Author Topic: Reverse generating a heightfield  (Read 2414 times)

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Onkelpoe

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Reverse generating a heightfield
« on: October 15, 2014, 03:32:23 AM »
hello,

one can generate a normal map and a mesh (obj) from a heightfield - is there a way to do that in reverse?
So plug in a obj mesh or normal map and generate the heightfield from it?

Is it already in WM3? If not, why not? ;)


Kind Regards

Remnant

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Re: Reverse generating a heightfield
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2014, 02:47:38 PM »
It's definitely on the radar!

A very high level view of the upcoming major areas of improvement to WM involves:

1a) River model w/ Hero Rivers (current work target)
1b) New infrastructure improvements ("cable" datatypes that bundle together many wires, etc)
2) New Layout tools
3) Mesh Object Improvements (some improvements will be pro-only).

Included in #3 is both optimized mesh creation and mesh import (mesh -> hf), including the ability to re-export using the same triangulation and vertex XY locations but adjusted Z. The changes in #3 also unblock some of the blockers that were preventing tangent-space normal map creation within WM (you need the reduced mesh as a first class data object to project against), which is also very useful.

So yes, this and several other mesh requests are definitely planned, but are not yet in active development. Soon...
-- Stephen Schmitt
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csp256

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Re: Reverse generating a heightfield
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2014, 02:52:04 PM »
What are "hero rivers"? Google has nothing for me.

Remnant

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Re: Reverse generating a heightfield
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2014, 03:10:57 PM »
Time for a little thread-jacking :)

Sorry, I was using a bit of jargon -- "Hero" rivers in the sense of a "hero object", something that is a foreground object, subject to lots of art-direction and thus must be tightly controlled as directly as possible. (as opposed to simulation driven river models where you are indirectly controlling their evolution).

There's a strong place for both in WM; it's the classic hand-sculping vs proceduralism debate on a different playing field.

I have a blog post in progress talking about this; but the river model being implemented is a collaboration with a pair of river geomorphologists at UC Davis, implementing their research. More details are here:

http://pasternack.ucdavis.edu/research/projects/synthetic-river-valleys/

It is a geometric rather than hydrodynamic model; In other words, rather than running a water simulation, we're simply constructing a river given the known shape relationships that occur from the hydrodynamic behavior. This lets you control every aspect of the created river, while still providing useful automation.

There are two ways to look at this: as a hack :) or more properly in my opinion, as working directly with the emergent behavior rather than attempting to simulate nature. This is much the same as perlin noise -- fractal noise makes great mountain shapes for no geological reason whatsoever. The fact that it is a purely geometric model ("looks like lumpy mountains") does not invalidate its usefulness.

Ideally, this would allow three different means of operation:

1) Draw the river path and tweak everything
2) Water-droplet mode (click on the terrain, create a river from that point onward, with automatic (but overriddable) parameter selection)
3) Full-auto mode (watershed analysis, create rivers everywhere they should be, all parameters are automatic)

At least at first, it will just be #1 and maybe #2.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2014, 03:15:41 PM by Remnant »
-- Stephen Schmitt
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Tangled-Universe

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Re: Reverse generating a heightfield
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2014, 07:32:57 AM »
Very interesting developments, thanks for sharing the info :)