Library - type heightfield: not working (bug or nonsense, or both?)

Started by bugs.and.other.beasts, November 27, 2018, 04:55:06 pm

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bugs.and.other.beasts

One of the types in the library is the heightfield, another type is image. Here is a screenprint.
https://prnt.sc/lnsrfc

We all know a heightfield is an image, a grey scale image.
The online documentation states: "When assets are added to the library they're automatically assigned one of these types. The type cannot be changed."
The terragen team therefore say that I, the user, have no say during and after import on what is a heightfield and what is not.

The question is how does Terragen know what is the difference between a heightfield image and another image?!
I gave Terragen a folder to scan, ticked only heightfield, the folder had only heightfields and it couldn't add one!

Has the heightfield type in the library ever worked in the lifetime of terragen? What is the secret behind "automatic" for a software that can't tell the difference between a heightfield and a non heightfield? is it file extension? a heightfield can have the same file extension of any other image (tiff, png...) and what is the wiseness in "The type cannot be changed"?

Has terragen team ever made this type work? Are terragen team members able to import anything whatsoever as type heightfield? or is it just one of those time waster bugs?

WAS

Quote from: bugs.and.other.beasts on November 27, 2018, 04:55:06 pm
One of the types in the library is the heightfield, another type is image. Here is a screenprint.
https://prnt.sc/lnsrfc

We all know a heightfield is an image, a grey scale image.
The online documentation states: "When assets are added to the library they're automatically assigned one of these types. The type cannot be changed."
The terragen team therefore say that I, the user, have no say during and after import on what is a heightfield and what is not.

The question is how does Terragen know what is the difference between a heightfield image and another image?!
I gave Terragen a folder to scan, ticked only heightfield, the folder had only heightfields and it couldn't add one!

Has the heightfield type in the library ever worked in the lifetime of terragen? What is the secret behind "automatic" for a software that can't tell the difference between a heightfield and a non heightfield? is it file extension? a heightfield can have the same file extension of any other image (tiff, png...) and what is the wiseness in "The type cannot be changed"?

Has terragen team ever made this type work? Are terragen team members able to import anything whatsoever as type heightfield? or is it just one of those time waster bugs?


Heightfields are assigned because they are loaded as a heightfield via Heightfield Load (https://planetside.co.uk/wiki/index.php?title=Heightfield_Load). As apposed to images with Image Map Shader.

Heightfields are actually encoded specifically for use as a Heightfield and shouldn't be considered a image in the development sense within programs. For example, Terragen is more geared towards .TER and GeoTIFFS. Technically speaking the data for height is saved on a per-pixel bases. Terragen's proprietary format stores 16-bit elevation values and gridspacing if need be.
Check out my Terragen Discord: https://discord.gg/Vy5FRTE

Oshyan

Technically you're correct, but there is no way (that I'm aware of) to automatically differentiate between regular images and heightfields except by file format or meta data. TER is a terrain-only file format. IMG is also terrain-oriented, generally speaking. So those are the kinds of formats Terragen will load as heightfields, because they do not fit in any other category and do have terrain-specific formats or attributes.

Fortunately there are other ways to categorize your files, and while it's not automatic, you can at least change the heightfield images you're dealing with to use the Terrain category. While that may not address all of your need, hopefully it helps.

- Oshyan

bugs.and.other.beasts

November 28, 2018, 04:07:06 am #3 Last Edit: November 28, 2018, 04:10:17 am by bugs.and.other.beasts
If I understand your answer, NASA Satellite DEMs are not heightfields! Terragen has decided so. And I'm supposed to believe that. Nasa, like the real Nasa, provides tif format.

"Terrain category" is at best useless, kind of another time waster, how? Go ahead import some heightfield images (tif...) to the library, and add them to the category terrain in the metadata tab. Done? ok, ready for the useless part? go to terrain tab in the main Terragen interface, click on Add Terrain, select from library. You get nothing, absolutely nothing, because "Add Terrain" "From Library" goes straight to Type heightfield, not to the category terrain.

So to import a heightfield, a proper NASA heightfield tif file (DEM), I still need to completely ignore the library and create my own library folder on the disc, because the library of Terragen is, for Terrains, utterly useless and the documentation says Terragen software decides on my behalf.

If Terragen software doesn't have a clue what NASA Satellite DEMs are, the user should be given the choice to classify imported images as TYPE heightfield.

WAS

Quote from: bugs.and.other.beasts on November 28, 2018, 04:07:06 am
If I understand your answer, NASA Satellite DEMs are not heightfields! Terragen has decided so. And I'm supposed to believe that. Nasa, like the real Nasa, provides tif format.

"Terrain category" is at best useless, kind of another time waster, how? Go ahead import some heightfield images (tif...) to the library, and add them to the category terrain in the metadata tab. Done? ok, ready for the useless part? go to terrain tab in the main Terragen interface, click on Add Terrain, select from library. You get nothing, absolutely nothing, because "Add Terrain" "From Library" goes straight to Type heightfield, not to the category terrain.

So to import a heightfield, a proper NASA heightfield tif file (DEM), I still need to completely ignore the library and create my own library folder on the disc, because the library of Terragen is, for Terrains, utterly useless and the documentation says Terragen software decides on my behalf.

If Terragen software doesn't have a clue what NASA Satellite DEMs are, the user should be given the choice to classify imported images as TYPE heightfield.


A Tiff is not a DEM. It's a GeoTIFF, if correctly encoded. A DEM is a (*.DEM), which is a geospacial raster format... thus a image... It stores extra geospacial information for it's location on a planetoid.

The problem seems to be with you loading images, and not heightfields...

Image Map Shader expects images, and will use them as such, even with displacement ability.
Check out my Terragen Discord: https://discord.gg/Vy5FRTE

Matt

When you import a bunch of TIFFs, Terragen doesn't know whether they are heightfields because they are generic image format. I agree that some way to re-type these as Heightfields during or after import would be really helpful. Another thing we could perhaps do to help is allow you to choose from the Images type as well as the Heightfields type when you use "Add Terrain From Library".

However, there are ways that these images can be added to the library and given the type 'Heightfield'. This happens automatically if you load an image with the Heightfield Load node and you have "Heightfields" enabled in Preferences -> Library. There may be another way that I'm not aware of at the moment.

http://planetside.co.uk/wiki/index.php?title=The_Library
Just because milk is white doesn't mean that clouds are made of milk.

Matt

Quote from: bugs.and.other.beasts on November 28, 2018, 04:07:06 am
You get nothing, absolutely nothing, because "Add Terrain" "From Library" goes straight to Type heightfield, not to the category terrain.


I'll look into whether we can include images tagged in the Terrain category.
Just because milk is white doesn't mean that clouds are made of milk.

Oshyan

We did not have any reports of this issue before, but what you're describing is definitely a frustrating limitation. Just one we weren't aware of previously. We are looking into solutions.

- Oshyan

WAS

Perhaps TG could consider 16 bit float TIFF as a Heightmap as it seems to be the general use that I ever see.
Check out my Terragen Discord: https://discord.gg/Vy5FRTE