Bryce Roads

RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,121
edited September 2015 in Bryce Discussion

Some years back I wrote a small program to add roads to terrain maps. At the time, Bryce was my main 3D program, so most of the testing was done using Bryce. Although it worked, I was never happy with the quality of the road textures because of pixelation. The cut and fill areas also shared the same texture as the main terrain, which is OK in some circumstances but not others. This image shows the quality problem.  

Over the past few months I started to work on an updated version that uses the terrain map to create a road, but outputs all as an .obj mesh. By doing that, I can use UV mapping for the road texture and create separate material zones for the roadbed, curbs, shoulder, cut, fill and main terrain to allow a greater variety of textures and better quality.  Becuase it is a mesh, it also allows steeper roads to be made without the staircasing you get with a terrain map. This image shows the progress.

There's still lots to do to fine tune how the textures work and how to modify the mesh edges so it's more natural rather than so neatly engineered. I only work on this off and on so I have no idea when it will be finished. I'll use this thread to post updates. (I'm also testing in Daz Studio and Carrara but am most familiar with Bryce for landscapes.)

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Post edited by RGcincy on


  • mermaid010mermaid010 Posts: 2,312

    Wow this is so cool, especially since I'm working on David's tutorial How to add Roads to a terrain.

    I look forward to your updates.yes

  • OMG I would not drive a car on those roads.

    i think what you do is pretty cool but given real world road gradients and physics some of those climbs would be impossible.

  • HoroHoro Posts: 6,339
    edited September 2015

    RGcincy - extremely interesting work you're doing. Adding roads to a terrain is very tricky. If it is part of the terrain, you get the problem with the material. If you create them separate, you have the material issue mostly out of the way but run into problems how the road follows the terrain contour.

    Below, the first one I made by drawing the road into the TE and fiddle with the material. The second is based on a terrain made in an external program where I could draw the road as a vector and define how the  road follows the terrain and when it cuts into it. The process is mostly hit and miss and you're back at the material problem. So I'm watching this space.

    Road 1

    Road 2

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    Post edited by Horo on
  • Your roads cut into the terrain as most do Horo, forming an embankment.

    i think any automated process is going to have its limitations,

    I am a Carrara user as you know but we both use the same greyscale height map system for our terrains so a common topic, I have looked at BJcincy's program.


  • HoroHoro Posts: 6,339

    JaguarElla - I fully agree. Real roads are on the surface, cut into the surface, are bridged over chasms, disappear in tunnels. Roads are a real challenge.


  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,121

    At this point I'm not entirely sure I can work out all the issues but keep trying. That's why I focus on the ones that might  make or break the approach. For example, roads have crowns to allow water to drain to the side. My current version makes a totally flat road, but crowning will be easy to add as it uses the same coding that already creates the roadbed, shoulders and cut and fill. Same for drainage ditches, gutters, and better curbs. Roads also bank on curves and right now mine don't, but I expect that is relatively easy to add based on the geometry the program already knows. Right now cut and fills have the same slope; in real life, that varies by rock type (hard rock have more vertical cuts while shale requires a very gradual cut). That too should be easy to add. The fill textures need some work. The program determines if the slope has changed enough to change textures. Right now on one side of the road the texture ends too late (so the terrain has cut texture) while on the other side part of the cut has a blocky terrain texture. I have some ideas on how to correct but need to test them. The biggest issue I'm working on is terrain and road fit, I've made a lot of progress but still get artifacts (like terrain poking through the roadbed or cut and fill areas). We'll see what happens.

  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,121
    edited September 2015

    Here's a flatter road. Much more cut and fill gets added. It took 22 seconds to load the terrain map, add a road with 6 dots, then generate the mesh. Takes about 5 minutes to import the mesh into Bryce and add the textures. 

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    Post edited by RGcincy on
  • HansmarHansmar Posts: 1,423

    Wow, this looks very promising. As indicated by Horo, roads are certainly difficult. But your process looks to be very good, when finished!

  • launoklaunok Posts: 719

    Thank you for all the models and the whole ShapeMagic package!

    The only object that is leading to a 'not found' page is the Hot tub model to be used to follow the tutorial.

  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,121
    launok said:

    Thank you for all the models and the whole ShapeMagic package!

    The only object that is leading to a 'not found' page is the Hot tub model to be used to follow the tutorial.

    Sorry for slow response, I wasn't getting notifications for this thread.

    Glad you can make use of Shape Magic! And thanks for letting me know about the broken link. Looks like I forgot to upload the zip to the server but it's now fixed.

  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,121
    edited September 2018

    After a 3 year hiatus, I decided to take a fresh look at my road generating program. The biggest problem I faced before was getting the road terrain to smoothly mesh with the underlying terrain. After testing a bunch of mathematical approaches this week, I made substantial progress. There are still some areas with gaps but they are far fewer than before. I also corrected a UV mismatch between the two which made for misaligned textures. These test scenes were done in Daz Studio, but since it's an .obj mesh, it imports fine into Bryce as I've shown in prior postings. There's still several roadbed issues to be tracked down and resolved but my biggest stumbling block was the terrain matchup.

    Roadmaker test 09-09-2018 a.png
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    Roadmaker test 09-09-2018 b.png
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    Post edited by RGcincy on
  • Very interesting. I knew Shape Magic but missed the roadmaker.

  • c-ramc-ram Posts: 371
    I applause your effort in making this program. Bravo! This is a nice project to improve roads on terrains with Bryce.
  • mindsongmindsong Posts: 1,022

    has it really been that long? sigh - time is just flying - felt like that thread was active just last month... wow.

    but, for your updates, bravo again!

    This is a serious win! 


  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,121
    mindsong said:

    has it really been that long? sigh - time is just flying - felt like that thread was active just last month... wow.

    I know, I'm having to spend time digging through the code to remember what all I did (I'm not the best at documenting all the logic). I'm next looking at adding a new feature, banking the road on the curves. Conceptually simple but a change that affects most all the equations. 

  • JamahoneyJamahoney Posts: 1,650
    edited September 2018

    Very cool, Rich...if it is of any consolation, work so is proving excellent (or should that be, looks on track devil - sorry, horrible pun, isn't meant as condescending).

    Continue, as they say.


    Post edited by Jamahoney on
  • I have found this a very useful little app on occasions and any improvements would be welcomed 

    one that would be cool is steps and landings for all those fantasy terrains with rock cut stairs

  • HoroHoro Posts: 6,339

    RGcincy - you made progress, do keep it up.

  • HansmarHansmar Posts: 1,423

    Great work, RGcincy!

  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,121

    thanks all, hopefully no major problems pop up but you never know

  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,121
    edited September 2018

    system hiccup - double post

    Post edited by RGcincy on
  • actually using it today I encountered two big issues making it difficult if not impossible to use

    I shall try a workaround with gimp and layers and smaller images

    but firstly it may be my 3 monitor set up but the windows are very difficult to size and place be it tiled or casscaded and no zoom option

    and it saves with a huge white area to the right I need to crop

    secondly my map of choice is too big

    it simply will not display more than the top quarter

    I made a smaller 1Kx!K pixel version and that I will try to transfer the road over to the big one in GIMP using layers and the erase brush

    don't take this as criticism I have successfully used it before just my current set up and choice of image is causing issues and maybe something to look at in your update a paid update especially

    am on Win7 64bit

  • RGcincyRGcincy Posts: 2,121
    th3Digit said:

    and it saves with a huge white area to the right I need to crop

    secondly my map of choice is too big  it simply will not display more than the top quarter

    It's been 11 years since I looked at the base code but I think the authoring system limited the size of a window to the screen resolution (which may be why you get the white area as it would cut off the map). The program may also be limited to addressing only 2GB of RAM memory, which means a large map (which gets duplicated multiple times for the different texture maps) may just run out of memory..

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