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Building Mountains from Contour Lines

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  • Building Mountains from Contour Lines

    Contributed by Kent Kristiansson...

    1. I started 3pi with a new plan. With the following settings:
    Feet, fractional inches 32 per inch.
    Scale of drawing: HO
    Width: 16000'
    Height: 13000'
    Use model scale to see and enter prototype dimensions

    2. I created several layer:
    Main line (automatically created)
    Buildings (will be used later for buildings)
    Engine Area (here I have added another map with more details)
    Since the city is mostly above 5900' I set this as the default
    elevation for all layers.

    3. I scanned my topography map and cut out the interesting part
    (12000' x 15000') and saved is as an image file. I then activated the
    Map layer and used Toolkit -> Draw -> Place image to put the image
    into the 3pi. Of course the scale was not right from the beginning so
    I needed to do some changes to the picture before I got the right
    size of the image and the coordinates.

    4. Next I activated the topography layer. Then I manually created
    contour lines for all the elevation lines in the map. I kept the map
    visible below so it was rather easy (~2 hours of work). When the
    contour lines were in place, I grouped them together into one object.

    5. Now it was time for the terrain. I activated the terrain layer and
    at the same time I checked the check box "Allow only the active layer
    to be edited". I also selected only 2 layers at this moment, the
    topography and the terrain layer. Before I created the mesh, I had to
    set the Mesh defaults (this is one of the important things). After
    some calculation I set Spacing to 100'. It will create about 120x150
    items, not that many? Next I created the mesh, this is very easy,
    BUT, you must keep the mesh inside your topography lines, if not, the
    calculation later will not come to an end. So, just drag the mesh
    within the edge of the topoarea.

    6. Next step, to get the mesh to follow the contour lines: Select the
    contour line group and select the mesh at the same time. Then choose,
    Conform Mesh to Topography Group from the background menu and you are
    done. This step takes some minutes but not long. You will see a
    progress bar. If it seems slow, you have probably created a mesh area
    that is not within the topography (contour line) area.