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Support for unlicensed users => Post here if you can't find your License Key => Topic started by: BMcIsaac on February 19, 2012, 07:27:39 pm

Title: height maps
Post by: BMcIsaac on February 19, 2012, 07:27:39 pm
I encourage you to get a copy of the nvidia tools from their site and play with height maps in Lumion....er...maybe not if you are like me and play when I should be drawing lines.

My question is when working with 256 shades of gray it is hard while painting to differentiat the subtle differences and on a 2048X2048 mat you are close to the action anyway cause one pixel is approx a meter. I know that layers are best but I end up flattening too often to merge layers and colors. So far I find it best to start with black 0.0.0 and work my way up the contour with paint...but I have to really work hard to see the color differences. The magic wand works set at a tollerance of 1 pixel but still it is tedious.

Can somebody share their experience?
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: Gaieus on February 19, 2012, 07:33:16 pm
What I did once when playing around with height maps in Lumion was that I modelled my terrain in SketchUp, painted it with a gradient materials projected from the side, went to parallel projection top view and simply exported the image which I used in Lumion afterwards.

An 1024x1024 pixel image (to my best knowledge) will be imported as a 2048m x 2048m area in Lumion. Also, black is 0 metre and white is 200 metre heigh so you need to follow this rule in SketchUp (i.e. you must remain between these heights).

My terrain came in "stepped" too however because of the pixellation of the height map. Certainly we should have a better way...
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: BMcIsaac on February 19, 2012, 07:56:21 pm
Hi Gai...funny you should mention SU as a solution...I had the same thing in mind but your  idea of the projection is pretty ingenious....That would get you a good start at it but as you say there is a lot of smoothing required and always color adjustments to get it layed out in the right shape...that's when my eyes start to give in.
Thanks for your help I'll try that next and see how it comes along...cheers!!
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: peterm on February 19, 2012, 10:36:18 pm
Don't forget about the tips (http://lumion3d.com/forum/index.php?topic=638.0) about terrains and ability to adjust height in Lumion via Photoshop 32bit image.
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: BMcIsaac on February 19, 2012, 11:30:54 pm
Thats how the above image was made...32...dds, setting 32f. What I am after is ideas for making the PS image easier to see.....cheers!
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: Morten on February 20, 2012, 04:26:21 pm
Just double-checking but have you already reduced the Exposure/Gamma in:

Photoshop -> View -> 32-bit Preview Options

As you already know, this format is for HDR photography, and was never intended to be used for manual work on terrains, so ideally you'd want to convert an existing heightmap to a 32f DDS texture.
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: BMcIsaac on February 21, 2012, 03:30:36 am
Yes I am using the 32f  dds....I have been ajusting the exposure but not with the 32 bit preview. Thanks Morten!
I'm using dem files and microdem, converting them to gray scale height maps. It works but it is not very granular.  I'm not sure there is enough image data coming from GE or if there is I don't know how to get at it yet.
So I have been experimenting with painting which actually works well but it is difficult. To do a detail job I need 40-80 layers in PS because of the terrain in my area..it is good fun but to much time is involved. I need to find more detailed dems or point clouds or HM for my area. I have just started to look.

The only thing that concerns me about this experiment is the lack of control I will have with the terrain after for roads, curbs gardens etc.  If only I could lay an image over your terrain once it is sculpted. ..once again thanks!
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: Morten on February 21, 2012, 11:47:20 am
Yes, the editing options for the native terrain in Lumion are currently somewhat limited and haven't really changed since Lumion 1 was released. I hope that the developers will find the time to overhaul this functionality in the not too distant future.

I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like to have to edit a 32-bit heightmap using Photoshop's HDR magnitudes of white.

It would be so much easier if an imported terrain mesh would "behave" just like the native Lumion terrain, ie, collision snap when moving/ALT-copying multiple objects etc.
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: Gaieus on February 21, 2012, 12:57:15 pm
...I hope that the developers will find the time to overhaul this functionality in the not too distant future...

...It would be so much easier if an imported terrain mesh would "behave" just like the native Lumion terrain, ie, collision snap when moving/ALT-copying multiple objects etc.

...and painting on...

I promise once this is achieved, I will not post any annoying feature requests again.
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: Architectural Innovation on February 21, 2012, 04:05:44 pm
Amen, Brother Gaieus! Preach on!!

 :-D


...and painting on...

I promise once this is achieved, I will not post any annoying feature requests again.
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: Littlemeister on February 22, 2012, 03:06:43 pm
If you read on ARchitecture and the steps of going from an idea to living in it, then one of the first steps is to Know your terrain where your gonna build. The terrain is almost everytime a very important factor to consider. Some architecture is on mountens, some on rocky ground, some between sea and ground, some in the sea, under the sea, in the mountens, under the mountens, on hills, on rivers, under rivers... And so on. Very important, and should be easy, fast and powerful tool to use.
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: Morten on February 22, 2012, 03:10:36 pm
(ADMIN: Moved modelhead's suggestion to the Wish List section)
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: peterm on February 22, 2012, 11:42:01 pm
I'm using dem files and microdem,

What's your source for DEM's?  Thanks.
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: BMcIsaac on February 23, 2012, 12:27:30 am
I learned how to do it with GE. You can get DEM data from GE if you have the GE plug-in that I have circled in the image. Then you use microdem to convert it to a height map.
I would like more detail I think although I haven't quite got the hang of the decemating settings in microdem...it is very powerful it seems in the right hands. I think I could improve what I have with more experiment.
But still it is a good question cause I would like to get local DEMs but haven't had a moment to start looking around....I imagine my architects could provide the point clouds or dems and even the local municipal office may have them.
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: amores on February 23, 2012, 12:54:36 am
Tutorial to extract heightmaps from Google Earth in GEM

1/ Install MicroDem program on your PC.
 
2/ Open Google Earth program and double click the Google Earth plugin file SRTM41.kmz http://www.google.pt/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=srtm4.1&source=web&cd=1&sqi=2&ved=0CCoQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ambiotek.com%2Ftopoview&ei=DYFFT4aGGJOz0QWQr_SWBA&usg=AFQjCNGEHpKF8UOLlI6d7hhLDHhN9OEodQ (http://www.google.pt/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=srtm4.1&source=web&cd=1&sqi=2&ved=0CCoQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ambiotek.com%2Ftopoview&ei=DYFFT4aGGJOz0QWQr_SWBA&usg=AFQjCNGEHpKF8UOLlI6d7hhLDHhN9OEodQ) (A new line “SRTM4.1” appear in the left menu of Google Earth). Double clic on it: You see the earth divided into sectors with numbers.
 
3/This sector is too big to be imported, so you have to zoom on a lightest sector:
On the left of STRM 4.1, you will see a triangular icon. click on it and you will see a folder "elevation". click again on the 2nd triangular icon: you see all the sector of the planete earth.
Double click the link "data for STRM 36_03": A windows appear (wait 4/5 seconds)
 
4/ you can read: “Preview the tile in GE: srtm_36_03 : Click here to visualise terrain and access 1 degree tiles" : Clic on it, and you will see the initial sector now divided in 5x5 sectors, and the initial satellite view of Google Earth appear now in color with the elevation. Each new sector have a code. In my case, i want the heightmap of the sector STRM 36_03_5_5 that correspond to the village of Brettevillette.
 
5/A new line "elevation preview" appear in the left menu of Google Earth with a new triangular icon. click on it and you will see 2 folders: "Global legend" and "Local legend".
 
6/Now click the triangular icon of "global legend", and click the triangular icon of "Data"
 
7/Double click on the link "Data for: srtm_36_03_5_5": A windows appear, and then you have to choices to download the data: FTP or HTTP. Clic on HTTP to download the file. (take a long time to download it)
 Now you have finished with Google Earth.
 
8/ The file is zipped: STRM_36_03_5_5.zip: Unzip it to have a file like that: STRM_36_03_5_5.asc
 
9/ Open MicroDEM program:
- Go to menu “File”, then “Open” and then “Open DEM” and clic your ASC file.A colored map of the sector appears but it’s too big to use it in GEM.
 - Zoom on the map with the 6th menu (windows zoom) on the land you want to catch.Then you have a new zoomed colored map.
 - Right clic on the map: “Display parameters”, then “Elevation” and choose the gray scale option.
 - Right clic on the gray map: Copy to clipboard.
 Now you have finished with MicroDem.
 
10/ Open Photoshop (or any program like Gimp etc.) :
 - Create a new file, and copy paste the gray map. Crop the image to delete the 2 scale menus.
 - Save it as TGA file.
 
11/ copy this file in the folder: “your Assault Squad folder”\resource\map\multi
 
12/ Open GEM Editor: Create a map (F2 Menu)
- Menu Heights => Import Heightmap => Map/Multi and you will see your TGA file ine the list. Clic on it and you have automatic the heightmap.
 
Note that the Gem Editor don’t accept to high TGA files and if you map is too big, you may have problems.
 
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: peterm on February 23, 2012, 01:46:47 am
Interesting, thanks for all info above.

I used GE couple of times few years back and captured images from portions of the map out to graphics, stiched them, then converted to greyscale, then brought greyscale into modelling tool, so must have a good look at this micordem.

I think Max can read DEM but haven't taken time to see how well.

USG site used to have DEM but have not visited in ages and problem was no easy tools to get that base data (corrected, valid corrected data used to be a real problem otherwise there were holes and messed up meshes resulting) into things and its resolution was still in the km which is only useful for expansive areas, presume in more detail these days.
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: BMcIsaac on February 23, 2012, 02:01:15 am
Quote
corrected, valid corrected data used to be a real problem otherwise there were holes and messed up meshes resulting)

I noticed in microdem, at least with the google earth data, there was a seperate layer used to fill in all the holes. You could have a look at it to see where it was applied. I have no idea if the corrections had an effect on the final mesh. But I guess this is a way to help you identify areas with weak data.

The data I want would be for only 1000x1000 meters but I would like it to be very detailed. Although I haven't tried yet I believe that you can convert cloud point to imagemaps with Microdem...thats what I'm after. 
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: Morten on February 23, 2012, 12:16:05 pm
Last time I checked, the problem with Google Earth is that it uses a dynamic level-of-detail for the terrain, so the terrain will appear at the maximum level of detail when the camera is close.

In other words, if you try to grab the GE terrain mesh in top view, the level-of-detail just isn't that great.

Or is there a way to ensure that the captured geometry is saved at the maximum level-of-detail now?
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: Gaieus on February 23, 2012, 12:34:47 pm
Unfortunately no (at least in SketchUp). You need to zoom in and if you want a bigger area, keep panning and adding more chunks which you need to stitch together at the end. A painstaking and boring and inaccurate method. There are plugins to help with stitching but you cannot spare all the manual work.
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: Morten on February 23, 2012, 12:48:06 pm
Hmm, that's unfortunate but I guess it's a way to protect Google's IP.
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: Gaieus on February 23, 2012, 01:06:22 pm
Interestingly, Vue can import GE terrain and as far as I can remember, the way it does is that you define the area you want to work with, it brings it in as detailed as available in GE and the adds a certain area around for background.
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: Morten on February 23, 2012, 01:16:22 pm
Are you sure that the imported GE mesh is always the highest available level of detail?

That would be pretty awesome (although the GE license terms & conditions probably prohibit use of the mesh for commercial purposes?).
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: Gaieus on February 23, 2012, 01:25:26 pm
I am not sure at all - I only read this somewhere.

The license does not prohibit the use of the mesh and imagery (after all, that's what we do in SketchUp, too), only requires that we leave the attribution there (like Google logo and such).

Surely if I want to apply a terrain material to my mesh, it will delete the Google logo however. Maybe some other way of attribution can also be provided. Here are the guide lines and the "permission wizard":
http://www.google.com/permissions/geoguidelines.html (http://www.google.com/permissions/geoguidelines.html)
Title: Re: height maps
Post by: Morten on February 23, 2012, 04:52:34 pm
Thanks for clearing that up, Gaieus - I was not aware of this.