So in order to learn Surface Scatter you can either watch this tutorial 👆 or read the summary of the video 👇
Getting Started with Surface Scatter
Surface Scatter is an easy to use tool that lets you scatter assets in Unreal Engine 5 with full control. To start using Surface Scatter, you have 2 options, either you type "scatter" in Dash to bring up the Surface Scatter tool and give it your surface and object (or objects) you want scattered from within the environment, or you can open the Dash Content Library and drag in an object while holding CTRL and dropping it in your environment, that will give you a list of options, including Scatter Here and Scatter on Selected.
By using Scatter on Selected you can scatter on top of most things, even on other scattered objects in your UE5 environment. But usually using the Scatter Here option is recommended as you can just drop it on top of the object/surface you want to scatter on top off.
If you have closed the Surface Scatter panel for a Scatter Instance, you can always select the scattered objects in the viewport and a little setting icon will appear in Dash that will bring back the settings for that specific instance of Surface Scatter.
You can of course create several Surface Scatter instances if you want to scatter on several locations or if you want to scatter several objects with different settings rather than adding several objects in one Surface Scatter instance. Initial Customization Surface Scatter would not be one of our best tools for UE5 if it did not let you easily customize the results. You can adjust the number of object instances using density and customize the scale values using the maximum and minimum scale options. Additionally, you can sort scaling by various factors to further customize your scattered assets. Creating Variation with Noise Scale Noise scale is a powerful feature that allows you to create subtle variations in the scattered assets, preventing uniformity. This is particularly useful for creating realistic grass. You can adjust the noise scale settings to achieve the desired effect.
Aligning Scatter Meshes with Surface Normals The surface align feature in Surface Scatter forces the scatter meshes to align with the surface normals of the object being scattered upon. This ensures a seamless integration of the scattered assets with the environment.
Fine-Tuning Asset Placement with Sink The sink option in Surface Scatter allows you to adjust the height of the scattered instances above or below the surface. This provides precise control over the placement of assets in your environment.
Generating Random Variants with Seed The seed option in Surface Scatter generates random variants of the scattered meshes based on the input parameters provided. This adds an element of unpredictability and natural variation to your environment.
Feature Masking Surface Scatter offers various masking options through feature masking. The angle mask option constrains the scattered assets based on a specific angle on the surface. This allows you to control the visibility of assets based on their orientation. There also exist other masking features to get even more control.
Creating Realistic Environments with Custom Scaling The use of custom scale in Surface Scatter allows for fine precision over the scale of each asset placed in the environment. This feature takes into account the natural variation inherent to objects like plants, resulting in a more realistic scattering effect.
Proximity-Based Asset Placement Surface Scatter provides a proximity tool that enables you to set asset scattering based on physical proximity to an object in the environment. This tool works with any mesh or curve and offers precise control over asset placement.
Utilizing Curves for Scattering In Surface Scatter, you can use curves to define the shape of the scattered assets. By drawing a curve, you can adjust the sampling to control how well the curve affects the surrounding meshes. This tool provides flexibility and creativity in asset placement.
Masking with Object Masks Object masking in Surface Scatter is a precise way to control asset placement. By using a specific mesh or curve as a mask, you can ensure that the scatter assets only spawn in the vicinity of the mask. This feature allows for accurate and controlled asset distribution.
Vertex Color Masking for Advanced Control Vertex color masking in Surface Scatter enables you to use vertex colors to control the placement of assets. By applying specific vertex colors to the environment, you can selectively scatter assets based on those colors. This feature provides advanced control and flexibility in asset placement.
Texture Masking for Added Realism Texture masking in Surface Scatter allows you to load textures from the Unreal Engine content browser and use them as masks. This feature offers additional options for controlling asset placement, including color threshold and texture tiling. With texture masking, you can create detailed and realistic environments.
Creating Natural Breakup with Border Distance Surface Scatter provides features like border distance, spread, and scale to help break up the edges of scatter fields. By adjusting these settings, you can create a natural breakup along the border of the scatter mask, resulting in a more organic and visually appealing environment.
Creating Smooth Transitions with Falloff Falloff is a powerful tool in Surface Scatter that creates smooth transitions in scale from the tip of the mask to the center. This allows for a more natural appearance of scattered assets. By adjusting the falloff sharpness, you can further refine the transitions and achieve the desired effect.
Final Tips Surface Scatter and its various features offer endless possibilities for creating stunning environments in Unreal Engine 5. Whether you are building a post-apocalyptic scene with scattered objects or a natural landscape with realistic vegetation, Surface Scatter provides the flexibility and control you need to bring your vision to life. Creating complex scenes in UE can be a time-consuming task. However, with Surface Scatter, you can significantly reduce the time spent on scene creation. By hand-placing assets and using object masking, you can precisely control the placement of scattered assets, resulting in a visually appealing and immersive environment. Using with transparent materials as bounding boxes for scattering is a technique that can greatly optimize asset placement. By specifying the exact locations where you want the scattered assets to appear, you can achieve a more controlled and efficient workflow. This technique is particularly useful for placing trees or other objects in the background of a scene. Surface Scatter is a powerful tool in Dash that empowers artists and designers to create stunning environments in Unreal Engine with ease. With its intuitive interface and extensive set of features, Surface Scatter offers unparalleled flexibility and control over asset placement. Whether you are working on a small indie project or a large-scale production, Surface Scatter will undoubtedly enhance your workflow and bring your creative vision to life.
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