Working with terrain

Terrain is a type of system object that can be sculpted using a special set of tools while editing a scene. Each terrain object begins as a flat plane that can extend up to 256 meters per side. Using the terrain editing tools, you may then raise or lower the surface of the terrain, with several options to affect the strength and hardness of the changes. You may also paint the terrain with up to four terrain textures per terrain type.

Adding terrain to a scene

To add terrain to a scene:

  1. While editing the scene, click the System Objects tab at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Click the Terrain tab under System Objects.
  3. Choose from the available terrain material types, and drag one into your scene.
  4. The terrain appears as a flat plane in your scene. When you select it, a set of terrain editing tools appears in the toolbar at the top of the screen.
default_terrain.png
A default terrain object after it has been added to the scene. Use the editing tools in the toolbar at the top of the screen to raise, lower, flatten, smooth, or harden the terrain.

Terrain properties

Edit a terrain object's properties by selecting it and choosing the Properties button, or by finding the terrain object in the Scene Objects panel, right-clicking it, and choosing Properties. You may edit the following properties of a terrain object:

terrain_properties.png
Properties for a default terrain object.
  • Position - Determine the position of the terrain within the scene. Note that the position is measured from the corner of the terrain object rather than the center.
  • Rotation - Determine the rotation of the terrain within the scene. As with position, the terrain rotates about its corner rather than its center.
  • ChunksX - Determine how far to extend the terrain along its X axis. Terrain extends in 32x32 meter "chunks", up to 8 chunks per axis, for a maximum of 256x256 meters.
  • ChunksY - Determine how far to extend the terrain along its Y axis. Terrain extends in 32x32 meter "chunks", up to 8 chunks per axis, for a maximum of 256x256 meters.
  • MaterialType - Determines the set of terrain textures available for the terrain. This is initially set by the type of terrain you choose from the Terrain panel in System Objects, but may be changed later by selecting from this dropdown menu:
    • Default - Default terrain textures that include dirt, stone, and grass.
    • Desert - Desert-themed textures, including sand, dirt, and stone.
    • Tundra - Snow and ice-themed textures.
    • Tropical - Dirt and vegetation-themed textures, darker than the default grass and dirt.
  • TintColor - Tint the entire terrain object with the selected color.

Sculpting terrain

Once you have added terrain to a scene, you may select it to begin using sculpting tools to raise, lower, flatten, smooth, and harden the terrain. Here are the available tools:

terrain_sculpt.png
The Terrain toolbar as seen when Sculpt mode is selected.
  • Lock - Prevent any further changes to the terrain, including sculpting, painting, or moving. Click again to unlock.
  • Round brush - Use a round brush to sculpt the terrain.
  • Rectangular brush - Use a rectangular brush to sculpt the terrain.
  • Size - Use sliders to adjust the brush's Size (m) in meters and Aspect ratio. A brush with a high aspect ratio becomes a long, but narrow oblong shape.
  • Angle (degrees) - Adjust the rotation of the brush. Most noticeable with the rectangular brush, or when using an aspect ratio greater than 1.
  • Strength - Adjust how quickly the brush affects the terrain. At high values, the terrain is altered very quickly. Use lower values for more control as the terrain gradually changes.
  • Hardness - Adjust how uniformly you want the terrain to raise or lower. Raising terrain at low values creates a "spike" shape: a sharp peak with sloped edges, while raising terrain with a high hardness value creates more of a "mesa" shape with a relatively flat top and steep walls at the edges.
    Terrain_low_and_high_hardness.png
    Example terrain Raised with a rectangular brush, with low and high Hardness values.
  • Noise - Creates uneven "roughness" in the affected terrain. Higher values create higher peaks and valleys in the rough area.
    Terrain_noise.png
    Example of terrain that has been Flattened with a high Noise value.
  • Raise - Raises the terrain under the brush.
  • Lower - Lowers the terrain under the brush.
  • Soften - Attempts to smooth the terrain by reducing peaks and raising valleys, creating more gradual slopes and softening angles.
    Terrain_soften.png
    Example of sharp-edged terrain that has been passed over with a Soften brush.
  • Harden - Attempts to accentuate peaks and valleys, creating sharper angles and more dramatic changes in elevation.
  • Flatten - Attempts to set the height of terrain under the brush to the height where you first pressed the left mouse button. This can be used as a sort of eraser to remove unwanted terrain changes, or to expand terrain at a specific elevation.

Painting terrain

Each terrain material type allows you to paint the terrain with up to four complementary textures, determined by the material type. To begin painting the currently selected terrain, click Paint in the toolbar at the top of the screen. 

The brush options are very similar to those used for sculpting terrain:

terrain_-_paint.png
The Terrain toolbar as seen when Paint mode is selected.
  • Lock - Prevent any further changes to the terrain, including sculpting, painting, or moving. Click again to unlock.
  • Round brush - Select a round brush for painting the terrain.
  • Rectangular brush - Select a rectangular brush for painting the terrain.
  • Size - Use sliders to adjust the brush's Size (m) in meters and Aspect ratio. A brush with a high aspect ratio becomes a long, but narrow oblong shape.
  • Angle (degrees) - Adjust the rotation of the brush. Most noticeable with the rectangular brush, or when using an aspect ratio greater than 1.
  • Strength - Adjust how quickly the brush paints the terrain. At lower values, the terrain fades very slowly to the new texture.
  • Hardness - Adjust how quickly the strength of the brush fades at the edges. At low values, the terrain is painted quickly at the center of the brush, but very slowly at the edges, creating a soft transition.
  • Noise - Creates a pattern in the brush where the terrain is not painted, creating a more complex overlap of the two textures.
    Terrain_texture_noise.png
    Examples of painted terrain textures with low Noise (left) and high Noise (right).
  • Add - Click and drag to use the brush to paint the selected texture onto the terrain.
  • Fill - Replace the entire terrain's texture with the selected texture.
  • Remove - Use the brush to erase the selected texture by replacing it with the first texture in the Paint with this texture list.
  • Soften - Use the brush to create a more gradual transition on the edge between two textures.
  • Paint with this texture - Select from four textures to paint onto the terrain. The four textures are determined by the terrain's material type.

Automatic texture painting with elevation changes

Sansar attempts to automatically paint textures based on changes in elevation. For example, you may notice that steep hills in terrain using the default material type show a stone-like texture at steep angles, rather than the default grass texture. These automatic texture changes can be overridden by simply painting over them with the terrain painting tools.

Terrain_texture_transition_2.png
The default green grass texture has partially transitioned to a gray stone texture on the steep sides of this terrain.
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