Resolution Queries

I’m trying out the demo version of World Machine and I’m trying to see if the resolution and Render Extents will work for me with large terrains. I have tried other software and it seems to fall in a heap so I want to be sure before spending money.

Say I have a large terrain at 50km square. What I want to be able to do is the following

  1. View the whole terrain in the 3D view at a low resolution under 2k to check it all generally looks good
  2. Work on building devices while viewing only a portion of the 50km terrain at say 4K in the 3D view
  3. Build the final output in tiles of say 1km at 8k or 16k resolution

I’ve seen the render extents and they appear to do that. Is that their exact purpose?

I would also like to see the terrain while messing with devices at a higher resolution. In Preferences I have adjusted the “3D View Interactive Resolution” in the Graphice Options. I know the demo version restricts resolutions but does it limit this resolution too as I have set it to 2K and 4K and nothing seems to happen. Does this setting in a licenced version change what resolution is in the 3D view when adjusting parameters in devices BEFORE you do a build?


  1. You can first build your world by manually setting it to a lower res, then changing it to a higher resoltuion for your final output.
  2. For pre-LTE, background building is not possible and you need to wait while the world is building, but viewing only a portion of the world is indeed what the render extents are for.
  3. You can achieve this by setting up a tiled output but some nodes such as displacement or water have lots of artifcating due to that each tile is processed individually, and any node that requires the entire world’s data artifacts.

The Basic edition of World Machine does indeed restrict builds to a resolution of 513x513, but “3D View Interactive Resolution” restricts how detailed the map is in in 3D View, but not the actual build resolution. This setting is intended for a machine that does not perform well rendering large 3D objects. (Changing any settings in preferences does not affect if the world is built or not, as it doesn’t directly touch how nodes work.)

As for your last question, before building nodes, it shows a low-resolution view in the 3D view because it is not built in the specified full resolution. I don’t really get what you’re asking here because the thing that bottlenecks the 3D view is the build resolution itself, and 4K or 2K obviously surpasses that, so it will display 513x513 or lower resolution depending on the state of your world.

Please elaborate on any questions and I will be happy to answer :smiley:

The setting below is having no effect above 512 on what I see in the 3D view. I just wanted to see if this is a demo restriction as obviously I can tell unless I buy.


That is a demo restriction. As @Delta_Research said, the 3D view will only show what is rendered. If you render your world at 512x512 resolution, you will see a 512x512 terrain in the 3D view. The 3D View Interactive Resolution parameter only sets an upper bound, of the 3D View’s resolution. So, if you were to build a terrain at 8192x8192 resolution, you’d still only see a 4096x4096 resolution terrain in your 3D View, because of this upper bound.
You can, however, view your terrain at its true resolution, that is 8K in this case, by using the Full-detail Snapshot function in the 3D View (see image 1). As its name suggests, it gives you a preview of what your terrain looks like in its original resolution. The pitfall however, as soon as you move or rotate the camera, the 3D View will return to displaying your terrain in the interactive resolution.
Image 1

tl:dr; The basic version only allows you to view your terrain at a 512x512 resolution max, whereas in other versions the interactive 3D View is bound to a 4096x4096 resolution, with a preview function allowing you to view your terrain at its true resolution, for example, 8192x8192.

Regarding your idea to do tiles at 8K or even 16K resolution, it is important to remember that World Machine is for creating the landscape, and is not well suited for creating subtle detail. I do not know what the application is going to be, but I highly recommend against using such an absurd high resolution, as it will most like not live up to your expectations, eat up all your resources and cost an awful lot of time.

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Thanks for the reply. That makes perfect sense now. I didn’t realize the build resolution was linked to the 3D View resolution but it clears up what I was seeing.

How would you deal with being able to texture a terrain so that it looks good close up?

For example by using splatmaps/masks. The terrain texture is something you do in the 3rd party application, allowing you to tile it or use a collection of textures, but the placement of those textures is determined by World Machine and you store that information with a splatmap or a mask. Does this clarify?

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