Making terrain in CAW can be a challenge even for the best artist however you can simplify the process with just a few steps.
Things you will need.
1. Some kind of paint program that supports PNG images.
2. If your program only supports images in 8 or 24 bit like me you will need another program to convert your map to a 16bit grayscale PNG file.
3. Most important an elevation map
Getting your map can be a challenge. You need a spot with somewhat flat areas and if you like mountains then you will want those also. one of the easiest ways to do this is through the USGS web site using earth explorer.
Using earth explorer is easy. Just 4 simple steps and your all done.
1. Select your dataset(s): Look down the list on the left of the website and find Digital Elevation (Related Links) and open it. put a check the box beside SRTM.
2. Now for the fun part. Look at the map and zoom in on a location that looks good. (NOTE: Most maps are free however some are not.) It might take you a few tries to find a good spot for a map. You can drag the map by holding the left mouse button while dragging the cursor. Once you have found a spot that looks good your going to want to define the corners of the data you want to look at for your map. To do this simply left click for the top left corner and bottom right corner. (This is used to limit the amount of maps found for your search.) Once you have the area we move onto step 3.
3. Click the search button on the top right and wait for a list of maps.
(If your list is large you might want to try a smaller area. If you have less than 8 maps then your good.)
Click on the SRTM link to display the results. (Note: this might take a while to load.)
On this page we want to look at a couple of areas.
First will be a small ICON of the map. To the right of the Map ICON is a link that says show. next look at the catagories on the top and find Entity ID
Under Entity ID you might see there are 2 types of maps.
Example: SRTM1N37W106 or SRTM3N37W106
The most important part is this section SRTM1 or SRTM3. SRTM3 has more accurate data. If you click on the show link the map will show up and display a box showing the location of the data. the spot your intrested in might cover more than one map so check that you have the correct location on the map. If the location looks good then click the map icon. this will give you a larger 512x512 image. :P
Right click the image and do save it. (I like to save to my desktop to make things easy.
Now you have a nice 512x512 map. However you might find that mountains in the image go above the CAW limits so the peaks become flat. However we are more intrested in a bigger map anyhow.
Next load up the map in your favorite image editor program. Your going to want to use the resize command and change your map from 512x512 so that it is now 1024x1024. (Note:I would recomend using a height scale of 100 in CAW for this type of map to start.
) Once you have your map resized you will want to save it as a PNG. (You should now have a 24bit grayscale 1024x1024 image unless your editor can save in 16bit.
Next we move onto converting your image to 16bit.
(If it's already 16bit you can skip this step.) 8)
I use a freeware program called [url= url]Raw Therapee[/url]. (Note: The menu system in this program is not user friendly so to make this easy this is a quick easy way to use it.)
Right click the map and select open with then brouse to Raw Therapee.
The program should now load with the map. Now we just need to save. Near the bottom right corner you will see the save as
button. Click it. You should now see a menu that will probably show your file as 24bit. Change this to 16bit. Select the PNG file format and save then exit the program.
Load CAW and click File
then New world
Use the ... button to load your map.
(Note: As I said before I highly recomend starting with 100 for max height however you might want to experiment.
) then select Lush
You should now have a 1024x1024 map to work with however you will need to do some smoothing. On the terrain editing menu I tend to use the gental smooth option and set the strength to around 9-15 and the fall off to 100. smooth out the jagged areas untill your happy.
Making your ICON
On the world Layers section of CAW you can right click the top layer to name and describe your map. There is also an area for an ICON.
The easiest way to make an ICON is inside CAW with you map loaded pre4ss the print screen button on the keyboard. This will do a screen capture. Save your world and exit. Load your up your paint program and use the Edit
menu then Paste as new picture
. This is where it get a little harder.
Your going to want to use the selection tool or the crop option. I won't get into using crop if you know how to then good if not then using the selection tool might be easier. The selection tool normaly looks like a box with dotted lines. your going to want to drag a box around the area you want for your icon. yry to keep the box square it should show the length and width of the selection on the bottom toolbar some place. Once you have a square go back to the edit
menu and select copy. Don't exit the paint program but close the picture of CAW that you made the box on. Now on the file menu click edit
and paste as new picture
. Now you will want to resize your image from the menu so that it's 256x256 then save it as a 24bit PNG.
Now you just need to go back into CAW and add in your icon then save.
Note: I did not cover all the steps in CAW for modifing your map. Once you smooth the terrain you will be unable to change where the sun goes up or down. Make sure you do this step for any map before making any other changes.
Enjoy your new world.