We present a framework that allows quick and intuitive modeling of terrains using concepts inspired by hydrology. The terrain is generated from a simple initial sketch, controlled by a few parameters, and can be considered hydrographically realistic and visually plausible. Our terrain representation is both analytic and continuous, and can be rendered using varying level of detail. The terrain data is stored in a novel data structure: a construction tree whose internal nodes define a combination of operations, and whose leaves represent terrain features. The framework uses rivers as modeling elements and it first creates a hierarchical drainage network that is represented as a geometric graph over a given input domain. The network is then analyzed to construct watersheds and to characterize the different types and trajectories of rivers. The terrain is finally generated by combining procedural terrain and river patches with blending and carving operators.

In ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH)