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    American Southwest - Monument Valley - Part Five: Creating A Dry Wash


    Vandy

    This is Part Five of a five part tutorial on how to create an American Southwest terrain using SC4Terraformer. Within this tutorial are a number of "sidebars" -- that is, aditional explanatory information -- that cover the use of a number of the SC4Terraformer features and functions. It is recommended that this tutorial be done from Part One through Part Five so that the results obtained closely mirror the results of this multi-part tutorial.

    Well! Here we are at our last section for the American Southwest tutorial. Today, I'll give you the steps (well -- my steps, my procress...) on how to make a dry wash. What is a dry wash, you ask? It is a river, creek or stream bed that typically stays dry most of the year in a particular area (like the American Southwest) except in the "rainy season" when these dry beds can suddenly and dramatically be filled with water either from a flash flood or from run off from the surrounding land. It doesn't stay wet for long as this area is, after all, a desert region.

    We'll be using the High Tableland Mesa created in the previous section as a "backdrop" for our dry wash terrain. If you've been following this tutorial and have been terraforming and saving into the same region, it's okay to use your saved region for this section. If you haven't been saving, you can either create the High Tableland Mesa to use as our backdrop or, simply work through this section on a level terrain. If you've been saving your work from each section of the tutorial in separate regions, you'll need to load the region in which you saved the High Tableland Mesa.

    Before we get started, I'll assume you have loaded an appropriate region to use for our dry wash section.

    I'm using the region in which I created a High Tableland Mesa and have positioned it so that I have roughly the right upper corner as shown in the below example:

    01_Dry_Wash_1st_Pass.jpg

    Creating A Dry Wash

    In this section, I will be creating a dry river bed. If you wish to create a creek or stream bed, you'll need to adjust the Radius value accordingly. (Typically, a creek and stream is smaller than a river so the Radius vaule would need to be set smaller.)

    Based on where you wish to create your dry wash, you'll want to rotate the terrain in order to get a better look at where you will be placing it. This will also allow you more control over your creation as well as help you see the underlying terrain better. My dry wash is going to start in the upper right, curve around the knife butte and exit the lower center. Consequently, I've rotated my region so that I'm looking towards the mesa and have a better view of the top (now, right) edge as in the below example:

    02_Dry_Wash_2nd_Pass.jpg

    01) In the Sliders Window, set the Radius value to 6 and Min Height value to 0277. The Strength and the Max Height values aren't used and can be left at their defaults.

    02) In the SC4Terraformer Toolbar, click on the Zone tools drop down arrow and select the Draw tool.

    NOTE: The draw tool ONLY uses the Min Height value. All other values can be left at their default.

    REMEMBER: Once you used the draw tool and let go of the mouse button, BE SURE you press the Enter key in order to "release" the draw tool and be able to use a different tool.

    03) In the SC4Terraformer main window, position your drawing tool so that the red dot is at the very edge of the terrain on the lower right side.

    04) Click and hold the mouse button and slowly move the drawing tool to create your river bed as you desire.

    NOTE: You may have to release the mouse button, press the Enter key and the rotate your terrain in order to best see where to continue to create your river bed.

    You should end up with something similar to the below example (Note that I stopped before the knife butte because I need to rotate my terrain.):

    03_Dry_Wash_3rd_Pass.jpg

    05) I've rotated my terrain and have completed using the Draw tool to create my river bed. Remember to press the Enter key when you're finished with the Draw tool. You should end up with something similar to the below example:

    04_Dry_Wash_4th_Pass.jpg

    06) In the Sliders window, change the Radius value to 02 and the Min Height value to 0275.

    07) Still using the Draw tool in Zone tools, position your drawing tool at one end of the river bed, click and hold the mouse button and slowly go over the VERY MIDDLE of your river bed to the other end. You should end up with something similar to the below example (note that I had to rotate my terrain to get to the other end):

    05_Dry_Wash_5th_Pass.jpg

    Here's another view from the top of the high tableland mesa (yes, you right. I didn't finish terraforming my example region. Shame on me!):

    06_Dry_Wash_5th_Pass_A.jpg

    Okay. We've got the basic shape and depth for our dry river bed. It is very smooth right now. Let's rough up the walls a bit.

    08) In the Sliders window, set the Radius value at 02, the strength at 03, the Min Height value at 0002 and the Max Height value at 6000.

    09) In the SC4Terraformer toolbar, click on the Zone tools drop down box and select the Rough tool.

    10) Position your drawing tool at one end of the dry river bed and directly on one of the upper walls. (Try not to go into the lowest part of the river bed.

    11) Click and hold the mouse button and S - L - O - W - L - Y "jiggle" the drawing tool up and down the upper wall whle moving along the upper wall to the other end of the river bed.

    NOTE: This is where your own creativity comes into play. Try "jiggling" the drawing tool more in some places, less in others. Also, try going back over sections that have already been done. When you are satisfied with your result, move on to the next area. If you don't like the terraforming that has been done, "erase it" by clicking on the Configuration tools drop down arrow and then clicking on the Undo last terraforming button. Doing this will cause your terrain to remove the last terraforming you did.

    You should end up with something similar to the below example:

    07_Dry_Wash_6th_Pass.jpg

    We're almost finished. Notice that you might have some "rocky" areas in the river bet. Let's smooth then out along with some of the roughness now -- just a little bit.

    12) In the Sliders window, set the Radius tool to 06 ( or the width of your original dry bed), the Strength value to 03, the Min Height value to 0002 and the Max Height value to 6000.

    13) In the SC4Terraformer toolbar, click on the Zone tools drop down box and select the Smooth tool.

    14) Position your drawing tool at one end of the river bed, click and hold the mouse button and QUICKLY move from one end of the river bed to the other. DO NOT smooth over an area more than once. You should end up with something similar to the below example:

    08_Dry_Wash_7th_Pass.jpg

    Don't be concerned about any rocky areas that remain. We will spot smooth them later if necessary.

    Okay. Next, we're going to deepen the very middle of the river bed.

    15) In the Sliders window, set the Radius value to 01, the Strength value to 03, the Min Height value to 0240 and leave the Max Height value at 6000.

    16) In the SC4Terraformer toolbar, click on the Brush tools drop down arrow and select the ValleySteep tool.

    17) Position your drawing tool at one end of the river bed with the red dot in the middle of the lowest area, click and hold the mouse button and move the drawing tool from one end of the river bed to the other staying in the middle of the lowest area. You should end up with something similiar to the below example:

    09_Dry_Wash_8th_Pass.jpg

    You may or may not end up with water in some places like my above example and you may or may not have the same "jaggegness" to the lowest area of the river bed. We're going to correct this in the next step bu doing a process I refer to as spot smoothing.

    18) In the Sliders window, set the Radius value at 02, the Strength value at 02, the Min Height value at 0002 and the Max Height value at 6000.

    19) In the SC4Terraformer toolbar, click on the Zone tools drop down arrow and select the Smooth tool.

    20) Position your drawing tool over the first place you wish to spot smooth and click the mouse button ONE TIME.

    21) Repeat Step 20) until any water or rocky features are gone and only the green terrain remains. What we are looking to do here is to JUST remove the water, rockyness and any "sand" from the terrain leaving only the green terrain. Continue this until you are at the other end of the river bed. You should end up with something similar to the below example:

    10_Dry_Wash_9th_Pass.jpg

    Great! We are now at a point where you need to make a decision. If you like the "ruggegness" of the river bed the way it looks above then we are done with this section.

    If you would like it just a bit smoother (which is the way I like it) then you'll want to continue with Step 22), below.

    22) In the Sliders window, set the Radius value to 06 (or the original value for the dry wash you created), set the Strength to 01, the Min Height value to 0002 and the Max Height value to 6000.

    23) In the SC4Terraformer toolbar, click on the Zone tools drop down arrow and select the Smooth tool.

    24) Position your drawing tool at one end of the river bed, click and hold the mouse button and QUICKLY move from one end of the river bed to the other. DO NOT smooth over an area more than once. You should end up with something similar to the below example:

    11_Dry_Wash_10th_Pass_Finished.jpg

    Granted, it is a subtle difference but one that I believe looks good.

    Wonderful! You've now created a dry wash for the American Southwest tutorial.

    This concludes the lessons part of this tutorial. Here are a few more views of the dry wash from different angles:

    View 01:

    12_Dry_Wash_View_01.jpg

    View 02:

    13_Dry_Wash_View_02.jpg

    View 03:

    14_Dry_Wash_View_03.jpg

    And, finally, from near ground level, View 04:

    15_Dry_Wash_View_04.jpg

    This concludes the lessons on creating an American Southwest region. The next part of this tutorial will showcase the example region I created for this tutorial. I'll show a few view from SC4Terraformer and then will show an "In-Game" view of the region from SimCity 4 taken with Region Census.

    SC4Terraformer 2D Overview of Example Region:

    16_2D_SC4TF_Overview_12-08-06.jpg

    SC4Terraformer West Looking East View of Example Region:

    17_3D_SC4TF_Overview_East_looking_West.jpg

    SC4Terraformer South Looking North View of Example Region:

    18_3D_SC4TF_Overview_North_looking_Sou.jpg

    SC4Terraformer North Looking South View of Example Region:

    19_3D_SC4TF_Overview_South_looking_Nor.jpg

    SC4Terraformer East Looking West View of Example Region:

    20_3D_SC4TF_Overview_West_looking_East.jpg

    In-Game View of Example Region from SimCity 4 Taken with Region Census:

    21_SC4_Region_Census_Overview.jpg

    The above finished map can be downloaded from the STEX under the name American Southwest - Monument Valley. I used CycleDogg's Painted Desert Terrain Mod as my terrain overlay for the final touch on the example region.

    As always, I have shown steps the way I would create the region. If you find a different way or modify my steps, that is wonderful. After all, the purpose of this tutorial is to teach -- not to dictate.


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