Last modified on 3 March 2011, at 19:32

Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/Mountains Out Of Molehills 2

This tutorial shows you how to use displacement mapping to make a simple environment.

  1. Make a grid. (Add/Mesh/Grid) 32x32 will do just fine. Be sure to create a Grid instead of a Plane, or you'll end up with just a flat plane! This is because a Plane only has four vertices to manipulate - one for each corner - while a Grid has many, many more. A 32x32 Grid, for example, would have over 1000 vertices. The more vertices there are to manipulate, the more effect displacement mapping will have on the finished product.
  2. Set it smooth. (Editing/Link and Materials/Set Smooth)
  3. Make a new material for it. (Shading/Material/Add New)
  4. Make a new texture for the material. (Shading/Texture/Add New)
  5. Go to Shading/Texture Buttons. You can see your newly created texture there now.
  6. Change Texture Type to Clouds.
  7. Change the name of the texture to be more descriptive. For example GroundDisp or something similar.
  8. Go back to Shading/Material buttons. You can see our cloud texture applied now, but it's not applied correctly yet. Let's fix this next.
  9. Go to Shading/Map To. This defines how the selected texture is mapped on our material. Uncheck Col, check Disp on, and set the Disp slider to a value like 0.200
  10. Set camera and a few lights to the scene. (This is already done as part of the default scene in recent versions of Blender, such as 2.49)
  11. Render.
Several individuals, when working through this tutorial, had trouble getting anything more than a flat plane. A few solutions were proposed (most are still visible on the Talk page), and while each worked in its own way, the vast majority of the time the problem stemmed from creating a Plane instead of a Grid. Be sure to follow each step very carefully to ensure you don't miss anything or do a step incorrectly.

Ground1.jpg

You can tweak the environment easily by changing Nor value in the Shading/Map To. This defines how strongly the displacement texture affects the material.

You could also add subsurfing to the ground area to get smoother results. Also feel free to tweak the texture and try out different alternatives.

Once your mountain looks good, try adding some Mist.

  1. Select the "Mist" button on the "Mist/Stars/Physics" Tab among the World buttons
  2. Add a Cloud Texture to the World and make it blend from white to gray

The end result is something like this:

Blender Hill.jpg