Huge Landscape

Im creating a huge Landscape in UE4, and basicly 10km by 10 km is too high area to paint it by hand.

Is there any way, to show unreal, where to put ground material, grass etc? I have world machine(Height map from it), masks are not a problem, but i cant figure it out, how to make it work ><


hmmmmm i don’t wanna sound stupid but maybe you need to look up heatmaps and use it to drop or apply the materials you want in real time, instead of spending that time modeling and painting ,
but by the way, how many materials you’re going to apply to that landscape ???

You would export the masks from WM, compile them in Photoshop under 1 texture (RGBA, depending on how many areas you were masking) and then use lerp nodes in your material to mask the different areas in UE4. The landscape materials that UE4 provides can give you a more illustrative idea of what to do. Check out the Elemental demo for example, and I believe there are more landscape specific demos that you could look into that use similar methods.

Look at the UDK Layers macro for World Machine.

Take a look at those videos :slight_smile:

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There are problems with both of these and the Epic Landscape example set up and quite frankly I wish the terrain painting would get a complete overhaul.

In the first video, you’re blending the textures/normals in one material and have no control over their setup, so that method is out for me. In the second video (using material functions), you cannot hand paint textures, so you’re basically stuck with the RGBA map layers and no ability to paint textures anywhere else. In that case, if you want a lake or literally any other geographic feature, you better have some foresight and add it inside of WM. And as for the Epic example, making heads or tails of it has proven (at least for me) to be extremely difficult as it’s like a rats nest of wires inside that material and to be honest, from what I did figure out I also saw no sight of customizing the materials on the users end.

What I want is this: The ability to use splat/flow maps, the ability to paint and the ability to tweak the materials like any other material. However, I don’t think all 3 are possible at this time, but if so, I’d love to be proven wrong.

Actually you can easily combine the two methods in that video. In the 2nd video the author used RGB splat-maps to blend the material functions, but that could just as easily have been done with paintable Landscape Layers. Here is how:

First, place a “Landscape Layer Sample” node in your landscape material for each layer you want. Then use the output of the layer nodes exactly like the author of that 2nd video was using single channels of the RGB splat map.

After adding the Layer Sample nodes to your material, you might have to re-apply your material to the landscape for the layers to show up in the landscape paint mode. After you do that, go to the landscape tool and to the Paint sub-tool. You should see a question mark for each new layer. You will need to make a Layer Asset for each layer. I suggest you select “Non-Weight-Blended” since that style works better with splatmap type texturing and importing layers, but you should do some searching on the difference between weight and non-weight blended if that concerns you much.

After you have created a layer-asset for each layer, you can either start hand painting or import a weight map for each layer by right clicking the layers:


And as for the extreme messyness of some of the Landscape example materials, sorry about that! I did work on some of those. Were you talking about the content example one that is very plain looking, or the separate Landscape project with the Hang Glider?

For the hang glider landscape material, the biggest thing making it a mess is that it was created before we had “Material Attributes” outputs for functions which can pass a whole set of material inputs with one single pin. And that material was originally made for tech demo purposes (elemental demo) and there wasn’t too much thought given to building something user-friendly. Then later when we needed a landscape example, that material got used again since we didn’t have much else to select from.

If the materials were cleaned up to reflect that more streamlined style it would make them significantly cleaner. I hope we get around to that sometime soon!

I’d also like to point out that the messy landscape material is extremely versatile but sometimes having too many options can still make it difficult to tweak to a desired end. Just about everything had a parameterized offset including normal/height blends between the layers and custom mixing of the macro textures inside the layer masks to create more noise.

Actually these three screenshots all use the same materials and textures, only the colors and blend options were changed, so there is really no upper limit to how tweakable a landscape material can become. It sounds like what we need to do is make it easier for people to understand what is going on to make it possible.

In the last image, the messy blend of rock/snow/dirt is the result of modulating the Imported Worldmachine layer weights with the texture displacement for each layer. To get good tiling in the distance there is a scaled up “Far” version of each texture in the material (yet another thing making it so huge, tiling params and blend distance for each), and the Far displacement is always combined with the up close displacement to keep the blend from appearing to change with distance.

Ryan, dude, everything is awesome. The only problem is people having expectations that making a kickass terrain should take them 2 hours of *** fiddling and they are done. I’ve spent 6 months on one landscape. I’ve revised the layout, geo and material dozens of times. It’s still not done. The material looks like a breakdown of the zapruder film there are so many connections and nodes.It takes work to make something good, if you put the time in you will get results.

Game development is about freedom and iteration- both of which UE4 has in spades.

Yeah there are a few things that could be improved, (please god let me see the terrain mesh in solid mode) but overall, the terrain and material system is one of the best in the business.

Also I’d like to point out- you can manipulate your level all you want. When you are ready to ship it- you could export the height map, bring it into WM, generate splats, and then setup your material if you really wanted to.

Hi Ryan, I appreciate the response. I wasn’t meaning to overly criticize, it’s just that the knowledge you’ve provided (about how to combine multiple methods) is nowhere to be seen in documentation or any other format so most beginning users are stuck with the default method of making a terrain material (the first video that posted) and a few others that don’t provide much freedom, and I don’t really expect them to be able to pick through the terrain example (the one on the Marketplace) and figure out what’s going on as it is very confusing for most. I get a lot of what is happening in that material, but most of it I will not use so I’ve been looking for another set up. And as for me saying that the material was not customizable, I should have been more clear I suppose; to a user trying to learn how it works, it seems like it’s geared for certain purposes (at first glance) and perhaps not immediately usable for an average user. Also, the pictures you posted do look extremely good, so thanks for sharing them. I do feel the need to apologize for the overhaul remark; clearly the system is more capable than I initially thought, but I do think that some more tutorials perhaps over what it’s capable of are definitely needed.

I really don’t know how you can assume something like that at all; I’ve been trying to get a good working set up that accomodates my needs for an extremely long time. The only expectation people have is having somewhat of a clear guide for them to go by in terms of usability for terrain materials, and what the users have to go by is what is freely available, and what is freely available may not be enough. For example: the layer sample node that Ryan was talking about; there is no way for me to have known what purpose it served as there seems to be no docs on it and ctrl-alt clicking on it just says that it’s a “material expression landscape layer sample” and I cannot extrapolate its entire use based on those 5 words alone.

Hey Ryan, are the three images there using the Landscape Mountains material?

I’ve started picking the material apart at work, that kind of versatility would be a life saver.

Kinda expensive though.

So, if I use this method I will need to separate the splatmap into 1 mask per image instead of keeping splatmap rgb with 1mask per channel? No way to keep the splatmap and still have those controls?

I believe if you want to import the splatmap so that it becomes regular paintable layer data, then yes. That said, you don’t have to make it paintable and if you don’t need to modify it by hand then you could keep it as a channel packed texture and just blend in the material.