Tyler describes the rayshader package in a gorgeous blog post: his goal was to generate 3-D representations of landscape data that “looked like a paper weight”. (Incidentally, you can use this package to produce actual paper weights with 3-D printing.) To this end, he went beyond simply visualizing a 3-D surface in
rgland added a rectangular “base” to the surface as well as shadows cast by the geographic features. He also added support for detecting (or specifying) a water level: useful for representing lakes or oceans (like the map of the Monterey submarine canyon shown below) and for visualizing the effect of changing water levels like this animation of draining Lake Mead.
It looks great.