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Question on creating roads in Natural Scene Designer

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I have been working on a 3D animation project using Natural Scene Designer Pro, and have been trying to create better looking roads -- similar to those in the attached image. Does anyone have a technique that can accomplish this? I've tried modifying the DEM in Photoshop so that there is a smooth surface where the road would be placed, but I still can't get a similar result. My other thought was that different software was used, like Vue or Cinema4D.




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Tom Patterson

Tom Patterson

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Hi Aaron,


The road looks smooth and is gently recessed into the terrain due entirely to Photoshop work that I did on the static image. My approach of course does you no good for creating an animation. Regardless of which software you use for animation, you will still need to modify the DEM to create smooth roads, building pads, bridge abutments, and other human modifications to the landscape—unless you can find a high-resolution lidar DEM with that information already embedded.


This article that I wrote a million years ago has a bit on "elevation flattening" may help out.





David Medeiros

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I think what you need to look into is "elevation burning" in a GIS to add a road pattern onto the DEM itself. You essentially take the road pattern you want as a vector and convert it to a raster with a single pixel value of say 3 (for 3 meters). Then burn this into the elevation raster by subtracting it from the DEM. For a generalized DEM this should approximate a recessed road bed, but will probably still need to be cleaned up.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.


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