[TUTORIAL] Using PhotoShop to make realistic 3d terrrain

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  • Well this is my first tutorial every made so be gentle.

    No credits to anyone as i have found this technique long time ago all by myself.

    So i dont even know if its over the internet or how can google for it O.o

    So what you need? PhotoShop and nothing else.


    This works under PhotoShop CS EXTENDED 12.0.1 64bit and Gimp with the plugin G'mic

    This is propably the easiest possible method of getting 3D terrain models without any actual modelling.

    1. Open up your PS heh

    2. Create a new file (you can go with 1000/1000 pix resolution, but dont go over 10k if you dont have Bill Gate's PC)

    <img src="http://img823.imageshack.us/img823/5906/35255807.jpg">

    3. Now pay a close attention to your currently selected foreground(1) and background(2) color

    <img src="http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/1576/78772632.jpg">

    4. Click on the background color (2) and select absolute white, click "okey" and do the same for foreground(1) color

    <img src="http://img255.imageshack.us/img255/6631/87195980.jpg">

    5. Now go back to foreground color (1) but this time you want to play with the "mysterious" "L" atribute. to be exact lower it a bit. to perhaps 80

    <img src="http://img571.imageshack.us/img571/2356/18600151.jpg">

    6. now the magic starts, take your "paint bucket" and fill the image with the paint.

    <img src="http://img694.imageshack.us/img694/1645/73201633.jpg">

    7. go to Filter -> Render -> Difference Clouds and click it

    <img src="http://img208.imageshack.us/img208/6028/75424135.jpg">

    8. Now press CTRL+F couple of time (CTRL+F repeats the last used Filter) but be sure to stop when the image is more "white" then "black".

    9. Now go to 3D -> New Mesh from Grayscale -> Plane and click

    V'la! you just made a nice looking hills terrain :)

    <img src="http://img375.imageshack.us/img375/3717/48493067.jpg">

    <img src="http://img249.imageshack.us/img249/3570/25307134.jpg">


    Areas are being eleveted from White to Black, so the more Black the area is the higher it will be. Try to paint with gradiants so the hills will not be so sharp but more smoth.

    So for example you can easly turn this:

    into this:

    Hope some one will find this usefull/funny.

    i tried to describe everything as simply as possible.

    Oh and btw - remember you can export the mesh not just the image!!


  • Nice

    For those who can't (or won't) buy Photoshop (like me), you can also do this (almost the same way) in Gimp, with the plugin G'mic.

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  • Nice

    For those who can't (or won't) buy Photoshop (like me), you can also do this (almost the same way) in Gimp, with the plugin G'mic.

    thank you

    ive added the infor regarding Gimp and G'mic plugin

  • NP!

    Here's a screenshot from the G'Mic website :


    It seems possible to create animations too :


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