Tessellation on Terrain?

So i have been honing my skills with tessellation and created some nice ground materials using tessellation which i have just been using on grided meshes - I went to apply it to an actual terrain actor and it kind of falls apart, it tessellates but i can’t seam to get the same detail out of it using the terrain tool since the grid sizes on the terrain are too small regardless of the settings i use.

Am i doing something wrong? Does anyone know how i can use tessellated materials on terrain or is this just not supported at the current time?

Tessellation doesnt work with landscapes, as far as i know.

Hi CharlestonS,

I would caution you against using tessellated materials on landscapes. The landscape does not react well to tessellation and you will end up with weird spikes all over your landscape. For an idea of what I mean, look here: Why am I seeing problems with Landscape Spikes? - UE4 AnswerHub.

Tessellation DOES sometimes work with landscapes, but boy it’s slow.

Based on snippets of info about tessellation that I’ve seen recently it seems like you’re better off adding more vertices to your terrain than you are to use tessellation. Tessellation isn’t an optimisation - it’s a development shortcut with a cost associated with it. In fact, the only time I’ve used tessellation so far is when I’ve wanted to tessellate a single face so that I can apply vertex waves to it, ie. water.

If you need more resolution on your landscape you’ll get the same effect from doubling your heightmap size and applying a slight gaussian blur, but without the massive performance hit.

Thanks for the reply Adam, i did have those spikes at first but i was able to tweak the material to get rid of them, what seams to be happening now is that the height map of the displacement gets integrated into the overall heightmap rather than being aligned with the texture itself…

I know the engine is still being updated but being able to use tessellated materials on terrain should be supported, i think it’s almost as important as full real-time lighting and reflective translucent surfaces for next-gen rendering.

At the very least it would be nice to have terrain style sculpting tools or at least Smoothing for vertex paint on meshes, right now i’m using a grid mesh for my terrain with height being applied as vertex paint alpha and materials being blended via RGB but there is no smooth tool that i know of for vertex paint and the collision of the mesh isn’t affected by the tessellation.

Why aren’t you using the landscape tools? Those have all the scultping/painting abilities you want.

Please read the thread post and title.

I got it working! After messing around with my material a bit i was able to get almost the same results as the grided mesh on the landscape actor, here is a screen grab of the result.

Now i just need to add the blendables so i can paint the materials.

Hi, nice work!

Did you ever get material blending to work with this? Did this method end up being practical for decent sized environments? Also, did you add something to lower the tessellation as you get further away?

I been wondering can I model all these on Maya LT and just use is at a textures? Would it effect the processing time for both CPU and GPU? Is it also possible to make it a lower detail, but still provides higher quality visual and physics? I want to create an actual ground that can be molded by a player’s footsteps, vehicles, or other objects.

After playing Battlefield 4 I realized almost all their textures are just images and I feel like it should be modeled and would like to know if its possible on Unreal Engine?

Actually yes i did, i got it working with up to 3 materials blended together per terrain with distance based tessellation lod, you can see how it looks in this thread i put up a while ago featuring some tall grass i was testing.

I’ve been trying to get displacement working on my landscape material but so far have only managed to create a sea of giant spikes. Could you post a shot of your material please and maybe explain how it works? Thanks!

The material is actually available on the Marketplace in my Advanced Material Pack Edition 2 which you can see here -

Can I get a screenshot for the landscape material? I’d buy the material pack if I could…

Not to be a jerk, but has this issue really been open since 2016 (I looked at ticket 38815 and it’s unresolved, and I am experiencing the same problem in UE4.12)? Or has it somehow reopened…?

Still, great product and I understand if this is not a priority; so many great things coming out with each version!

@TomShirk I do still have this issue. do you?

I have not honestly looked at this in some time.