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UE3 Home > Unreal Editor & Tools > Texture Paint Reference
UE3 Home > Level Designer > Texture Paint Reference

Texture Paint Reference


The Texture Paint tool allows you to paint textures on static meshes interactively in the level viewport.


You can paint on a single texture associated with multiple meshes with unique color values, and use that data however you'd like in your materials. You can easily edit multiple meshes at the same time and visualize your paint changes directly in the viewport.

Quick guide

Most of the texture paint features are pretty easy to learn, so if you want to jump right in here are the basic steps:

Texture Paint Mode

In order to summon and use the Texture Paint tool, you'll need to enter Mesh Paint Mode. Click the tool bar button on the left panel in the main editor frame.


Then toggle the radio button at the top of the tool panel to Textures.

Certain editor features are disabled in this mode to make painting easier, but you can still perform most of the common editor actions like camera movement and selection. Also, you'll notice that your perspective viewport will be forced into real-time mode which is a requirement of this system.

Painting on Meshes

Painting on meshes is easy!

The first thing to remember is that you can only paint on selected meshes. This helps you restrict painting to only specific objects, while still allowing you to paint across multiple selected mesh actors if necessary.

While Mesh Paint mode is active, selected actors will appear with a crosshair around them instead of the regular selection cue. After selecting one or more meshes, when you move the mouse over them you should see your paint brush.


You can think of the paint brush as a cylinder projected along the surface normal of the mesh geometry, centered at the point on the mesh under your cursor. The circular brush outline shows you the radius of the brush. The inner circle shows the brush's falloff (or inner radius.) The small line sticking out from center of the brush is the mesh surface normal.

To paint, hold down the Control key, then click and drag over the mesh's surface. You can also hold down the Shift key to erase instead.

Paint will be applied to the surface each time you click, and also each time the mouse position changes (dragging). Also, if brush flow is enabled, paint will be applied every time the scene is rendered.

Note that you can only paint in perspective viewport windows.

Paint Targets

When you switch to Texture Paint mode and select an actor that uses Texture2D objects, you will have the following options available:


Targets Description
UVChannelCombobox.jpg Contains the UV channels available for your current actor selection. The UV set chosen here will be used to map paint to the texture you have selected in the Texture Paint Target combo box.
TexturePaintTargetCombobox.jpg This combo box will contain a list of textures(Texture2D) used by your current actor selection. Use this combo box to select the texture you want to paint on. Any texture flagged as a normalmap will not be in the list of paintable textures.

Quick Access Description
FindInContentBrowserButton.jpg Will help you easily find your texture selection in the Content Browser (Ctrl + Shift + T).
CommitToTexture.jpg As you paint, you are modifying the texture source art. This will finalize your texture asset by doing the appropriate texture compression, MipMap generation, and thumbnail update (Ctrl + Shift + C). Don't worry if you forget to finalize, it happens automatically for each modified texture when you exit the tool.
SaveButton.jpg Will let you save the package that contains the currently selected texture.

Painting Colors

Texture Paint mode will allow you to paint color data (Red, Green, Blue) directly onto a mesh and that data will be mapped to your target texture using the UV set you select. This mode is useful when your material is configured to combine the texture color data with your pixel shader in some interesting way.

Color Option Description
paint_button.jpg The color that will be applied while painting (Ctrl + LMB + Drag). A swatch displays a preview of the current color. The color can be set using the Color Picker built-in to the tool.
erase_button.jpg The color to use as your "eraser" color while erasing (Ctrl + Shift + LMB + Drag). A swatch displays a preview of the current color. The color can be set using the Color Picker built-in to the tool.
swap_button.jpg Swaps the Paint color and Erase color.
channels_button.jpg These check boxes set which color/alpha channels should be affected by the paint brush.

Brush Settings

This section describes the various brush settings. Note that for the options controlled by sliders, you can click and drag to change the value quickly, or you can click and type in a number if needed.


Setting Description
Radius The radius of the brush in Unreal units. In addition, the brush has a depth-based falloff that's equal to half of this radius.
Strength Sets the amount of paint to apply each time you click or move the mouse cursor while painting is enabled. Also if brush flow is enabled, a percentage (flow amount) of the brush's strength will be applied to the surface.
Falloff Sets how the brush's strength falls off with distance. A falloff value of 1.0 means that the center of the brush is 100% strong and fades linearly towards the radius of the brush. A falloff value of 0.5 means that the brush is 100% strong half way towards the radius, then falls off linearly. A falloff value of 0.0 means the brush is 100% strong over the entire radius. Note that depth-based falloff is always active, regardless of this setting.
Enable brush flow This option configures the brush to apply paint every single render frame, even when you're not moving the cursor. It yields results similar to an airbrush.
Flow amount When Enable brush flow is turned on, this sets the strength of the brush when paint is applied every render frame, as a percentage of the brush's strength.

Setting up Materials

You can use any material you'd like as long as it makes use of at least one Texture2D that is not flagged as a normal map.

Here is a simple example of how you might use a paintable texture to blend between two diffuse textures in the material editor.