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CryEngine 3 SDK: Terrain Layer Texture Painting

Category: CryEngine 3 SDK
October 24, 2011

We continue with CryEngine 3 SDK tutorials. If you are just starting to learn and use CryEngine 3 SDK, start here.

In this tutorial we cover how to paint textures on terrain by using Layer Texture Painter.

Topics covered:

  • How to define textures for your terrain
  • How to paint textures on your terrain
  • Terrain Texture Layer window
  • Importance of layer textures and layer materials
  • Painting textures on specific terrain altitudes and slopes


To open up the Terrain Texture Layers window, go up to Terrain -->Texture

Terrain Texture Layers window allows you to define textures and material to be applied and painted on the terrain.

Right now, all we have is the default checkered texture on our terrain. We are going to change that.

Basic workflow is you add layers, define each layer's texture and material. Then you are able to paint those textures and materials on the terrain.

Layer Tasks allows you to Add/Delete/Move layers and Assign Materials.


It is very important to understand how Layer Texture and and Layer Material work in CryEngine terrain.

Basically you have far away and color information texture (layer texture) and close up detail texture (layer material).

Depending how far the player is to the terrain area, CryEngine will display either layer texture (color information only) or layer material (detail).

Below is an example of the switch. Detail layer material is in the middle, while the layer texture is around it. Layer Material provides detail only. Not color information.

Color is defined by layer texture.

You can see this shift in the terrain any time you move close or far away from the terrain.

You can define the distance at which these two switch by going to RollupBar --> Terrain --> Environment --> DetailLayersViewDistRation


You have to set both, layer texture and layer material for this to work and to be able to paint textures properly.

Click on Change Layer Texture to change it.

Choose low 4x4 pixel grey.dds texture. You can find it in game/textures/default folder. This is the standard texture that is used in CryEngine Forest map to define layer textures.

To change layer material, click on the material and replace it.

Material Editor will open and point to the current checkered terrain material. We want to replace it.

Navigate into terrain folder and choose another material. Select it but do not close the window just yet.

Jump over to Terrain Texture Layers window, with Material window open.

Click on Assign Material.


To see the changes you will have to go to File --> Generate Surface Texture

This will build your surface textures for the terrain. Higher dimensions will give you better quality. Use the defaults for work in progress, but once you are ready to build your final map, you may want to raise the texture dimensions and choose High Quality.


Right now everything is washed out white. That is because we haven't painted our color information in. We only set up our layer texture and materials.

Here below I've added extra layers and defined Layer Textures and Layer Materials.

To change layer name, simply double-click on the layer name and change it.


We can now begin to paint our layer textures/material on the terrain.

Go to RollupBar --> Terrain --> Layer Painter

Scroll down and you can see the layers we created earlier. By choosing the layer, you can paint the set Layer Texture/Material.

Select the layer you want to paint.

Set the color you want to paint. Click on the color and select the color.

Make sure you hit Apply so CryEngine remembers the color you set.

Set Brush Settings by selecting Radius and Hardness of the brush.

In perspective viewport, Left-Click and paint the layer you selected. You will paint the Layer Texture (color information) and Layer Material (detail) on your terrain.

You can also set specific Altitude and Slope for that layer only. This will allow you to paint a lot quicker and at certain altitudes and slopes.


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My name is AlexG. I am self-taught level designer, game environment artist and the creator of World of Level Design.com. I've learned everything I know from personal experimentation and decades of being around various online communities of fellow environment artist and level designers. On World of Level Design you will find tutorials to make you become the best level designer and game environment artist.

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