Help - Bryce not exporting 16 bit heightmap

edited March 2013 in Bryce Discussion

Hello,

Is there a way to make Bryce export 16bit grayscale?
When I try exporting a height map via 'export image' in the terrain editor it's an 8 bit rgb file rather than a 16bit grayscale png. ?
Could this be a bug?

thanks for any help.

edit: I'm using Bryce 7.1 pro

Also David Brinnen mentions in a thread over at the Grome forum that "Bryce will export

16bit greyscale png and tif"

Just not working for me though.

Post edited by kierantobin_a859c13ad1 on

Comments

  • Dave SavageDave Savage Posts: 1,942
    edited March 2013

    Yes, i think it's a bug.
    All of the 'Export Image' options from the terrain editor (in the Mac version at least) just crash Bryce (maybe it's different for the PC version?).

    There is a way to do it though and hopefully a mod will see this thread and move it to the Bryce forum where you'll no doubt get more alternative methods (we don't get out of the Bryce forum too often and David will no doubt be able to help you more).


    What to do:

    Make your document 1:1 (square).
    Create the terrain you want to export and land it on the infinite plane.
    Go to top view and zoom in so the edge of the square terrain meets the edge of your square document.
    Go to render options and choose "Altitude Mask".
    Click render.

    When your render is complete, it will effectively be a height map of the terrain.
    Then in the file menu, choose Export Image (not save image) and choose the 96 bit per pixel png option.
    This saves the file to open in Photoshop (or other photo editor) as a 16 bit RGB file which can then easily be converted to greyscale.

    Hope this helps.

    Post edited by Dave Savage on
  • ChoholeChohole Posts: 19,417
    edited December 1969

    TO hear is to obey. Moved to the Bryce Forum.

  • David BrinnenDavid Brinnen Posts: 2,837
    edited March 2013

    Hello,

    Is there a way to make Bryce export 16bit grayscale?
    When I try exporting a height map via 'export image' in the terrain editor it's an 8 bit rgb file rather than a 16bit grayscale png. ?
    Could this be a bug?

    thanks for any help.

    edit: I'm using Bryce 7.1 pro

    Also David Brinnen mentions in a thread over at the Grome forum that "Bryce will export

    16bit greyscale png and tif"

    Just not working for me though.

    Yes it is all a bit of a nightmare. It seems that when the moon is right, Bryce can and will export a 16 bit height-map - but getting it to do it consistently or when you want it to is nigh on impossible - believe me this issue has absorbed hours and hours of faffing around trying to make it work when I want it to.

    As Dave says, the exporter is bugged.

    Unfortunately distant masking or altitude masking, because it is material based via 8 bit RGB channels will only render to a resolution of 8 bit grey scale - so even if you export at a high bit resolution immediately after rendering, there will still be ugly steps in your heightmap.

    Copy and pasting the heightmap direct from the terrain editor doesn't work either - at least not with any applications I own anyway - the results are either 8 bit or corrupt.

    Your best bet, oddly enough, might be to export the terrain as a mesh (.obj). Thanks to a Bryce 7 bug fix you can export terrains as mesh objects at extra ordinarily high resolution. Of course these can have anything up to a 1 Gb memory footprint, but the results are very good indeed.

    Image3.jpg
    740 x 620 - 84K
    Image2.jpg
    550 x 747 - 225K
    Image1.jpg
    798 x 753 - 251K
    Post edited by David Brinnen on
  • Dave SavageDave Savage Posts: 1,942
    edited December 1969

    Unfortunately distant masking or altitude masking, because it is material based via 8 bit RGB channels will only render to a resolution of 8 bit grey scale - so even if you export at a high bit resolution immediately after rendering, there will still be ugly steps in your heightmap.

    So saving it out as HDR is of no use either?... OK, I admit it's not something I've ever had to do and was just guessing the altitude mask method would work.

    What about rendering an altitude mask at 4 times the size you'll use it? would that effectively make it 32 bit or am I talking (more) nonsense?

  • David BrinnenDavid Brinnen Posts: 2,837
    edited December 1969

    Unfortunately distant masking or altitude masking, because it is material based via 8 bit RGB channels will only render to a resolution of 8 bit grey scale - so even if you export at a high bit resolution immediately after rendering, there will still be ugly steps in your heightmap.

    So saving it out as HDR is of no use either?... OK, I admit it's not something I've ever had to do and was just guessing the altitude mask method would work.

    What about rendering an altitude mask at 4 times the size you'll use it? would that effectively make it 32 bit or am I talking (more) nonsense?

    Oh I hadn't considered rescaling in a paint package to effectively interpolate to 16 bits... good idea. But otherwise, what happens with masking modes is they appear to use material settings greyscale rather than floating point rendering (which would work as you describe) so if the information starts out at 8 bit in the render, no amount of exporting will generate you additional information. However your suggestion to render at 4 times the size, then save the image, load it into something that can handle 16 bit greyscale (some kind of gamma adjustment would probably be needed here) and then rescale it to smaller... that might work... but... we probably at that point would need to call upon the incandescently brilliant brain of the Dwsel to sort out the image rescaleing issues - because I'm almost certain there is some kind of dreadful colourspace issue that causes none linearity in the interpolation and so they heightmap would probably end up being weirdly sculpted?

  • Dave SavageDave Savage Posts: 1,942
    edited December 1969

    Another thought (It's dangerous when that happens)

    Map a terrain with an altitude sensitive material (whiter the higher it gets) and do a regular render with neutral lighting then export image?

    Exporting the terrain mesh is still best though. I suppose it would depend what the end use was going to be.

  • David BrinnenDavid Brinnen Posts: 2,837
    edited December 1969

    Another thought (It's dangerous when that happens)

    Map a terrain with an altitude sensitive material (whiter the higher it gets) and do a regular render with neutral lighting then export image?

    Exporting the terrain mesh is still best though. I suppose it would depend what the end use was going to be.

    I thought of this too... but the material is still just 8 bit and the natural lighting doesn't do anything to increase that. It lights it yes, but what it exposes is an 8 bit greyscale. I also tried using fog too... to create a gradient, that didn't work very well either. The exporter would be best. But failing that, export the mesh and process it elsewhere - if you can find something that will reverse the process from mesh to heightmap?

  • HoroHoro Posts: 4,274
    edited December 1969

    What about rendering an altitude mask at 4 times the size you'll use it? would that effectively make it 32 bit or am I talking (more) nonsense?

    I don't think that works. 8-bit is 256 grey scales, 16-bit 65,535. That's more then 4 times.

  • edited December 1969

    Ahh that's pretty bad news. I wonder if this bug will be fixed anytime soon or has this been around for a while.

    It did work a couple of times and I at first thought I'd found a work around, in that it only seemed to work when Bryce was first opened and the very first export....but my hopes were dashed when I realized it was random after a couple of attempts.

    ok thanks for the help guys, I'll give the work around a go but honestly having to take the obj into another program to render out the height map is not a quick process. Probably only to find I need to tweak in Bryce with a lot of back and forth. I use Maya for general 3d and it's dog slow at any kind of 'render to texture' process.

    ps. The height map is needed in the end for a terrain in UDK

  • David BrinnenDavid Brinnen Posts: 2,837
    edited December 1969

    Ahh that's pretty bad news. I wonder if this bug will be fixed anytime soon or has this been around for a while.

    It did work a couple of times and I at first thought I'd found a work around, in that it only seemed to work when Bryce was first opened and the very first export....but my hopes were dashed when I realized it was random after a couple of attempts.

    ok thanks for the help guys, I'll give the work around a go but honestly having to take the obj into another program to render out the height map is not a quick process. Probably only to find I need to tweak in Bryce with a lot of back and forth. I use Maya for general 3d and it's dog slow at any kind of 'render to texture' process.

    ps. The height map is needed in the end for a terrain in UDK

    So UDK wants a heightmap? Not a mesh? Google said "UDK.com - Unreal Engine" - this is what you are looking to output for? And it is looking for 16 bit greyscale heightmaps for import?

    The reason I ask is that, well, it's a matter of how many steps up for how many steps along... if you use lower resolution heightmaps, if you can get away with that? Then you will hit a sweet spot where the steps vanish because the steps along will be 1:1 with the steps up. In other words 256x256 will be optimum for 8 bit height map output - in theory.

    Oh and I think you are also supposed to be sending me some references images yes? Or have I got you confused with someone else? I get a few emails and questions and I'm not very organised, so confusion abounds.

  • edited December 1969

    Ahh that's pretty bad news. I wonder if this bug will be fixed anytime soon or has this been around for a while.

    It did work a couple of times and I at first thought I'd found a work around, in that it only seemed to work when Bryce was first opened and the very first export....but my hopes were dashed when I realized it was random after a couple of attempts.

    ok thanks for the help guys, I'll give the work around a go but honestly having to take the obj into another program to render out the height map is not a quick process. Probably only to find I need to tweak in Bryce with a lot of back and forth. I use Maya for general 3d and it's dog slow at any kind of 'render to texture' process.

    ps. The height map is needed in the end for a terrain in UDK

    So UDK wants a heightmap? Not a mesh? Google said "UDK.com - Unreal Engine" - this is what you are looking to output for? And it is looking for 16 bit greyscale heightmaps for import?

    The reason I ask is that, well, it's a matter of how many steps up for how many steps along... if you use lower resolution heightmaps, if you can get away with that? Then you will hit a sweet spot where the steps vanish because the steps along will be 1:1 with the steps up. In other words 256x256 will be optimum for 8 bit height map output - in theory.

    Oh and I think you are also supposed to be sending me some references images yes? Or have I got you confused with someone else? I get a few emails and questions and I'm not very organised, so confusion abounds.

    Nope that's not me. :)

    Yes udk needs a height map. It has a terrain/landscape system with it's own on the fly lodding and foliage system. It actually requires a raw file and reducing the size still shows pretty nasty stepping. I'm no expert on udk but I'm pretty sure the res of the map also determines the size and res of the terrains output mesh.

    I'll wait and see if this gets fixed - has it been like this for long?

  • Dave SavageDave Savage Posts: 1,942
    edited December 1969

    I'll wait and see if this gets fixed - has it been like this for long?

    I can't speak of how long it's been broken, but I can advise you to not hold your breath waiting for it to be fixed.
    Bryce isn't in development at the moment (or if it is, it's being kept a real secret).
    There is quite a list of things we have that want fixing and ultimately it'll be down to DAZ to prioritise them.

    Is there a reason you chose Bryce to generate your height maps?
    I only ask because there are other apps that will do the same thing, there are a few threads about using DEM data to generate 16 bit height maps.

  • edited December 1969


    Is there a reason you chose Bryce to generate your height maps?
    I only ask because there are other apps that will do the same thing, there are a few threads about using DEM data to generate 16 bit height maps.

    I've been working my way through a list of terrain software demos like WorldMachine, Grome, Terresculptor, (currently looking at GeoControl as well) and I had forgotten about Bryce (used it many moons ago), I saw a tutorial on Bryce terrains in the Cry Engine a couple of days ago and thought I'd give it a go and to my surprise it was only 20 bucks! I'm pretty impressed by it's ability to get a quick idea out for an island shape for example, quickly paint in a river system and being so cheap then I could probably buy world machine and add some extra erosion, get some flow line masks etc. I also liked its procedural textures which helps visualize shapes, angles and heights. WM has some very basic color macros but they're extremely limited.

    It's so fast too - for what I need anyway.

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