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I have a height map that I would like to convert to gray-scale. The problem is I have a custom palette or gradient that I wish to follow and I am not a professional, so I don't really know how.

The applications I have tried to use are GIMP and Photoshop.

Here is the map i wish to convert to gray-scale.

The height map

And here is the scale used for this map, where the most left is low and the most right is high.

Height map scale

And here is how I want to convert the height map so the lower points are white and higher points are black.

How i want the scale to be

  • You can try in Photoshop using a gradient map, but it looks like too many of the colours on the scale have similar brightness values for this to be very effective. You best bet will probably be to tweak whatever software package generated the map in the first place so it produces a greyscale image the way you want it. – cybernetic.nomad Dec 29 '18 at 15:04
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Theoretically you could use a lookup table. Now, it works great with adjustment layers but I was never able to make it work with photographs stacked onto each-other.

I would still give it a shot because you have two gradients: it should be unambiguous, even though I can see some banding on the colour gradient. I would make it so you can really do a bijection between the two images.

To create a lookup table, stack the two gradients in the same file, make sure the colour gradient is a background layer and go to File / Export / Color Lookup Tables. Use the CUBE format and leave the quality as it is. You will then be able to use the Color lookup adjustment layer on your heightmap, import your lookup table and cross your fingers.

What you want to do is not very standard, but if you can't find a way to do it with a known software, it is really not something difficult to program since you have these two gradients.

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