Landscape Edit Layers

Explains the Landscape Edit Layers feature for non-destructive layers and splines in heightmaps.

Choose your operating system:




Landscape Edit Layers enables you to edit Landscape Heightmaps and paint landscapes using non-destructive layers, and you can add multiple layers to your landscape that can be edited independently from each other. You can also reserve a layer for splines, which enables you to add and paint splines non-destructively. Adding, moving, and editing these splines automatically updates the non-destructive layer.

To use Landscape Edit Layers, check Edit Layers under the Manage tab when creating a new Landscape. Layers cannot be added retroactively to an existing Landscape; you will always need to create a new Landscape to use them in your project.

Enable edit layers when creating a new landscape

Toggling the layer system off after using the system results in the Editor destructively removing all layer data.

Adding Layers to Your Landscape

Instead of having one layer to sculpt a heightmap or paint materials, you can now add multiple layers to your landscape. These new layers function as a foundation for sculpting and painting a landscape, which allows you to manipulate and maintain landscapes more efficiently.

By default, you will always have one layer (Layer1), which is the initial base layer. To add a new layer, right-click the existing layer and select Create . You can also Rename a layer from this menu.

We recommend renaming your layers so you know which is the base layer, and which layers are ones you added. You can add as many layers to the landscape as you want.

The layer context menu with create and rename highlighted

Managing Layers

There are several options for managing your layers, which include: locking/unlocking layers, hiding/unhiding layers, and highlighting your layer with Layer Contribution.

Locking and Unlocking Layers

You can lock layers by selecting the Lock icon. The closed lock indicates the layer cannot be edited, and the open lock indicates the layer can be edited.

Locked layer message

Hiding and Unhiding Layers

If you want to exclude a layer from blending, you can select the eye icon to Hide the layer.

Hidden and unhidden eye icons

Highlighting Layers

To highlight your layer, you can turn on Layer Contribution . By highlighting your layer, you can see the entirety of your sculpted layer. The highlight will remain on your layer until you turn it off. To turn on Layer Contribution, navigate to Lit > Vizualizers > Layer Contribution . To see the layer's contribution to a heightmap, select the layer in Sculpt mode. To see the layer's contribution to a paint layer, select the layer in Paint mode.

Use a combination of these tools to effectively sculpt and paint your heightmap. For example, if you decide to paint Layer1 and do not lock your Base Layer, you can paint both layers. By hiding Layer1 you can see where you painted onto the Base Layer. However, if you lock the Base Layer before painting Layer1, the Base Layer will not have any changes.

Editing Layers

There are several ways you can edit your layer, which include: ordering layers, adjusting the alpha layer blending, and using the Erase tool.

Ordering Layers

You can drag and drop layers in any order. When you move layers, the order in which those layers display in the viewport changes.

dragging and dropping a layer

Adjusting Alpha Layer Blending

You can change the blending for each layer by adding or subtracting from the Alpha value. The viewport displays changes to the values in real time.

layer with alpha blend value highlighted

Each layer has two Alpha values, one to control heightmap blending and the other to control paint layers blending. Setting a negative heightmap Alpha value will result in a subtractive blend. Paint layers each have an additional flag to determine if blending is additive or subtractive.

subtractive blend checkbox

Erasing Height in Layers

If you use the Erase Tool on the layer, the sculpting reverts to the default layer height. Layer Contribution can be helpful when using the Erase Tool because the layer is easy to identify.

Erase tool in the modes toolbar

Using Non-Destructive Splines

Splines can now be created and managed in their own layer, separate from the base layer of the heightmap. This means that you can now edit, change, and move splines non-destructively and the landscape will terraform automatically.

To add a spline, first add a new layer. Right-click to Rename the layer, and then select Reserve for Splines . Select Continue at the prompt.

Reserve for splines in layer context menu

Reserved for plines layer message

You can edit splines using the Details panel, and adjust the spline using the Transform Controls. Changing the layer order also affects splines, which means parts of the spline can be hidden by the landscape depending on the layer order.

Additional Information

There are additional features to Landscape Edit Layers that enable you to build on your landscape easily and non-destructively. See the following features for additional information:

Help shape the future of Unreal Engine documentation! Tell us how we're doing so we can serve you better.
Take our survey