Download texture files associated to this tutorial
All the textures you'll need for this tutorial are already in the Smode's standard pack :
You can find them there exactly :
(To add new images or files, see )
Create a new composition and a plane
Select your current project and create a new comp (
File>New Standalone Compo
. In the dialog box, check
Your composition will automatically been seen as "Untitled compo" and placed under "Unsaved Documents", use
to save your composition where you want.
Create a plane with
We are going to create a mountain so a size of 500 meters per 500 meters seems allright, Precision will determine the poly numbers of the plane. For our purpose, a 256*256 level of precision seems allright.
Now that your plane is a huge motherfucker, to see it as on the screenshot below, you'll have to move your camera :
Alt + Middle click
: Focuses camera on the currently selected object
Import the heightmap
Drag and Drop the file
from the file tree to the composition and then right click on it and select Shared Element
. This Image has been made on smode with the particles system, but we’ll see that in an other tutorial.
Now you can keep the shared image (circled in red) and delete it's reference (the crossed one), this will result of keeping an image you'll be able to use later in a lot of different places. If you want to see what your shared Image/compositio looks like you can click on the little green triangle on it's left or simple click on it and move it somewhere in the tree, doing that you'll create a new reference of this shared content.
Create a 3D transform modifier
Create a 3D Transform
modifier over the 3D Layer plane. To do that, select the Plane
and then select Modifiers>Distort>3D transform.
The 3D Transform
modifier will allow you to displace your plane geometry but slightly differently than a regular Displace
modifier, because unlike the latter, 3D Transform
is world referenced and has rotation, translate and scale parameters.
Configure the displace with the map
Now we are going to put a mask on the 3D Transform
modifier using image
To do that, just select the image from the element bank and
ctrl + drag and drop
it over the 3D Transform
modifier. Now that the mask is created you’ll see that the layer mask and it’s generator are named
. This means that this layer/generator is made with an instance of a Shared Element
Now select the 3D Transform
modifier and add a value wherever you want. I’ve added only a value of 200 into Y translation in this example.m
Your composition should now look like the image below:
Improve the displacement
Now you should notice that the displaced mesh is having some “stairs” that does not looks so nice. This happens because the image used as a displacement map is in 8bits per channels: with this precision, only 256 distincts levels of height can be encoded. Its possible to avoid this issue using a small blur. For that, select
shared element and:
Create a Blur modifier with right click
Configure the blur in
by modifying it's
like showed in the image below.
You have now a nice and shiny displaced mesh.
Bonus step: do what you want
You can add noises or whatever you want inside the displace map to shape the mountain as you want.
To do that select
and then press
to transform your simple layer into a composition (and don’t forget to put this composition in 16bits in it's advanced mode parameters to avoid stairing artefacts, to do so, uncheck "automatic" inside the parameters).
In the example here I added a 2D Layer Chiseled Noise layer
with the preset Caustics in Linear Dodge (add) Blending Mode
blending mode at 20% Opacity, and disactivated the Blur
. Note that you can create a Noise layer
with the caustic's preset directly from the menu by clicking on this icon next to it :
Nb: I will not use this step for the remainder of this tutorial.
Next: Procedural texturing of the mountain