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I want to transform a 'normal' heigthmap into something like this:

enter image description here

Starting from a normal grayscale heightmap like this:

enter image description here

I looked into Voronoi, but I cant find a way of how to tranform the grayscale map to fit the upper images style.

How to get getting this result?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Wait, you have problems with converting a grayscale map to a mesh or a mesh to a low-poly mesh? \$\endgroup\$ – Bálint Jul 5 '16 at 23:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Generate some kind of localized importance sampling point-set with a radius near the desired size of your triangles (try Floyd-Steinberg on the gradients here), and then compute some meshing over those points and displace each one by the original heightmap at that position. (try Delaunay triangulation here) \$\endgroup\$ – MickLH Jul 5 '16 at 23:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ That image is probably rendered with ray casting, you won't get anything close to it with normal rasterization. \$\endgroup\$ – Bálint Jul 5 '16 at 23:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, rasterization can produce visually identical results to ray casting. This scene does not appear to be using reflected rays (except in the lighting, but those can be baked into lightmaps) so in fact rasterization should cost less processing power for the same quality. \$\endgroup\$ – MickLH Jul 5 '16 at 23:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ You may want to investigate mesh simplification or decimation algorithms, which try to combine adjacent triangles into larger primitives to approximate the same 3D shape. Usually the sharply polygonal and irregular output of these algorithms is considered an unwanted artifact to minimise, but here it lends itself to the aesthetic you're aiming to create. \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Jan 30 '17 at 22:07
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You can do this with 3ds Max.


  1. Create a plane.
  2. Subdivide it in to a lot of segments.
  3. Select Displace.
  4. Select your heightmap.
  5. Select Create -> Splines -> Section.
  6. Create a bunch of these "sections"; one for every height.
  7. Convert all your "sections" to "Editable Splines"
  8. Select Create -> Compound Objects -> Terrain.

Fur further explanation, here is a YouTube video, which explains more.

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