Quick Tip Series is created for beginners and advanced Unreal Engine 4 users.
These are quick, useful tips to help improve, refine, fix and remind you of tools, techniques and principles you may have not known or forgotten about.
All videos are very short, between 30 seconds to 3+ minutes.
The following Part 2 includes the following 10 Quick Tips and entirely focused on UE4 Landscapes:
UE4: Quick Tip Tutorial Series Part 2 (Tips #1-10) can be found here.
When you first create your landscape within a Default Level, you will see these black lines on your landscape.
The black lines outline each landscape component.
There is nothing wrong with your landscape but having these black lines is distracting to work with.
To fix this do ONE of the following:
I prefer to work with landscapes by having my Directional Light set to Movable. This allows me to work and test everything in real-time without having to build any lights. Then if the project requires Static Lighting, then I deal with that after landscape is done.
Open World Kite Demo is a great foliage asset pack from Epic Games you can use on your landscape.
Except the Field Grass is too dark and there is no way to adjust the Brightness within the Material Instance.
You can add Brightness Controls in the Material.
The Material you want is found inside KiteDemo folder, Environments/Foliage/Grass and FieldGrass folder. It is M_FieldGrass_01:
Add Multiply and a Scalar Parameter right before Base Color input and right after the Lerp.
Open up the Material Instance M_FieldGrass_Inst_01:
Enable the Brightness Parameter and increase it:
You now have Grass Brightness Controls:
In UE4 4.24+ we were introduced to new non-destructive landscape layers. This allows you to sculpt changes in the landscape non-destructively and place each sculpt effect into its own layer, like Photoshop.
You can then adjust each layer's influence on the terrain. This feature is very powerful and something many were asking for a long time.
Non-Destructive landscape layers are available in UE4 4.24 or later.
2 ways to enable Edit Layers on your landscape:
For New Landscapes go to Landscape Mode and Enable Edit Layers:
For Existing Landscapes select the landscape and in Details Panel and Enable Edit Layers:
The existing landscape and all the heightmap and painted data in it will become your base layer. You can now add additional layers and create changes in those layers.
Each layer can contain information for the heightmap sculpt and painted textures.
Each Sculpt Tool effect can be placed and contained within its own layer. This makes it very easy for you to adjust, erase or delete without destroying the other Sculpt effects on the terrain.
So you could have Sculpted the shape of the mountain on one layer, add Erosion on a second layer and add Noise or Smooth on the third layer.
Important things to remember:
As mentioned in the previous tip, each layer can contain information for the heightmap sculpt and painted textures.
When painting texture layers on the landscape, each non-destructive landscape layer can have one or more textures assigned to it. This gets a bit confusing so in this quick tip I explain the rules and guidelines for non-destructive landscape layer texture painting.
A heightmap is a grayscale texture that stores landscape height information. Black color is low elevations or valleys and white color are high elevations or peaks. All landscapes in UE4 rely on heightmap data to create the terrain.
When exporting heightmaps for UE4, follow this format:
You should use heightmap resolution listed in the Epic's Recommended Landscape Sizes.
For example, in Photoshop when you create a new document and set Width and Height, use dimensions in Overall Size (Vertices) column in the Epic's Recommended Landscape chart.
Using power of 2 texture sizes has created issues due to a stretching effect around the edges of landscapes.
My conclusion to use Epic's Recommended Landscape Sizes and not power of 2 texture sizes.
1px = 1meter
If your Landscape's Overall Resolution is 4033px by 4033px then the size of your landscape is 4033 meters by 4033 meters or 2.5 miles.
You can find overall resolution of the landscape when you create it using Landscape Mode:
Or on existing landscape, in the Details panel:
If you create a heightmap in external software you can define the texture resolution there and make sure you use the Epic's Recommended Landscape Sizes Chart shown in the previous tip.
In UE4 4.25+ and later the Landscape Mode has been changed where it appears within the editor.
Although it still works exactly the same way.
In 4.25+ you'll find the landscape mode under the Modes drop down menu in the main toolbar (new shortcut is Shift + 2):
You will have the Landscape panel on the left hand side and the Manage, Sculpt and Paint tabs will appear within the perspective viewport:
Shortcut to Landscape Mode:
To IMPORT heightmaps into UE4:
To EXPORT heightmaps into UE4:
These Quick Tips are a great start but if you need more in-depth explanation and knowledge on how to use all the landscape Sculpt tools in UE4, modify heightmap manually and create landscape materials then download this new, full and updated tutorial course "UE4 Fundamentals Vol.2: Landscape Essentials".
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