Jump to content

Displacement map to real geometry

Recommended Posts

Is there a way within Vectorworks to bake a displacement map texture to actual 3D geometry?



I've mapped a digital elevation model (DEM) image to a simple plane that I would like to convert to use as a site model.




Link to comment

GeoTiffs with elevation information are basically tifs that come with a text file stating how they are georeferenced. The only difference is that instead of RGB values for the pixel heights they contain numbers. It is quasi a matrix of height numbers, for example


705.1, 705.7, 705.9, 706.2
704.8, 705.4, 706.0, 706.1
704.6, 705.2, 705.8, 706.2
704.2, 705.1, 705.5, 705.9


The separate .tfw file contains information about how big a pixel is, where it is located and how it is rotated.

In order to be able to use something like this in Vectorworks, you need a file in .xyz format or similar. They look like this:


x-coordinate y-coordinate z-coordinate

for example:


2677000.25000000 1246999.75000000 569.249939
2677010.75000000 1246999.75000000 569.999939
2677021.25000000 1246999.75000000 570.769958
2677031.75000000 1246999.75000000 571.219971
2677042.25000000 1246999.75000000 571.859985
2677052.75000000 1246999.75000000 572.940063
2677063.25000000 1246999.75000000 574.370056
2677073.75000000 1246999.75000000 575.350037


You can use an online converter to convert geotiffs into xyz format.

Then import this xyz point cloud into the open source program CloudCompare. There you reduce the point density (Edit-Subsample), so that in the end you only have about 10'000 points. These can then be imported into Vectorworks via 'Survey Input'. Select 'Create 3D Locus Objects'. You can then use these 3D locus objects to generate a terrain model. This way you get a fully editable, georeferenced terrain model.

  • Like 3
Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...