Artist Point Project of the Day - Mountain Lakes

Technically, it took me a few days to do this project, due to a number of bugs or glitches I experienced while working. I was able to get both of the experiments I ended up working on completed today, so I just decided they were enough alike they could be treated as a single project.

My first experiment was inspired by a quirk of a terrain I was working on, where a nice sized lake formed due to Erosion performed after a Flow Restructure. I was bothered by the lack of a real lakeshore, but I worked out a way to create one using the water surface of that initial lake. In order to link some parameters in a Clamp and a Constant, I made the process into a macro, even though the kind of terrain needed to reuse it might occur only rarely. The macro uses the water surface from a lake and prepares it for an Erosion pass that produces a nicer lakeshore where it may have originally been too steep. To understand exactly what I mean, you’ll have to download the .tmd and see the steps I went through turning the original lake into one with the improved lakeshore.


dev fiddle 211106 01.tmd (587.6 KB)

The heart of my second experiment is a Mask Watershed macro I created. This device allows you to mask areas of the terrain from existing water to allow for the creation of lakes. You start by using a Shape device to mask the watershed area of the lake you want to protect, and connect the Shape Mask to the Mask input of the macro. The rivers left after the masking are used as a Water Channel Mask in Erosion, and Drainage Input on a Flow Restructure device. The Mask Shape is used to blend the Erosion terrain with the Flow Restructure terrain, before connecting to a final Create Water device. The existing river tributaries remain in the unmasked area, and lakes form where the Watershed area for them was protected with the mask.


dev fiddle 211109 01.tmd (604.3 KB)

@Stephen, I almost forgot I was going to ask about the role Water plays in the Scene Output device. Are there plans to have an export that includes water geometry, or is it only there for the internal 3D viewer? Since the focus of my work this time was on lakes, I found myself wishing the lakes could have water in the models I posted on Sketchfab.

You can actually export water right now in the Scene Output - you just need to Meshify the water first, then connect the mesh to the water port in Scene Output.

The next build will simplify this by doing the conversion internally for water, since there’s basically no reason you’d want to fiddle with any settings for the water (its quality is essentially forced from the interaction with the land)

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That’s good to know. I’ll keep that in mind for the next project with lakes or rivers. I should probably ask, if I remember correctly there is a water-tight option in Meshify, but I only need that if I’m exporting to something that will do proper water shaders with refraction, correct?

Correct - generally speaking, you’ll know if you need the watertight volume - most of the time you can get away with just the top surface.

And, uh, actually, the volume surface is not being exported right now when the optimizer is turned on. It’s on the todo list…

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