Riverland an efficient procedural modeling system for creating realistic looking terrains
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RiverLand: An Efficient Procedural Modeling System for Creating Realistic-Looking Terrains. Soon Tee Teoh Department of Computer Science San Jose State University, California, USA. Related Works. Early Work Based on Brownian Motion and Fractals Fast, but no global erosion

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Riverland an efficient procedural modeling system for creating realistic looking terrains

RiverLand:An Efficient Procedural ModelingSystem for Creating Realistic-Looking Terrains

Soon Tee Teoh

Department of Computer Science

San Jose State University,

California, USA

Related works
Related Works

  • Early Work

    • Based on Brownian Motion and Fractals

    • Fast, but no global erosion

    • Carpenter, L.: Computer rendering of fractal curves and surfaces. In: Proceedings of the 7th Annual Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques. (1980) 109

    • Mandelbrot, B.: The Fractal Geometry of Nature. W.H. Freeman and Co. (1982)

    • Fournier, A., Fussell, D., Carpenter, L.: Computer rendering of stochastic models. Communications of the ACM 25 (1982) 371-384

    • Miller, G.: The denition and rendering of terrain maps. In: Proceedings of the 13th Annual Conference of Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH 1986). (1986) 39-48

Related works1
Related Works

  • Simulation methods

    • Kelley, A., Malin, M., Nielson, G.: Terrain simulation using a model of stream erosion. Computer Graphics 22 (1988) 363-268

    • Musgrave, F., Kolb, C., Mace, R.: The synthesis and rendering of eroded fractal terrains. Computer Graphics 23 (1989) 41-50

    • Roudier, P., Perrin, B.: Landscapes synthesis achieved through erosion and deposition process simulation. Computer Graphics Forum 12 (1993) 375-383

    • Nagashima, K.: Computer generation of eroded valley and mountain terrains. The Visual Computer 13 (1997) 456-464

    • Chiba, N., Muraoka, K., Fujita, K.: An erosion model based on velocity elds for the visual simulation of mountain scenery. The Journal of Visualization and Computer Animation 9 (1998) 185-194

  • Tend to be more realistic, but slower

  • Limitation: Uniform-looking terrains due to uniform erosion method

Related works2
Related Works

  • Prusinkiewicz, P., Hammel, M.: A fractal model of mountains with rivers. In: Proceedings of Graphics Interface. (1993) 174-180

    • Fractal algorithm to generate a river, and corresponding mountains.

    • Weakness: produces rivers with asymmetric valleys and no tributaries.

  • Belhadj, F., Audiber, P.: Modeling landscapes with ridges and rivers. In: Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology (VRST 2005). (2005) 151-154

    • First generate ridge lines using Ridge Particles and then grow river networks by dropping River Particles on top of the ridges. A midpoint displacement method is then used to fill in the rest of the terrain.

    • In comparison, our system starts with only the river network, and is able to generate more varied terrains. We also allow users to optionally influence the terrain by specifying desired ridges and mountains.

Related works3
Related Works

  • New approach: Use actual real-world Digital Elevation Maps (DEM) as examples, to synthesize new terrain.

    • Brosz, J., Samavati, F., Sousa, M.: Terrain synthesis by-example. Advances in Computer Graphics and Computer Vision International Conferences VISAPP and GRAPP 2006, Revised Selected Papers 4 (2006) 58-77

      • Extract high-resolution details from existing terrain to add details to low-resolution terrain.

    • Zhou, H., Sun, J., Turk, G., Rehg, J.: Terrain synthesis from digital elevation models. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics 13 (2007) 834-848

      • Allow the user to sketch a path on an empty canvas, and provide sample terrain style DEM dataset, for example the DEM of the Grand Canyon. They then produce a terrain with a canyon traced around the sketch provided by the user.

  • Limitations:

    • Difficulty in producing realistic heterogeneous terrain, merging different terrain styles seamlessly.

    • Unable to generate novel terrain styles that are not identical to any existing style in their database.

    • Resulting terrain may not be physically realistic, since the river networks they produce are arbitrary, and not based on physical simulation.

Process overview
Process Overview

User paints a region and makes optional ridge lines

Program generates river network

Program generates terrain consistent with river network

Generating rivers
Generating Rivers

  • N random river mouths at least D distance apart

  • Go forward by SegmentLength+ r (where r is a random number)

  • Then veer left or right by small random angle

  • Meander river with MeanderCurvature

  • Different parameters lead to different characteristics

  • When river enters influence of user-defined ridges, go up the slope

River to ridges
River to Ridges

  • Assign height to each river point

    • Increase height by RiverSlope

    • RiverSlope increases upstream because downstream tends to be more gentle

  • Find medial axis from river points

    • Add all river and coast cells to list

    • For each cell C1 on list, for each adjacent cell C2, dC2 = dC1 + slope x hor_dist

    • Get minimum d for C2, and set DirToRiver pointer back to C1

  • Minimum Height: Height of River Cell it came from

  • Ideal Height: Minimum Height + slope x distance to river

    • Unless less than Minimum Height

    • Smooth Ideal Height

User requested ridges random roughness process
User-requested Ridges:Random Roughness Process

User-requested ridge

Automatic random roughness added

Merged with the rest of the terrain


  • Fast: 256 x 256 height-map in 0.2 seconds on 2GHz machine with 2GB RAM

  • User influence

    • By choosing different parameters e.g. slope, river density

    • User-defined ridges

  • Produces ridges, globally consistent river network

  • Produces varied landscapes