Vue Tutorial: How to Create Custom Height Maps for Importing into Vue

In this tutorial you will learn how to create custom heightmaps in a 2D graphics program like Photoshop/gimp or paintshop, and import them into Vue. I will use Photoshop in this tutorial, but the same ideas apply to other programs.

End result:
How to Create Custom Height Maps for Importing into Vue  Final Image


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Practice tutorial


Step 1

The first thing we need to do is create a new document, for the purposes of this tutorial I have used photoshop, but the steps are the same in other 2D programs. So go ahead and click on File then New

when the dialogue box opens you want to create a file that is 1024x1024 pixels with a resolution of 72 pixels per Inch.

Step 2

click okay and this is what your new document should look like.

Step 3

Heightmaps in Vue work this way: Black is low terrain, and White is high terrain, so we want to start with zero height. Use the paint bucket tool and fill your new document with black.

Step 4

Create a new layer. This is the layer we will paint the terrain onto.

Step 5

Double click on the foreground colour picker and choose a medium grey. This will give us a nice base to work on top of.

Step 6

I chose a natural brush, this will give me craggy rocks and steeps sides. You can use whatever brush you see fit to.

Step 7

Increase the size of the brush to around 400 pixels, and start painting around the canvas in a rough canyon/valley shape.

Step 8

Now we increase the height by going to the foreground colour picker again and choosing a slightly lighter grey than the last one we used.

Step 9

Decrease the size of the brush, and start painting on top of the rough shape you've already made. the light grey means we are increasing the height of the canyon/valley.

Step 10

We go to the foreground colour picker again and choose a lighter grey again, this is to increase the height of the valley/canyon some more.

Step 11

This is what you should have, or something similar, depending on what brushes you have used.

Step 12

Now click on File-Save for web and devices we do this because we want to optimize memory usage when we load the map into Vue.

Step 13

Save your image as a Jpeg image file. I would recommend creating a folder especially for heightmaps, on your computer. This makes it easier to find if you ever want to use it again.

Step 14

Minimize Photoshop, and start Vue. Once Vue has started, create a standard heightfield terrain by clicking on the mountain icon under the large letter T.

Step 15

Once you have your terrain on screen, Right click on it then near the bottom of the pop-up menu click on Edit Object this will take you into the editing screen for terrains.

Step 16

This is the terrain editing screen, on the left click the Reset icon to reset the terrain, and leave you with a blank terrain to load your heightmap onto.

Step 17

Once your terrain is reset, then go to the bottom of the row of icons, and click on the one that says Picture this will take you to the screen that allows you to load your heightmap.

Step 18

under the right hand screen, you will see a button that says Load click on this and it will take to the image presets library.

Step 19

Clicking on the folder at the bottom will allow you to find your heightmap. Click on the folder and browse for the map you have just created.

Step 20

Once you've located your heightmap, click on it so it is highlighted, then click on the Open button.

Step 21

You will be taken back to the screen with the two black boxes, only now in the right hand one you will see your heightmap, and to the right a preview of how it will look. Underneath these screens is a slider with the word Blend above it, moving this slider to the left, will decrease the influence of your heightmap on the terrain, moving it to the right will increase the influence of your heightmap.

Step 22

When you're happy click OK and you will be taken back to the main terrain editor so you can either refine the terrain with brushes or simply accept the terrain as it is. If you're happy with how it looks click on the OK button and your heighmap will be applied to the terrain you created earlier. The terrain editor will close and you will see your new terrain in the four windows of Vue.

Step 23

This is the terrain I created as it appears with no materials in Vue

Step 24

This is the terrain I created with materials an ecosystem added. I played with the atmosphere and camera to get a look I liked. This image is to show you what Vue can do. The possibilities are endless with custom heightmaps. You can create roads, towns, fields. Anything you want.

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Guest says:


(5 years and 2053 days ago)
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Guest says:


(5 years and 2053 days ago)
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Guest says:

Im not sure you've grasped the concept of a bump map.
You should always add some type of blur, and never blow out the values in your 3d program.

Explanation of the process was good though.

(5 years and 2053 days ago)
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Guest says:

Awesome MAN! Gotta try this one next

(5 years and 1911 days ago)
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Guest says:

Thank you for showing us how to do this. This is one of the best tutorials I have seen.

(5 years and 1641 days ago)
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roberto [banned] says:

incrivel!! em poucos minutos eu consegui com este tutorial o que eu não consegui em dias com outros. muito simples..obrigado obrigado valeu!!

(5 years and 934 days ago)
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Guest says:

Which version of VUE do I need in order to do this?

(5 years and 918 days ago)

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