Tag Archives: terrain

Procedural textures: A perfect match for environmental factors

Three cross sections through a terrain using procedural textures for factor visualization in 3D-space

Three cross sections through a terrain using procedural textures for factor visualization in 3D-space

Understanding how spatiotemporal patterns of environmental factors relate to phenomena we observe in nature is a fundamental quest in environmental systems sciences. The complexity of these patterns makes visualization of factor gradients and dynamics particularly useful.

Fortunately, in Blender and in other 3D content creation software we can make use of so-called procedural textures, i.e. material definitions for objects that are continuously calculated through 3D-space using mathematical algorithms. This way it is possible, for example, to visualize patchy nutrient availability throughout a block section of a terrain. For this a specific noise texture can be parameterized. A simpler linear gradient texture can be used for water tables and the like.

To visualize more complex factor interactions overlays of different procedural textures and different blend modes for the colors can be used. Ultimately, for very specific or flexible pattern visualization Blender provides material components that can use material definitions of the powerful Open Shading Language.