Author Topic: Problems drawing out landscape to be identical to real world country shapes.  (Read 371 times)

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Be4st

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Hi guys. I'm new to World Machine and have started a project that I think I bit off more than I can chew. I have a few issues that I need answers to that Google nor any tutorial is not giving me.

1: I created a mask (black and white) of the layout of the continent that I plan on designing and I have drawn it out using a file input set to RGB, overlay and layout generator. The problem is, is that the terrain isn't following my mask/sketch when using the polygon tool. To get it to follow even a little bit, I have to make sure breakup is off and single click many thousands of times a little off the edge of my picture to get the outline correct. This works in some places, but not all and when I use the advanced perlin to adjust the height of my terrain, my whole continent loses landmass and shrinks inwards. I have tried adjusting the falloff which fixes it a little, but then this screws around with coves, estuaries, etc and more or less deletes them. Increasing the overall size of the map by a factor of 10 or 20 to reduce this works a little, but not by much.

Is there another way I can do this? I did try to use the mask as land instead of using a layout generator and tracing, but it gets sheer drops at the edges. If I lower the terrain height to where I want it to allow for a coast line, the advanced perlin has no effect and if I use blur to smooth and round out the edges, I lose shape and my outer islands sink under the terrain and water. I may be going about this the wrong way, but I have not been progressing further into the project with the fine details until I get the terrain the right shape and height above the water.

2: I did a few smaller test islands which were ok, but my main goal is to have a large continent with about 8 different regions in. I take it I have to draw the land for each region and stitch them together if I plan on having different landscape types? eg snow, desert, jungle etc.


I am a little lost here with actually getting my landscape outline how I like it and I am borderline on the way of just drawing it freehand in UE4. Any help or tips anyone could give me would be golden. My outline doesn't need to be exact, but it does have to be close as it's representing real world countries. It will be scaled down to go into UE4, so some loss of shape is expected. There are countless tutorials out there on youtube and I am shocked that there isn't a single one that covers how to hand draw or create real world country/continent shapes within world machine.

sfriedberg

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Let me suggest a different starting point.  Use your mask as a mask.  Don't trace the outline with a layout generator.  Just look at masking a noise as your first step.

You should see something that fairly accurately follows your mask perimeter, but with that nasty height jump at the "coastline" you mentioned.  There are many ways to deal with that.  One is to go back to your drawing program, and modify your mask with a blur or feather or whatever your program provides such that the "coastline" is black and there is a grey scale ramping up to white over a modest distance "inland".  Then apply the modified mask to a noise and you should see the "coastline" at altitude zero, ramping up to the full noisy amplitude "inland".

That should work as a starting point for you, with much less labor and more reproducible results.

Once you get more comfortable with WM nodes, you should be able to do the coastline-to-inland ramp modification in WM itself, without having to modify the black/white mask in your external drawing program.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2017, 05:41:12 PM by sfriedberg »

Be4st

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Thanks for the reply.

I have already tried that. I used Gimp to blur the edges, but it causes me to lose my shape the same as if I blurred in WM. I just had an idea how to accomplish this correctly as I was typing, so Iwill give that another go in a minute. I got a better results previously using the smudge tool, and when I was getting somewhere close to what I wanted, I read that to create different regions/biomes/terrain types, I had to have a landscape generator for each area and draw my land out making sure the regions meet correctly. Which is why I started to hand draw the shape.

Maybe a suggestion for future builds of WM is to have sample terrains or a tutorial using a mask and file input. Bonus points for a few terrains with multiple landscape types like coastline leading to mountain range covered in snow and on the other side of that is a slope down to a swamp/jungle leading to a desert. The sample scenes in WM cover the basics, but there's none for advanced creations like what I had planned.


I take it to do what you are suggesting about the coast to land transition, I use a gradient as a mask?

sfriedberg

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I read that to create different regions/biomes/terrain types, I had to have a landscape generator for each area and draw my land out making sure the regions meet correctly.
Not essential.  It would be perfectly reasonable to have a mask for each area, which could overlap in a sloppy way, and use WM blending to merge the areas together.  Think splat maps, but instead of micro-terrain coloring, macro-terrain WM graphs.
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I take it to do what you are suggesting about the coast to land transition, I use a gradient as a mask?
Yes, but by "modest amount inland" I intended a gradient just around the inside of the mask.  If you use a typical radial gradient, your terrain will hump up in the center  with an obviously conical shape and it won't follow the "coastline".  So a feather or similar boundary-respecting operation would be good.  I don't use Gimp, so can't advise you on the best tool to use in it.  In CorelDRAW (vector), you'd draw the mask outline, offset it to the inside, fill the outer outline with black, fill the inner outline with white, and create a blend between the inner and outer outlines, which auto-interpolates the fill color for each step in the blend giving a gradient effect.  In Corel PhotoPaint (raster), you'd take an inverted copy of your mask, feather the copy to the inside of the area, and fill (masked) with black over the original black/white mask.  Or you could heavily blur a copy of the original mask, invert it, and fill (masked) with black over the original black/white mask.

BTW, you will get a more realistic look if the depth of "modest amount inland" varies substantially as you move around the perimeter of the area.   Long, shallow gradients will slowly build from the waterline to the full WM terrain amplitude, while short, steep gradients will ramp up quickly like coastal ranges of hills (or cliffs in the extreme case).  My advise above was just on getting you to a useful starting point.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2017, 06:56:47 PM by sfriedberg »

JakBB

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I suggest you to try either a thermal erosion for the mask (with a low mass balance and rock angle) to preserve most features that get lost with the World Machine blur.
Another Thing you could try is the expander, set it on min, but beware, it's very slow, so try it on small areas first.

Also I'm not entirely grasping what you are trying to create, do you only have the outline of the continent, without any elevation data?

Be4st

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Also I'm not entirely grasping what you are trying to create, do you only have the outline of the continent, without any elevation data?

Exactly. My mask is just black and white and I planned on using WM to add features/hills/mountains etc while not going outside the boundaries of my outline. I have tried what sfriedberg suggested, but I lack the knowledge about how to go about it using Gimp. I got close to what I needed though by shrinking my selection my 10 pixels each time and changing its colour from black to white gradually. One of my earlier attempts had elevation data on the mask, but it looked horrendous in WM and I found it hard to select just one mountain out of it all and apply erosion and then select a different hill and apply a different terrain type. One of my biggest problems is knowing what order I have to do things. There is a significant lack of tutorial videos about that are remotely like what I am trying to attempt. All the video's I see are either single small islands with one type of terrain, or mountains/valleys with no coastline.

I have tried getting my main land level, just above water level and planned on adding hills/mountains where I need them and then planned on moving to smaller details like rivers/lakes/valleys/desert canyons/desert rock-pillars etc, but I can't seem to get past the main land stage. I don't want beaches all around with smooth gradients up to the main land, only in some places and the places where there are no beaches, I planned on having a mixture of sheer cliffs and steep rocky areas. I am just finding it hard getting to this point and like I said, there are no tutorials out there that show me how to do this. Or at least, none that I can find.

I have managed to get hold of some templates people have used to try and understand how things work together and I have tried adapting my island to their template, but even that is proving tedious and doesn't give me the results I am looking to create.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 05:47:33 AM by Be4st »

JakBB

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What you are aiming for is actually a very difficult project to be realized inside World Machine.

Especially since the continent you are trying to recreate comes from outside of World Machine; if the continent outline has a river estuary on a certain part of coast, it means that there is supposed to be a river, and if there is a river there is a spring, and a valley, and tributaries and so much more. World Machine just isn't capable of sourcing all that information just from the outline of a continent.

So what I suggest you could do is starting out with a less complex outline, just shaping out the broad outlines of landmasses and oceans, then let World Machine create the rest.

Also I have a tip for you that I've heard quite a lot of people suggest, go and watch the World Machine timelapse videos by imbilio, he makes great terrains and in this one he uses the layout generator to sketch out an island https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vY_Bk0B8HQ
Set the speed of the video to the lowest if you want and try to learn from watching the video, it's not a fully fledged tutorial, but it's better than nothing.

If you really need to fully build your continent following the exact outline you won't have much luck in World Machine unless you put a lot of effort into learning and especially iterating on techniques that lend good results and then merging those techniques.
But if you want to take a shortcut and you don't need to go fully procedural try to paint the broad elevation of your continent outside of World Machine, in Photoshop or a sculpting program or GIMP or whatever, and then import that into World Machine and work from there

Be4st

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Ooooh. I watched one of his other videos but forgot to save it to my tutorial playlist. This is exactly what I am looking for. I know its not as accurate as I would like, but I can get it close. I have been experimenting with getting the shape right using the sub-divide vertex option to create more, removing some and the places where the breakup goes against me and either pops out of the landscape or dips in, I just make it dip in and use a line or another polygon to fill the gap. I have got it close, but there are places like estuaries where it looks wrong. I am hoping that I can just tweak with that in the UE4 editor after I finish and keep it looking realistic.