am trying to make a height map and apply it onto a sphere in 3dsmax to create a realistic global. I know it is basically just combination of colours between black and white, but I want to make the landscape as close match as the real earth as possible, which i find quite hard to do. Can someone suggest me a good way to start?
Thanks a lot

Ian Jones
01 January 2006, 03:23 PM
Definitely try to work in 16-bit.. you won't find 8-bit has enough levels for sufficiently smooth grades without banding. Search online for existing height maps, studying the details as much as possible.

I'm sure you can probably download or buy an existing earth heightmap for just this purpose, is this an option?

01 January 2006, 06:49 PM
i think i got it
This is the result, now another tough task is texturing it. which i have no idea how to make it look convincing. >.<

[img=] (

01 January 2006, 08:10 PM
If you're trying to now add details to the land mass, that could be complicated.

Why not go back to a decent color map, turn to grayscale, play with contrast a bit, then Gaussian Blur, then remmake your displamement.
I don't know anything about Max, but in C4D, I could bring in the land mass textures as a seperate displacement and add it to what you already have, if I didn't want to go back and start over. But I would have probably opted to do it in one step, if possible.
If you are not intent on making it yourself, I would be surprised if a Max model is not available online.
Good luck,

01 January 2006, 11:45 PM

Check this link:

They have all sorts of earth maps for free. Colour maps, Bump maps, Cloud maps etc.....I cant remember where on the site they were (They are kinda hard to find) but I used some of these to make the image below in Cinema 4D. Hard to see the detail cause I've scaled it down but you get the idea.

You can use most of these maps 'as is' but if you really want to create your own maps then you could use them as a base.


CGTalk Moderation
01 January 2006, 11:45 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.