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Mapping DEM Data Part II

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In the first part of Mapping USGS DEM Data I created a 3D contour map and animated a route along the side of the mountain using mograph and After Effects. In this tutorial I’ll show you how to use the same DEM data to create a realistic mountain scene. The scene will use just a hand full of textures along with the terrain mask to give a great final look.


Using USGS GIS (Geographic Information Systems) data, I’ll convert DEM (Digital Elevation Model) data into 3D geometry in Cinema 4D for a landmark of your choice.  Once the model has been imported, it will be textured using a handful of textures. 

The textures will be masked according to the elevation and slope of the model using the terrain mask. Textures will also be enhanced using a free plugin from Tools4D to create a seamless layer of vegetation. Trees will be limited in elevation as well using the terrain mask as a shader for the cloned trees using Mograph.

Finally, the scene will be illuminated using a physical sky for a final product that renders relatively fast with a realistic result.  

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