Suggested heightmap software?

So I am going to start learning by working up from the TestIsland demo. The first thing I want to do is create my own bigger landscape.

I'd like to start by creating the heightmap, and I plan to use a static heightmap (i.e., the same landscape every time), so I figure the RawHeightMap class is best to use, just as in the original.

I have a couple of questions:

  1. I have searched through the forums and read a bit, and I have looked at the wiki and some of the Java examples, but I'm still not very clear on the relative merits of the different implementers of AbstractHeightMap. Has anyone posted a good description of how they are different, or the best uses of each one?

    1a. I see that there is also an ImageBasedHeightMap. If that takes most common image formats, then why would one want to use .RAW? Are the files smaller, or more compatible with certain editors, or what?

  2. I know that I can open the .RAW heightmap files in a variety of graphics editors. For instance, I have Photoshop CS2, and I can open them in that. But there must be some decent OS heightmap editors out there with terrain previews etc. What do y'all use? Is there an open source Terrragen equivalent which can read and write .RAW files? Or do y'all just open these things in a paint program and hope for the best?



I think it's best to use photoshop to create the heightmap (so many good brushes). Otherwise you can use: