I came back to a project I worked on months ago creating landscape materials.
I couldn't make sense of my own work - wires running everywhere, material expressions all over the place. It took me few hours to sort it all out and it wasn't a very complex material.
I can't have this happen again. It is my own material and I couldn't understand what the hell I did.
Even worse, if I had to give that material to anyone else they wouldn't know what to do with it. We probably wouldn't be friends any more.
I can't waste time trying to make sense of my own work.
So here are 3 ways I organize all my materials in UE4. I now know what everything does and if I come back to it months later I'll continue where I left off.
Each material expression can have a description that will be visible inside the Material Editor. A description can be added to any expression.
Select the node you will see a small box with 3-dots pop up above and to the left:
Left Click on it and enter a description:
Another way to add a description is go to Details panel and under Desc field, enter your text.
Adding comment boxes around a series of expressions is probably the best way to organize your materials.
Left-Click Hold and Drag a marquee selection around series of material expressions.
Then press C to create a Comment Box. Name the Comment Box:
Do this to a series of expressions that perform something within the Material Editor. Below I created comment boxes around Roughness, Normal Maps, Color, Pixel Depth and so on:
You can see how more organized this becomes and easy to understand what is going on.
Reroute nodes are a way to create an "extension cord" functionality from which you can drag additional wires from.
Below I have wires running from a single Clamp that goes through the entire material setup. This creates chaotic visual mess.
If you Double Click on the Connection Wire, it will create a Reroute Node within it:
You can then reposition this Reroute Node and use it to connect to other Material Expressions helping you create a better visual wire flow:
Also, you can Left Click Hold and Drag a wire from a material expression then let go of the mouse button. Search menu will pop up. Search for Reroute and insert it:
Now you have a Reroute node ready to be used:
Learn EVERYTHING you need to know for how to create/sculpt landscapes and create/paint landscape materials entirely in UE4 without any external software with "UE4 Fundamentals Vol.2: Landscape Essentials".
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