View Full Version : Massive scale terrain modeling/texturing

01 January 2007, 09:33 PM
I am working on a project that involves creating a terrain that is many thousands of square kilometers in size; 27k approximately. This is all being created from low resolution DEM files, photos, scanned images, etc. Since we are trying to be as accurate to this projects history as possible there is very little freedom for creativeness.

I was hoping that perhaps an artist on the CG Society forums would have some experience with large scale terrain. Even though I am working through a workflow it has become as much a learning experience as it has become a task to complete. Any help or suggestions which could provide shed some light on solving some of our issues and roadblocks would truly help relieve a large block of stress off my back. :)

02 February 2007, 05:46 PM
I am a bit surprised that noone would have anything to say on this subject. However, I have discovered that, for the most part, a program doesn't exist that can handle the scale of which I am working with. ( seems to have enough information to help anyone working with large scale terrain.

02 February 2007, 05:38 PM
Here is another great resource:

02 February 2007, 05:07 AM
With little info on how you are handling this project currently, I don't think I could give you much feedback. I am curious as to how you are creating this terrain or have created it by now. Are you building several versions, e.g. a total low res seen only from a distance and numerous tilable blocks? I create custom dems that I use in Vue and Cinema 4d for projects
showing specific geological situations. These are on a much smaller represented scale.

02 February 2007, 08:15 PM
The DEM's were pulled from the USGS site along with SRTM data. I used Global Mapper to manage the original files and then output to a usable format. Initially what I have done is:

1. open the HF map/references into Photoshop,
2. generate a grid,
3. copy/paste each large grid area into a new file,
4. create a new grid (4 tiles),
5. copy/paste each quadrant into a file for editing,

That is the very basics of the process. Overall there are about 15 steps which include taking reference images and getting them to match up to the height maps.

Since I posted here I have come across software (unpublished) by others who truly understand the problems associated with such massive projects. The ME-DEM project is just such a place where the people working on it have begun to find those hard to get at solutions.

Also, there is a program being demo'd which may solve a great deal of issues in terms of managing large terrain projects. ( has a program called Grome that seems to have many of the tools projects like mine and the ME-DEM project need.

When I have time I will place some progress shots. Thanks for the reply to the thread. I was beginning to think I was alone. :)

02 February 2007, 10:04 PM
Thanks for the details and the link to Grome. This seems to be a quite interesting app.
I wonder how it compares, if comparable, to Terregan. Of course being a mac user, I will be
left on the sidelines again when it comes to useful exotic PC only software technology.

It seems to me that what you are doing is out of my league, by much. One suggestion would be posting this question on a game industry oriented forum here at CGS. You will most likely get a few more responses.

Sorry for my lack of knowledge here.

02 February 2007, 05:35 PM
Not at all. I appreciate the assistance in any form. :)

I looked through your site and I absolutely love the illustrations. There is some great work there. I did some work similar for a couple of companies back in the very early 90's. It was all hand drawn but it sure would have been nice to have the software we do today.

I've been using Grome (as a demo) for a couple of weeks. Still getting used to the interface before I get crazy with the creation of stuff. However, the tools so far are more than impressive.

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02 February 2007, 05:35 PM
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