Mountain Cliffs

Hey everyone!

Ever since i have picked up WM I have always struggled in creating this type of cliff.

I have tried a couple things over the years but never really got that cut out feeling.

Would definitely appreciate any help!

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I obviously can’t guarantee any results, but I can walk through my thought process on this, as well as provide the results I came up with during my attempt to create something similar.

At a high level, the smooth, straight slopes with the rough edges makes me think a noise pattern fed into a Voronoi device. The jagged nature makes me think one of the combined Voronoi patterns (my go-to is F3-F1).

For the really sharp creases on the mountains, mixtures of expander nodes can be helpful, particularly the linear slope set to Shrink. The horizontal lines in some areas, however, read to me as an expander set to the Square filter type, and then set to Shrink, so my guess is a combination of the two.

The shape of the mountains to me suggests they were created from the Flow output of an erosion node. My general process for that is to make a base shape that I like, in this case I would probably use a couple combined radial grads set to Diamond, invert it, run an erosion device on it with the resolution set really low like 128 or 256, take the flow output from that, pipe it into an Expander set to Linear Slope filter type and Expand for the action, and then pipe the result of that into a combiner with the original base terrain set to Multiply.

You can definitely see some of the soft roughness of a Thermal Erosion device in some areas, but to me the talus reads as if it were added quite early in the process, as some areas would likely be smoother if it were added later, but that could also be some tweaking of settings (or some masks) to keep the general shape sharp.

I might have more ideas as I deep dive into the project a bit more, but for now, those are my initial thoughts. Here are some very quick (less than half an hour spent on each) examples I made using various combinations of the above thoughts.

I feel like I started to get a bit close, so I may spend some more time on this later and see if I can’t get something a little closer to your desired results.

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Before I forget, I should also mention that if the smooth slope with rough break points is specifically what you’re after, a lot of that can be achieved by switching a Voronoi device to the Standard device version (rather than Artist Point) and utilizing the Distortion Input of the device, as illustrated below.

From there it would be a matter of utilizing the previously mentioned techniques to refine the shape into something closer to what you want.

I would likely continue by using more Voronoi devices to create selection masks to have a bit more control over the break points.

Editing a few hours later with a version I spent about an hour or two on. I used the Exaggerate Features macro to make some of the transitions a bit more apparent in the image. I think this is about as close as I can get to something in that sort of style of terrain going full procedural and limiting myself to the ideas I posted above.

Also adding the project file for if anyone wants to look through it (I took the file a little bit further than the above image, cause I ended up really liking the mountain and started working on a full render of it).
forumMountain003.tmd (737.1 KB)

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New thought, significantly fewer steps:

Radial Grad (set to Diamond) → Displacement

  • Displacement Distance input should be a Voronoi device, set to the Standard device version, distortion input enabled, high persistence Basic Noise device as the distortion input, distortion amount maxed out. I used F4-F1 as the Style in my example.

DisplacementExpander set to Open (Shrink-Expand) and Square

ExpanderThermal Erosion OR Expander set to Shrink (Min) and Linear Slope

  • If you use the second Expander, pipe that into a Thermal Erosion.

  • In either case, you can then use masks (either hand drawn or procedural) to mask out areas in the Displacement device to have better control on where the breaking is visible (though I didn’t do this in either of the examples below).

This method got me a result much closer to the original image in way less time with way fewer devices. Let me know what you think!

Without the second Expander device

With the second Expander device

Fun fact, with a little bit of playing around, the above method can also be used to create really nice debris fields/ruined structures.

Like So

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Thank you for your answers! Very helpful what you put together there.

This is definitely way closer to what i have gotten so far. Im kind of glad that there isnt just a simple node that went over my head.

Also this gives me an idea. I dont know if this would be that efficient but maybe using the talus mask for that might work. I think i will play around with that next week. Too busy this week to get anything done but i really appreciate the help and the tmd file!

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Figuring out a good workflow for this has been a really fun challenge, and has given me a lot of fresh ideas for terrain generation, so I’ll probably keep trying new things until the inspiration runs dry or I manage to get a “perfect” workflow/result! I’ll keep you posted if I figure out anything new!

I also find the low-lying terrain really interesting, because I feel like that is definitely a style of terrain I used to know how to do, but cannot for the life of me figure out how I used to do it. I’m wondering if possibly the original example used GeoGlyph while it was still available/functioning. If so, that could be part of the reason recreating it is proving difficult.

That would be very much appreciated and I will of course do the same.

Do you mean the base of a mountain or more something like the uk type of terrain?

I sadly was never able to play around with GeoGlyph even though it did look really amazing to me.

Dropping my experimentations for this technique, far from perfect but it may help you, good luck! May revisit this in the future, interesting for sure.

a-new-technique-for-me.tmd (483.8 KB)

I’ve had a new idea, but I’m now running into issues where I can emulate individual aspects of the reference project, but most of my new ideas that work for one part make another part not work anymore. That being said, this new idea I had led me to create a new macro that I’ll share here and in the macro area in case anyone wants to give this method a go, it basically just involves stacking Voronoi generators at different scales to create a repeating pattern. The macro just helps with that. It feels like a step in the right direction, but I’m unsure where to go from here (part of that being burning out my brain getting the macro all set).

Multiscale (114.9 KB)