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I've been messing around with Unity's terrain feature a little bit lately and I had a question about the height maps it exports.

When you export a height map from a terrain, it produces a texture file with two channels, a typical color channel as well as an alpha channel. What confuses me is that the color channel contains the image on the right, while the alpha contains the left; the left is the kind of height map I'm familiar with, but I have no idea what the right is. I can't make out its effect on the terrain in Unity either.

What exactly is the image on the right called, and how are they used? Or is this some kind of bug/I'm doing something wrong? These aren't the full textures, by the way, they're a little cropped.