I'm very new with Blender and I'm interested in making 3d visualizations of real Digital Elevation Model data.

Blender is a great tool for 3d visualizations, I've figured out how to create a 3d model from USGS dem data. Please check it here ; https://sketchfab.com/models/7cb8fbac61c0485b8dc0130b7bec2f23

But my problem is texturing this data with real satellite imagery. I've tried my things and searched the internet for solution but all I've found was texturing non-real data. In Terragen texturing a DEM with satellite imagery can be done and what I'm looking for is something like this ;


But how can I do it with Blender?

Note : I've tried this tutorial but it seems uncompleted. Last part is not clear to me. http://johnflower.org/tutorial/make-mountains-blender-height-maps


1 Answer 1


First, you need to find the satellite image that corresponds to the exact same coordinates of the DEM and is generated using same projection.

Load the image from the satellite image in the UV/Image editor.

Go to top orthogonal view, select your model.

Enter edit mode Tab.

Press A to select all. Press U to UV unwrap and choose Project form view bounds.

Still in edit mode create a material that uses the image as part of the texture and set the coordinates to use the UVs.

Assign then the material to the mesh.

  • $\begingroup$ I've clearly understand what you've explained but couldn't make it work. Last two steps are not clear to me. Could you please explain with more detail. ( And don't forget that I'm newbie please!!) $\endgroup$
    – Capan
    Feb 15, 2017 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ @bukowski just like you would apply any texture on blender. Please specify what render engine you are using. for cycles see: blender.stackexchange.com/questions/57943/… andL blender.stackexchange.com/questions/55376/… $\endgroup$
    – user1853
    Feb 15, 2017 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ I want to ask one more thing before trying the things in question ; are the height map and texture image should have the same size ? $\endgroup$
    – Capan
    Feb 15, 2017 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ ideally the height map and the texture image should use the same coordinate system and projection and coincide (most GIS systems will allow you to determine those) else you will have to match the image with the map by hand. $\endgroup$
    – user1853
    Feb 15, 2017 at 19:20
  • $\begingroup$ I've aligned both image using Qgis and I'm sure their corner coordinates are same. But dimensions of images are not same because resolutions of the images are not same. $\endgroup$
    – Capan
    Feb 15, 2017 at 19:23

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