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UE5: Placing Static Mesh Props Using Foliage Mode for Faster Environment Creation

Category: UE5
January 08, 2024

Foliage Mode is a great way to quickly populate landscapes with grass, bushes and trees.

But it doesn't have to be just foliage. You can use this mode to place Static Mesh props.

This will quickly, naturally and randomly position any Static Mesh prop into your environments.

Here is everything you need to know...

Video Tutorial

Foliage Mode

You'll find the Foliage Mode in the drop down menu:

  • Shift + 3 = Foliage Mode

Painting Meshes

Drag and drop from Content Browser any Static Mesh into Drop Foliage Here:

You can add as many Static Meshes here to paint with as you need. Once you added a Static Mesh, it will show up as an icon:

Select what you want to paint on: Landscapes, Static Meshes, BSP Brushes, Foliage, Translucent:

Choose Paint and begin painting. It will place selected Static Meshes onto surfaces you enabled.

You'll have 2 global properties to change at first:

  • Brush Size: changes the size of the foliage brush
  • Point Density: changes density of the foliage painted

Shortcut for changing Brush Size are bracket keys:

  • [ ] Bracket Keys = Change Brush Size

Note: make sure the Static Meshes you are painting on is NOT set to Movable, otherwise you won't be able to paint.

Make sure the checkmark is enabled for the Meshes you want to paint and place or disable if you don't want to paint those Meshes:

Fill tool will auto-populate any surface with enabled Mesh with a single click:

All Painting will be additive. You won't be able to take things away once painted. You can add things to by increasing the Paint Density but you can't remove if you lower that Paint Density.

To remove Painted meshes you can use Erase and Remove tool.

Selecting, Erasing, Removing Meshes

Use Erase to remove selected painted meshes:

If you are in Paint Mode, you can hold Shift to switch to Erase Mode.

You can use All to select all placed Meshes (Ctrl + A):

Then use Remove to remove all selected meshes:

With Lasso you can paint a selection using a Brush:

Deselect will clear the current selection:

Use Select to select one single mesh in order to modify it, move it, rotate it or delete it. You can also select multiple Foliage meshes by holding down the Ctrl button:

Options Menu for Each Foliage Set Static Mesh

You have 3 global options to control Brush, Density and Erase. However, each Foliage Type added will have its own menu with a lot of other options you'll need to adjust.

Click the Blue Button for Static Mesh Options menu to open or click on the Foliage Type icon:

Many options are listed here for changing how meshes are painted, placed and displayed:

Some important options you need to know about.


  • Density: changes painting density
  • Radius: changes distance between painted meshes, if your meshes overlap during painting then adjust Radius
  • Scale X: will randomly scale the size of painted meshes between Min and Max


  • Z Offset: will move the placement position from the pivot point to paint meshes into the ground and above ground
  • Align to Normal: will place meshes according the surface normals that you are painting
  • Random Yaw: will make meshes randomly rotate
  • Ground Slope Angle: will paint or disable painting of meshes at certain World Height

Instance Settings:

  • Mobility: paint meshes that are set to Static or Dynamic
  • Cast Shadows: do you want your meshes to cast shadows?
  • Collision: default is set to NoCollisions, if you want painted meshes to have collisions then choose BlockAll

Placing Single Meshes for Precision

Single will place a single selected mesh instance:

You can also click Single Instance Mode which will switch you over to the Single tool:

When Single is selected you'll have two options available to you: All Selected and Cycle Through Selected.

  • All Selected: Places a single instance of all selected foliage types.
  • Cycle Through Selected: Cycles through placing a single instance of each selected foliage type, placing only one type with each mouse click.

UE5: Retro Office Project

In the video I used assets that are included with "UE5 Retro Office Project" tutorial course. Learn to create and light beautiful interior environments from start to finish in only 9 hours with UE5. Get the course here...


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