Why are my 3D surface maps solid black on top, with the colors underneath, in Surfer?

The 3D surface map appearing to have a solid black top (the colors showing on the underside) in Surfer is due to a problem with the video card driver on the computer.

Please visit your video card manufacturer's website to get the latest driver for your video card.  Alternatively, some computer manufacturer's (Dell, HP, etc) release their own driver updates for hardware included with different computer models.

If updating the video card driver does not resolve the behavior, there is a way to force Surfer to use the Microsoft software video driver on the computer to render the 3D surface maps instead of the video card driver.  To do this:

  1. Click File | Options.
  2. Click Rendering in the left pane of the Options dialog.
  3. In the right pane, uncheck the Enable OpenGL hardware acceleration box.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Restart Surfer for the option to take effect. Now open the SRF or recreate the surface map. It should appear correctly.

The main disadvantage to using the Microsoft driver is the decreased resolution for the 3D surface maps and in the 3D View. However, if you are not working with extremely high resolution grid files and image overlays, you may not notice the difference.


Updated November 7, 2018





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