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Interactive Maps

See Everest Map Live >

This is a self-commissioned project, where I wanted to explore a new way to perceive a landscape.

We've all seen maps, 2D or 3D, but I felt that we still could not really grasp how mountains feel. There is always a difference between a 3D view and the sensation we can have when walking on top of a hill or mountain.

I would not say those interactive 3D pieces come anywhere close to the real sensation, but I nevertheless wanted to see what it would feel like to stroke the shape of a mountain, and see the light move with your hand. To see the shadows emphasize the landscape.

See The Grand Canyon Map Live >

To create those, I imported mapbox satellite data into Houdini and reproduced the shape of the landscape. I then used Octane to create light maps, where only a single source of light was present; a line cutting the landscape. That line could be in the X, Y or Z axis.

That created a large number of light maps, which I then merged together. I could merge 3 light maps into a single tile, using the red, green and blue components, and then merge 16 tiles together, into a 4k texture.

Finally, using our custom WebGL engine, I created custom shaders that would turn on the right light map based on the mouse position against the landscape, and multiply that by a color that was evolving along the HSV spectrum.

See Matterhorn Map Live >

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