Custom Terrain Blending Tool for UE4
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Custom Terrain Blending Tool for UE4
20 December, 2016
News

A student from Digital Arts and Entertainment (in Kortrijk, Belgium) is developing a tool for UE4 to blend static meshes with the environment as his graduation project. With this tool he wants to remove the harsh seam that player sees when a static mesh intersects with a landscape actor.

It was 2016 GDC talk by Dice about Star Wars Battlefront, which presented in-engine tools to blend together natural meshes and the environment, that inspired the artist. In this presentation DICE showcased some in-engine tools to blend together natural meshes and the environment.

So the solution I currently have is based on the Distance Fields functionality in Unreal 4. I didn’t come up with this idea, I saw a forum-post about someone fusing meshes together by using Distance Fields. I use the DistanceToNearestSurface node to automatically detect the intersection between the terrain and a mesh. I combine this with a noise mask to get a nice procedural material transition.

What really sells the effect is the adjustment of the vertex normals of the mesh. This removes the ugly lighting seam caused by intersecting geometry. To adjust the normals of the mesh to the normals of the surrounding area, I use the DistanceFieldGradient node. This system can be a bit finnicky and took a lot of tweaking to get right, but I’m pretty happy with the result.

I currently have created three variants of this material. One automatically detects the landscape intersection, the second one uses a vertex-paint mask and the third one is a combination of the two. 

You can follow the progress on the tool here.

Author: Artyom Sergeev
Source: Polycount
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3 Comments on "Custom Terrain Blending Tool for UE4"

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garrettorious
Member
garrettorious

Are you just setting the normals to Z-up, or are you deriving something smarter from the distance field?

NicB
Guest
NicB

80.lv, Somehow presenting something that has been standard practice for over a decade as a gimmick. Great job.

Awesome job from the person who actually did the work, just a shame 80.lv caters to talentless hacks who love click-bait and one button plugin solutions for everything.

Hushpuppy
Member
Hushpuppy

I love this please release this as a tool into the UE4 updates!

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