Contour map texture

Is it possible to create a contour map/contour lines that can then be applied as a texture exported with the terrain model?

E.g. I might want a black line every 10 vertical meters.


Well, for starters, in the colorize node, there is a contour color map that can be applied. I don’t believe it’s every 10 vertical meters (to be honest, I don’t quite know what the scale on that one is), but it’s a starting point. If you wanted more fine tune control, you absolutely can do it, but it’ll take some time. The first, and probably easiest method (I don’t know) would be to create a custom color table. I’m not exactly sure how this works, so I can’t give specific pointers there, but I imagine you could do it in a program like Photoshop where you can make a gradient with the knots set to “steps” rather than linear, so you get hard lines wherever you want them. The longer method that is completely inside of world machine would be to create a gradient in the colorizer where every 10 meters you have a black knot, a second black not every, for example, 10.1 meters, and then whatever background color you want in between those knots. If you’re doing it for the entire height of the terrain, this could take a long time. Every 10 vertical meters might be a bit excessive in that case.

Another way to sort of fake the effect, albeit way less precise, is to feed your terrain into a terrace filter, set the number of terraces to a level that you feel represents the level of detail you want in your contour map, terrace shape to the absolute lowest value it goes, and subterraces to 1. Feed the result into a select slope node, set the slope to 90 degrees (I usually do 85-90 degrees to make sure I get the whole line), falloff to 0. You can then use that to either feed into a colorizer node itself, or use it to mask a combiner to overlay contour lines onto an existing texture.

The methods that @blattacker mentions above using a colortable or terrace will work, and if you what you need is a a texture that’s about the best you can do.

WM has a built-in ‘contour line’ colortable you can select, which is mostly a novelty as creating contours in a texture has problems:

The biggest problem with direct texture-based approaches to contour lines is that if a contour line elevation is coincident with a large flat area, the line spreads out and becomes a color fill instead of a line, as you can see in some of the flat areas above.

Very good point there about the color fills on flat areas. I’d imagine this could be mitigated somewhat by masking the contour map/lines with a (or another) select slope node selecting everything except very flat areas (such as slopes 10 degrees and above)?

Of course, this may take some playing with settings, as it also stands a chance of erasing the entire band in those flat areas…

The 2D texture method is not very attractive to look at. Too bad there is no alternative such as a vector image or 3D mesh.

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