The ground object consists of the dirt and fields around the compound. It also includes the pond/marshy area and the acequias. In addition to the poor textures in the original model, the ground was modeled completely flat. The piles of dirt in and around the compound were also modeled as separate objects and have the appearance of being ‘placed’ and not a part of the same material. The original model also used a different material on the faces that represented the roads from the fields. This produced a sharp and unnatural delineation.
I first simplified the geometry of the original model by separating the depressions (acequias and ponds) from the surrounding terrain. The geometries of these depressions were also simplified and made more regular. I then applied a 32 x 32 vertex grid overlay and cut out the portions where the depressions are. This grid will allow me to sculpt some elevation detail, including the slope down to the San Antonio River to the east as well as a gradual rise in elevation to the west.
After joining the depressions to this grid, I will make the connecting faces. Another advantage of using the grid, is that the long runs of triangle edges should be eliminated or at least minimized.
The final step will be to add to this mesh the dirt piles.