34 votes
Date Updated: 
Author Name: 
Marc Lorenz

Populate:Terrain assists in creating and optimizing terrain surfaces from contour lines or from existing meshes. The quad based output allows for easier later remodeling, for example using push/pull painting. The regular face size reduces rendering issues (GI, displacement) and you can use Turbosmooth on it.

Populate:Terrain is a scripted plugin for Autodesk 3ds max. It assists in creating and optimizing terrain surfaces for architectural visualization applications. Populate:Terrain fixes imported meshed CAD models or directly converts contour lines. The result is a clean quad based poly surface with user definable grid size.

1: Spline Shape 2: Converted to mesh with 3ds max 3: Converted with Populate:Terrain

1: Contour lines 2: Converted using the 3ds max Terrain Compound 3: Converted with Populate:Terrain

New feature in 1.8, trimming with a spline shape:


Version Requirement: 
3ds Max 2010 or higher.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
mxdsa's picture

This is an incredibly useful

This is an incredibly useful script. Thanks so much!

I am from China's picture

Installation problem

Hello, the building Lord, in China call for the sample its self-giving spirit, like your script, but I can't install, can hair tutorial?

oncire's picture

useful script

can you add option to rotate the grid...or maybe option to edit the gizmo of grid...maybe in next update.

kino's picture


Great script, can't wait for 2.0! :) (I've got dozens of pointclouds waiting to be generated to mesh terrains..)

paulov's picture

regarding 2009

yes, I would also love to see this runing under 2009. Does it rely on any main feature only available from on 2010+?

HomeCG's picture

can you make support for 2009

can you make support for 2009 next version,thanks


Script_Butler's picture



This script has proved useful in my workflow.

Just a quick question/request....

Can the script use multiple threads? I've got eight cores but it only seems to utilise one when generating the topology. Multi-threading would be awsome for large terrains.



paulov's picture

wow, I'm impressed. I'm

wow, I'm impressed. I'm building a massive land model with Microstation to be used in realtime and sure that this tools becomes handy. Thanks a lot.!!

martinmb's picture

Thanks thats really usefull

Countless hours cleaning up after converting splines begone.

grasshopper's picture

Hey thanks for this script

Hey thanks for this script it is awesome it's making a painfully annoying task simple.

If I could make a suggestion for your next update it would be to allow the user to adjust the set out point so that we can align the edges of adjacent pieces of terrain. (with a gizmo)

I'm using Max2010 64bit and it seems to work without any error

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.