Parallel, Realistic and Controllable Terrain Synthesis

The challenge in terrain synthesis for virtual environments is to provide a combination of precise user control over landscape form, with interactive response and visually realistic results. We present a system that builds on parallel pixel-based texture synthesis to enable interactive creation of an output terrain from a database of heightfield exemplars. We also provide modelers with control over height and surrounding slope by means of constraint points and curves; a paint-by-numbers interface for specifying the local character of terrain; coherence controls that allow localization of changes to the synthesized terrain; and copy- paste functionality to directly transplant terrain regions. Together these contributions provide a level of realism that, based on user experiments, is indistinguishable from real source terrains; user control sufficient for precise placement of a variety of landforms, such as cliffs, ravines and mesas; and synthesis times of 165ms for a 10242 terrain grid.