I love heightmaps!
Using heightmaps to build terrains was probably what I enjoyed most about Carrara. There are several great programs out there that can be used to create heightmaps. Of course, Photoshop leaps to mind. But for really awesome terrain, you want a specialized program.
I started with Leveller. It’s pretty good but I found it a bit clunky at time. The license key is tied to the computer name so that really put a cramp in my use. Terragen is quite cool but also quite expensive. And the Vue family of products is stupefyingly expensive.
I have found World Machine Standard Edition to be the sweet spot that I was looking for!
There is no secret – I am an unabashed whore when it comes to tutorials. Especially video-based tutorials. I have bought a wide-array of tutorials for my 3D hobby. I’ll probably review them all here one day. For World Machine, I started out with Liberty 3D’s World Machine Foundations.
I have bought quite a lot from Liberty 3D. They do produce some really great training. I loved this tutorial but it was too short and it just barely scratched the surface of World Machine’s power. This is a really good start for a reasonable price.
I have just added the Geek At Play Discovering World Machine series to my collection. This is very thorough. My only complaint is that Vladimir Chopine has a very thick eastern European accent. It is sometimes difficult to follow him. But I have definitely learned a great deal from this series.
Soon I will show-off some landscapes rendered in LightWave.