Artist Point : Solid Noise

I’ve tried to poke this a few times, but I’m not entirely sure what “solid noise” is. Is this just a different way to describe the noise produced by a generator? Just hooking up a generator to the solid noise input of Voronoi does not produce a very strong effect, and there is no way to adjust it, like the old distortion method. Is that something that can be restored, or is there some other way to get similar results?

Also, I’m kind of missing the “Place in Layout View” option for the extents of a generator device. Will that be coming back at some point?

To distort Voronoi, use the built-in distortion input that all generators have:

Hit tab, type distortion, and place a distortion macro into the world, and connect it to the placement input on the device (upper left corner). You can do this for any generator. The distortion macro is a simple and nice looking default distortion, but you can craft something more specific with the “distortion generator” device instead if you wish.

For the “Place in Layout View” option, if I understand what you’re referring to, it never left - select a generator and go into layout view, you should see the device origin shown, and you can drag it around just like before.

Solid Noise is something that definitely will need some tutorials and example worlds showing the difference. But in short:

Solid noise’s primary use case is creating masks and texturing after your terrain geometry is created. It lets you sample a noise pattern that exists in 3D at the surface of your terrain.

Let’s back up.

Standard noise is defined only in 2D - any X,Y coordinate in the world has a noise value. Solid noise is defined in 3D; imagine the difference between stretching a texture over the top of something versus “carving” it out of the material. Solid noise does the latter, which means patterns are not disturbed in highly-vertical areas like cliffs. Here’s an A:B image showing the difference:

The left side is a standard Voronoi texture, the right side the same device but with the terrain plugged into the solid noise input. You can see how the pattern stays constant even in the super steep areas, instead of being highly stretched out.


I think I understand your explanation of solid noise. That stretching on vertical slopes has always bothered me. This is a nice solution, and I hope other devices used in texturing could have this solid noise style of mapping. I’ll definitely watch for related updates.

idk if I understand this correctly, I haven’t got a chance to try this feature out because my license expired.
Is it actually possible to project textures onto 90 degree vertical slopes? Or is it a clever math trick for making it work as best as possible while keeping the traditional top down texture projection?

Good question.

The generated texture is still a top-down XY-plan projected texture (so you don’t need to assign special UV coordinates or anything like that). Because of that, there is still reduced resolution in the cliffy areas as the normal approaches 90 degrees; we can’t get around that without something like a UV projection.

But it turns out that much of the objectionable warping that traditionally occurs is from the stretching of the texture, rather than the reduced resolution itself. This solves the texture stretch problem, giving much better results while still producing an easy-to-use plan projected texture. In that sense it’s a ‘trick’.
For all but truly vertical/overhanging areas though, it produces fairly acceptable results.


@Stephen - I returned to poking at solid noise again, and quickly wished for a few example worlds to poke around in. I’m still not sure how to begin making use of it. Could you post the .tmd from the example picture? At least that would give me an idea how it figured into texture creation. Thanks.

I’m not sure if I have that exact file, but here’s another similar example:

Solid Noise Example.tmd (84.0 KB)

In general, the effect of solid noise is most noticeable if your pattern is relatively high-frequency. This makes sense, as the tighter the pattern, the more it is distorted by the cliff effect.

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Yep. This example clears things up for me. The solid noise is not a property of the device you connect to the solid noise port. Solid noise is a property of the Basic or Voronoi Noise itself. The height field you connect cuts through it. The visible distortion that seemed so weak to me, at first, is actually the changes made to the noise by that cut. When the noise is overlaid on the source height, you get “unstretched” noise patterns.

I’m going to be going back to my earliest lessons in texture creation working out how to make more complex textures inside of World Machine, since I’d have to be working with the noise there to really exploit this feature. That’ll keep me busy for a bit!

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Yup, exactly! That’s a pretty good description of it.

I was also going to mention - It can also be useful to use solid noise as filter masks for e.g. erosion or strata, for the exact same reasons as texturing.