I saw some great renders by Lee Griggs (https://www.behance.net/gallery/18261191/XGen-rendered-with-Arnold-for-Maya) on pixellated extrusions of images and wanted to see if I could do something similar for landscapes, specifically National Parks in the UK. If was fairly straightforward in Cinema 4d to use a hair displacement modifier based on a terrain map processed in GIS.
The length of the hair was determined by the height map, so white values were higher than black values. Being more of a concept project I wasn’t bothered if the heights were too true to form however it is simple enough to work out the extrusion multiplier based on the max height of the terrain and the width of the hair displacement grid. All of the below images are extruded beyond their real heights.
The shaders were actually overlaid texture maps rendered from colour ramp mapping in GIS however you could use gradients within the C4D. The great thing about the hair modifier in C4d was how well it handled thousands of extruded polygons. I am yet to try the same technique in Blender but it would be interesting to see how the two compared…
Snowdonia National Park
Yorkshire Dales National Park
Lake District National Park