GitHub - JoeWDavies/geoblender: Tutorials for making 3D-looking maps with Blender
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Tutorials for making 3D-looking maps with Blender. Contribute to JoeWDavies/geoblender development by creating an account on GitHub.
Shaded relief maps in blender


This guide will help you prepare DEM data using QGIS in order to render 3D looking shaded-relief maps in Blender.


For this tutorial i used the following software:

- Blender 2.92

- QGIS 3.20

I will be going through the whole process, using Wales as my area of interest.

Table of Contents

Step 1: Prepare the DEM

First download the elevation tiles from your preferred source. I usually get mine from here. In this example I am using a tile which covers Wales.

If you need to merge multiple tiles together for your area of interest then use raster > miscellaneous > merge.

If you wish to clip the DEM to a specific area then in QGIS use raster > extraction > clip raster by mask layer and use a polygon of your area of interest as 'mask layer'. In this example I used a polygon of Wales to clip the DEM, both of them being the same projection (EPSG:4326).

Now reproject the DEM into your desired projection in QGIS using raster > projections > warp (reproject). In this example I am reprojecting to EPSG:27700 (British National Grid).

Once you have your reprojected DEM, right click it in the layers tab and select export > saveas then in the popup window select 'rendered image' as the output mode. This rendered image is what we will use in Blender.

Step 2 : Prepare blender scene

Please bear in mind that this will take longer the first time you do it, but once it is set up you can just reuse the project as a template and adjust the dimensions to the different DEMs.

Scene settings

First delete the cube that is loaded by default (left click then delete key).

Then we need to add a plane. This is done by selecting add > mesh > plane.

Set the dimensions of the scene according to the dimensions of our DEM image (in this case, the rendered DEM is 2348 x 2604 so I will set the X in scene dimensions to 2348 and the Y to 2604).

Also notice that I set the % of the scene dimensions to 20%. This just means that renders will…
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