Hillshade visualizations, or, as Wikipedia coins it, Terrain Cartography, are impressive recreations of real world terrain features.
When working in forestry, I used 3D rendering software (3D Nature) to represent the visual impact of proposed logging on actual hillsides and landscapes.
Anytime I get a window seat on a plane and a clear weather window, I simply can’t help but admire the texture and beauty of landscape features as seen from 30,000 feet.
The following two images (LiDAR derived hillshades with customized colour ramps) so perfectly display and clearly communicate the texturing of ground features. From built-up highway surfaces and their ditched edges, to the many arms and braided channel of water courses, to the scoured earth surface courtesy of historic water erosion… all these features and historic trends are so clearly, concisely and accurately displayed with simply a picture.
Details on the colour ramp and above hillshade rendering courtesy of the always enlightening cartographer John Nelson here.