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I'm trying to use a plane with an image texture to render a topographic map of the US. When I add a subdivision modifier and use a Bump Only surface displacement, I have a fine looking map:

enter image description here

When I try to use Displacement Only, however, I get this much less fun looking thing:

enter image description here

Is there a reason for this, and if so, what can I do to avoid it?

Here's my set of settings for reference:

enter image description here

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You have the Strength property on the Displace modifier turned up too high. Turn it down to 0.1 (or lower).

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm not seeing a strength property under the Displacement modifier. I've edited the main post to include the settings I'm seeing. Can you let me know where I should be looking? $\endgroup$
    – scrollex
    Aug 25 '19 at 22:12
  • $\begingroup$ @scrollex Add a "Math" node in between Color and Displacement, and adjust the value until it's correct. $\endgroup$ Aug 26 '19 at 23:12
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It looks like you're connecting your height map directly to the Displacement output. That doesn't typically work well - a better option is to include a "Displacement" node in between (found under Vector > Displacement, I think) with the height map as the "Height" input. That way you can adjust the "Scale" property on the node, which is the equivalent of the "Strength" property chirpywiz711 suggested (if you were using a modifier).

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