Adding a Simple material node

Watch the tutorial video.

The Simple material node creates a material, which can then be applied to terrain with an Apply material node.

A material is a set of repeating textures (tiles) that can be applied to different places on a terrain according to rules based on elevation and slope. Each layer of a material contains exactly one sub-material. A sub-material contains a set of textures that correspond to a single effect, for example, a rock sub-material or a grass sub-material.

Below is an example of different sub-materials.

A material allows different sub-materials to be combined together using one sub-material per layer.

By default, the material created is composed of four layers:

  • Two layers of rock.
  • A layer of grass.
  • A layer of snow.

Below is an example of terrain before and after applying the default material:

To add a Simple material node, right-click in the Graph Editor and select Create Node > Materials > Simple material or press the keyboard shortcut NSMA (Node Simple MAterial).

Double click on the node to open its parameters.

Downloading sub-materials

Sub-materials are not installed by default. You need to download them.

If sub-materials are not yet downloaded, the images in the Simple material parameters window are crossed out:

  • Click on Click here to download sub-materials in the Simple material parameters window to download the sub-materials. A window appears to display the download progress.
  • Once the materials are downloaded, click on Click here to select a sub-material in the Simple material parameters window to choose a sub-material for a layer:

A window opens to let you choose a sub-material from the list of sub-materials in Instant Terra:

  • The symbol indicates that the sub-material has not yet been downloaded.
  • The symbol indicates that the sub-material has already been downloaded and is on the user's hard drive.

If a sub-material that has not yet been downloaded is selected, the following window appears:

  • The Download the selected sub-material button allows you to download only the selected sub-material.
  • The Select the sub-materials to download button opens the window displaying the list of sub-materials again to select the sub-materials to download. Click on a sub-material to select it. A red cross then appears at the bottom right. Click a sub-material again to deselect it.



    Once the sub-materials to download have been selected, click OK.
  • Clicking on Download all sub-materials button downloads all the sub-materials that have not yet been downloaded.

Whichever option you choose, the download starts and a window displays the progress:

  • Clicking Cancel cancels the download.

Sub-materials already downloaded remain downloaded.

Editing the Simple material node

Once a sub-material is selected, its name and a preview image appear in the layer that contains it in the Simple material parameters window.

The Empty button in the Simple material parameters window allows you to remove all layers of the material and start with an empty material. The Default button allows you to return to the default material.


  • To choose another sub-material, click on the picture of the sub-material.
  • If the Material node is linked to an Apply material node, click to display in the 3D view the terrain on which the material is applied.
  • Click to return to the display of the material.
  • creates a new layer.
  • The Size slider adjusts the size of the sub-material.

Increase in size:

Decrease in size:

  • The Intensity slider adjusts the intensity, i.e. the layer opacity.
    If the intensity is equal to 100%, the layer is completely opaque and completely masks the previous layers.
    If the intensity is less than 100%, the layer is partially transparent, and reveals the previous layer .

Below is an example of a grass layer with an intensity of 100% (left image) and an intensity of 50% right image), which reveals the previous layer, a layer of rock.

Intensity = 100%       Intensity = 50%

If all the layers are partially transparent, the color of the terrain color map will be visible, if it has a color map. Otherwise, the color given by the terrain color ramp is visible.

  • The different layers of a material are displayed successively. The order of the layers is therefore important since a layer will be displayed above the previous ones.
    • change the order of the layers by moving a layer up or down.
    • disables or enables a layer, which is useful for viewing the effect of a layer.
    • deletes a layer.

Adjusting the altitude

Once the sub-materials have been chosen, the next step is to determine the places on the terrain where each of the layers will apply. To do this, click on Edit layers in the parameters window.

Instant Terra displays the window for editing the material layers:

  • For each of the layers of the material, you can define the altitude as well as the slope of the zones of the terrain on which the layer of the material will be applied.

The left part of the window is used to define the minimum and maximum altitude of the areas of the terrain on which the material layer will be applied. In the example above,

  • The layer containing the Brown rock sub-material is applied everywhere.
  • The layer containing the sub-material Yellow-green grass will only be applied to the lowest parts of the terrain, up to a certain altitude.
  • The layer containing the Regular snow sub-material will be applied to the highest parts of the terrain.

To modify the parameters of a layer, position the mouse cursor on the lower or upper part of the bar representing the layer. A black dot appears. Click on the black dot and move the mouse up or down while holding the button down. Instant Terra displays the altitude limit, between 0% and 100%.

You can define a transition between the layers by tilting more or less the upper part or the lower part of the rectangle representing the layer:

Example of a sharp transition:

Example of a smooth transition:

By default, the minimum and maximum elevations of the layers are relative to the terrain elevations. 0% corresponds to the lowest altitude point and 100% corresponds to the highest altitude point.

  • Absolute altitudes in meters can be used by checking the Use absolute elevations box:

The minimum and maximum altitudes in meters to be used can be defined.

Warning: If certain parts of the terrain are located at an altitude lower than the minimum altitude, or at an altitude higher than the maximum altitude, no material layer can be applied to these parts of the terrain.

Adjusting slopes

The right part of the window is used to determine for each layer the minimum slope and the maximum slope of the zones of the terrain on which the layer will be applied.

The slope varies from 0° (flat terrain) to 90° (vertical cliff).

Editing is done in the same way as for altitudes.

Both criteria are cumulative. For a layer to be applied to part of the terrain, its altitude and its slope must respect the limits defined for this layer. If you want to apply a sub-material if the elevation or slope is within the limits - or apply a sub-material to both the lower and upper part of the terrain - you can create multiple layers that will use the same sub-material.

See also:
Introduction to materials
Apply material node
Material node
Advanced material node
Simple material node - Tutorial video

Parameters

Parameter Description
Click here to download sub-materials Downloads the sub-materials to the hard drive.
Click here to select a sub-material Opens the selection of sub-materials for a layer.
Download the selected sub-material Downloads the selected sub-materials to the hard drive.
Download all sub-materials Downloads all sub-materials to the hard drive.
Select the sub-materials to download Opens a window to select the sub-materials to download.
Default Returns to the default material.
Empty Removes all layers of the material and start with an empty material.
Show terrain Displays in the 3D view the terrain on which the material is applied.
Show material Returns to the display of the material.
Creates a new layer.
Size Adjusts the size of the sub-material.
Intensity Adjusts the intensity, i.e. the layer opacity.
Changes the order of the layers by moving a layer up or down.
Disables or enables a layer, which is useful for viewing the effect of a layer.
Deletes a layer.
Edit layers Determines the places on the terrain where each of the layers will apply.
Use absolute elevations Uses the absolute altitudes in meters.

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