Heightmap woes

I started toying with converting some of the mars bitmaps into height maps.

Here is my first render… This is that crazy canyon formation (called the Valles Marineris) that I mentioned in the previous post… and I believe that’s Olympus Mons in the distance.

You can see right off the bat that there are a ton of random issues with this image.  The most troubling for me, though was the very prominent aliasing.  Now, I’m working from a 24-bit png… so i had assumed that aliasing wouldn’t be such a huge problem.   For those of you not familiar with Aliasing, click on the thumbnail to the left and look for what look like ugly topology lines in the flat surfaces.  Those should in fact be smooth.  It’ll take a little more monkeying with the settings to get a satisfactory image…

Here is a section of the height map that’s visible in the rendering:

If you click on this image, you’ll totally see the color change lines that cause my aliasing issue.  I’ll probably need to dip into higher resolution images… those will have “rougher” grain and should alias a lot less…