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Environments and Terrain Tools

Environments and Terrain Tools

10 min

Terrain tools allow you to create realistic landscapes like mountains, rivers, and canyons. This article explains the tools used for creating terrain.

Opening the Terrain Tools

From the Home tab, click on the Editor button to open the terrain editor.

The editor window is divided into Create, Region, and Edit sections, each outlined in detail below.


Create Tab

Generate

The Generate tool is used to create random landscapes. You can use this to quickly start a new landscape and then modify it based on your individual vision.

Attribute Description
Position / Size Determines the world position and overall size of terrain map to generate.
Biomes Determines which types of biomes will be generated, for example water, hills, and mountains.
Biome Size Sets the size of biomes within the overall terrain map size.
Caves Sets whether caves will be generated in the terrain map.
Seed The random number “seed” associated with the terrain map. Modifying the seed lets you make varied terrain with the same biome parameters.

Import

The Import tool lets you import heightmaps and colormaps. This feature is outlined further in the /articles/importing terrain data|Importing Terrain Data article.

Clear

The Clear tool completely clears all terrain from the place.


Region Tab

Tools in the Region tab speed up terrain creation by letting you work with large areas.

Manipulating Regions

To select and manipulate a region:

  1. Click the Select tool.
  2. Click and drag to create a region bounding box.
  3. Manipulate the region with the Move, Resize, and Rotate tools. These tools are very similar to how they're used with parts.

Duplicating Regions

You can also copy and paste full selected regions — just click Copy and then Paste to create a new region. Once you’ve pasted the region, use the Move and Rotate tools to position it.

Filling and Deleting

You can even fill or delete entire regions with a material:

Filled region
Deleted region
Merging Empty Regions

When you select a region, you also select all the “air” inside that region. When editing regions — moving, resizing, etc. — the Merge Empty option affects the outcome.

If Merge Empty is on, Studio will combine the selected region with its surroundings. This is useful if you want to make sure a region naturally merges with what's around it, as shown here between the ice and stone.
If Merge Empty is off, Studio doesn't merge the region with what's currently there. This is useful if you want to keep a region exactly like it was built, as seen here by the “air” region remaining when the ice block is moved.


Edit Tab

Add / Subtract

The Add and Subtract tools are useful for building the majority of your environment, before you start fine-tuning details. These tools contain various attributes:

Attribute Description
Brush Shape The shape of the brush; either a sphere, cube, or cylinder.
Base Size / Height The size of the brush, ranging from 1 to 64. To set a Height that's different from the base size, click the small "lock" icon and select/enter a new value.
Brush at largest size
Brush at smallest size
Pivot Position The vertical anchor point of the brush in relation to existing terrain (bottom, center, or top).
Snap to Grid Whether or not the brush stays aligned to the terrain grid.
Ignore Water Whether or not to ignore water when adding or subtracting non-water terrain. For example, you can toggle this on to avoid removal of water when using the Subtract tool.
Auto Material When using the Add tool, blends new terrain with surrounding terrain.
Materials The appearance of new terrain when using the Add tool, for example ice, sand, water, or grass. Note that you can customize the color of these terrain materials.

Using the Terrain Grid

When using the Add or Subtract tool, you’ll see a grid appear at your mouse. All terrain is created on this grid. As you click and drag your mouse to edit terrain, notice that the terrain is affected by the angle of the grid. Tilting and rotating the camera will change the grid angle.

Grid aligned flat along the ground
Grid aligned at 45° angle to ground

Grow

The Grow tool slowly fills in areas with terrain which is useful for adding hills or smoothing out gaps. This tool includes the following additional options:

Attribute Description
Strength How much the tool affects the terrain you're sculpting, ranging from 0.1 to 1.
Plane Lock Keeps the plane locked while the mouse button is held down.

Erode

The Erode tool slowly removes terrain. This is useful for creating caves, canyons, rivers, and lakes.

Smooth

The Smooth tool smoothes out terrain in the selected area. This is useful for making jagged terrain more natural and getting rid of sharp corners.

Flatten

The Flatten tool lets you create completely flat terrain, ideal for areas where you may want to place buildings or roads. In addition to the various attributes outlined above, this tool includes:

Attribute Description
Flatten Mode
Erode to Flat — Given a plane to flatten on, only terrain above the plane is removed.
Grow to Flat — Given a plane to flatten on, only terrain below the plane is filled in.
Flatten All — Given a desired plane to flatten on, a perfectly flat surface is generated (terrain above the plane is removed and terrain below the plane is filled in).
Fixed Plane When toggled on, locks the flatten plane to a specific Y position as defined by Plane Position. The plane's position can either be manually entered or selected with the "eyedropper" tool next to the value input field.

Paint

The Paint tool changes the terrain’s current material, for example grass, rock, or water. This is useful for adding variations like dirt and rock patches in a grass field.

Sea Level

The Sea Level tool lets you create a consistent water level across any region. To use it, enter a X/Y/Z position and size, then click Create to flood the region with water or Evaporate to remove water.


Customizing Terrain

Terrain can be further customized by adjusting material colors or enabling decorations. These options are controlled through the Terrain object within Workspace.

Material Colors

Each terrain material like rock, ice, or grass has a default color, but you can customize these if desired. For example, if you’re building an arctic world or a volcanic wasteland, terrain colors may be adjusted to fit the theme.

  1. In the Properties window, expand the AppearanceMaterialColors branch.
  1. Enter or select a new RGB value for any material and the terrain will update dynamically.
Default colors
Customized colors

Water Properties

Water color and other water effects are controlled through separate properties in the Appearance section:

Property Description
WaterColor Changes water color from the default "aqua blue" to any other color. This is useful for creating water that looks like lava, slime, oil, etc.
WaterReflectance Adjusts how much water surfaces reflect the sky and other objects, from a value of 1 (high reflection) to 0 (no reflection).
WaterTransparency Changes water clarity/transparency, from a value of 1 (fully clear) to 0 (totally opaque, like paint).
WaterWaveSize Controls the size of waves on water, from a value of 1 (larger waves) to 0 (no waves).
WaterWaveSpeed Controls the speed of the moving/flowing effect on water surfaces, from a value of 100 (very fast) to 0 (non-moving water).

Decoration

All terrain of the Grass material can be decorated with animated blades of grass by toggling on Decoration.

Decoration off
Decoration on
Tags:
  • building
  • terrain
  • land
  • water