ArtfixTerra 3D Terrain Editor - Sophisticated Landscape editing and painting (MMORPG Editor, landscapeeditor, terrain editor)
ArtifexTerra 3D Terrain Editor Scene
3D Landscape editing and painting.


Navigating in ArtifexTerra happens either with the arrowkeys or the WASD keys:
  • [A or Left], [D or Right] — turn left or right.
  • [W or Up], [S or Down] — move forward or backward.
  • [Q or PageUp], [E or PageDown] — look up or down.
  • Middle mousebutton — free camera rotation.
  • MouseWheel — Zoom in or out.
  • [F3-Key] — toggle movement speed.
  • [Alt+G] — toggle Gravity.
  • [Alt+C] — toggle Gravity and enable collision detecion vs. groundobjects to walk on bridges etc.
Pressing [Ctrl+Enter] pops up the central menu to the mousecursor, from there on you can reach any other dialogue with 1 click. This works like a toggle.
[ Up ]

Creating, Loading & Saving of Projects

Starting the application you can either choose to load the demo zone, or choose a folder with an already created project, or create a new one with "[9 textures + normalmapping]" by choosing a folder for it.

Future versions of Artifex Terra will provide a greater variety of project types.

Inside the Editor you can open the project manager pressing [Ctrl+F]. It has a similar functionality to the startup screen but provides additional saving buttons, to save either the whole project or parts of it.

You can either open the projectmanager or reload the last saved, press [Ctrl+L]

Like before, use the projectmanager or press [Ctrl+W] then you will see a dialogue popping up asking you to confirm and do it again.

Saving via the projectmanager will happen without further warning or consent so choose wisely when you press the buttons. Here you can also only save parts of your project separately.

Generating a minimap and baked texture:
Press [Alt+W], to get the confirmation dialogue, then repeat it.
Note: you also need to do this in order to "backblend" the generated baked texture as colour layer (s."Backblending" beneath colourpainting).

Creation of a new project:
You can create new projects either by pressing the "9 textures + normalmapping" button on the start screen or on the projectmanager. Artifex then will copy the template project folder to your chosen destination folder.

You can modify the template folder to your likings, change textures etc in order to customize your default project to start out with.

Note: If you modify the template folder please make a backup copy first and do not work directly in it, although it would be possible.
[ Up ]

General and Misc. functions

  • Quitting the Editor — in order to quit the program, press [Ctrl+Q] which will pop a confirmation dialogue, [Ctrl+Q] again to confirm and quit.
  • Hiding the water — to toggle the water press [Ctrl+A]
  • Wireframe mode — to toggle the wireframe mode press [Ctrl+V]
  • Backblending of a prebaked texture[Ctrl+F5].
  • Screenshot — to take a screenshot press [F12]. You can find it timestamped inside the screenshots folder. You can choose between JPG and PNG in the ArtifexTerra3D.cfg file.
  • Hide the decal-cursor — to toggle the decal-cursor press [F4].
  • Hide the UI — to toggle the UI press the [TAB] key.
  • Movement Speed — to flip through the movement-speed settings press [F3]
  • Steprate — to flip through the different steprates which is used for mesh editing and placement mostly use the [F2] key.
[ Up ]

Working with Graphictablets

ArtifexTerra does support the most common graphictablets, the positioning works out of the box, you don't have to do anything.

Stylus Pressure:
you can turn on/off the pressure sensitivity of your tablet by pressing [Ctrl+S]. You can see the status in the "Artpad"-menu in the sidebar to the right.
[ Up ]

Working with Brushes

Choosing a brush:
can be done by pressing the [Enter] key and selecting the brush of choice from the "Quickbrush"-dialogue or by pressing [Home] or [End].

Changing the working pressure:
can be done by pressing the [Enter] key and selecting the pressure from the "Quickbrush"-dialogue or by pressing the [Ctrl+PgUp] or [Ctrl+PgDown].

Graphictablet Stylus Pressure:
you can turn on/off the pressure sensitivity of your tablet by pressing [Ctrl+S]. You can see the status in the "Editmode"-menu to the right.

Rotating a Brush:
Being in either Terraform, Colour Paint or Texture Paint mode you can press [Ctrl+Left] or [Right] arrow to change the brushrotation by 1 degree steps. [Ctrl+Up] or [Down] arrow changes the rotation in 11.25 degree steps.

Pressing the [Space] key will rotate the brush to a random angle, which is very helpful for painting diversely.

You can see the rotation angle down in the statusbar or the rotated brush in "Brush"-menu to the right.

Flipping a Brush:
To flip a brush 180 degrees you can press [Ctrl+Space]
Sizing a Brush:
Changing the brushsize can be achieved quickly in steps by press the [+] and [-] keys on the numpad or by pressing Enter going to the "Quickbrush"-menu and choosing one of the predefined brushsizes.
[ Up ]

Terrain Editing

Press [Ctrl+T] to go into Terraform mode. Now you can edit the terrain pressing the left mouse button to raise and the right mouse button to lower it in the shape and size of the chosen brush.

Terrain Tools:
  • Blur Tool — Activated with [Ctrl+B], is a tool to smoothen out the terrain where you paint with it. Good for smoothing slopes. Brush-sensitive. The right mousebutton works as "Boil" tool.
  • Flatblur Tool — Activated with [Alt+B], similar to Blur, just flattens the worked terrain more than the regular blur. Good for working out roads. Brush-shaped.
  • Plain Tool — Activated with [Ctrl+P], calculates the average height of all underlaying terrain vertices and sets them all to the resulting value. Very good for preparing roads or plateaus. Brush-shaped. The right mouse button works as Blur tool.
  • Boil Tool — Activated with [Ctrl+N], keeping the left mousebutton down will result in an effect that makes the underlaying terrain to appear to be boiling. Brush-sensitive. The right mousebutton works as Blur tool.

    Note: you need a slightly uneven underground for it to work.

Terrain Filters:
  • Smooth — Activated with [F6], smoothens the entire terrain taking rough edges.
  • EdgyBlur — Activated with [F7], roughens the entire terrain at first then finallizes with a slight smoothening.

    Note: EdgyBlur is still very experimental.
[ Up ]

Texture Painting

Pressing [Ctrl+1] to [9] activates the texture painting mode. Each number-key represents another of the 9 textures. Click the left mousebutton to paint airbrushy the right mousebutton for a more sharpedged painting, depending on brushshape, size, pressure and rotation.

Texture Studio:
To get to the texture studio, press [Ctrl+Enter] and select it from the central menu. Here you can adjust the RGB values of each texture as well as brightness and contrast. Future plans are to implement real texture painting/editing, filters like in common paint applications.
[ Up ]


The undo-system currently works for terraforming, colourpainting, texture painting and the various filters. There are 50 mixed undosteps possible. You can undo something by pressing [Ctrl+U].
[ Up ]

Grass Editing

The support for paged grass is new in this version and although already well working, still somewhat experimental. You can access the grass settings via the sidebar to the right. You can turn the grass on and off by pressing [Shift+G].

Most important for the grass are the 2 image maps it is based on: colour and cover map.

the colourmap defines the colour of each straw of grass and you can either have Artifex generate one automatically by entering a filename of a non-existing file.

The better solution would be to bake your texture splatting with [Alt+W] and use the ETbase.png as colourmap exactly resembling the colours of your terrain-texturing and making the grass blend perfectly with the rest of your scene.

The cover map defines where grass will be rendered and how dense. A good idea is here to enter one of the ETcoverage maps because then you can influence the occurance of the grass and density by assigning a certain texture to it, using a colour channel as cover channel: R,G,B & A are valid options to enter here.

Instead of a covermap you can also edit the grass by "painting" it WYSIWYG-style onto your terrain. To enter the grass-paint mode press [Ctrl+G]. The painting process is brush-sensitive. Use the left mouse button to paint and the right mouse button to erase the grass.

Note: Grasspainting is only a demo in the current version and saving of the painted result to disk is disabled. It will become available fully in the 1.0 Indy Version of Artifex Terra 3D.
[ Up ]

Colour Painting

[Ctrl+C] brings you to the colour paint mode. To pick a different colour press enter and select "Colourpicker" from the central menu or [Ctrl+Backspace]. Pressing down the left mousebutton will paint with the foreground colour according to chosen brush, scale, size and pressure.

Using the right mousebutton will paint with the background colour, if the background colour happens to be white, it will "erase" the previously painted.

[ Up ]

Backblending of a baked texture

This is one of ArtifexTerra's specials. First you need to create a "baked" texture of the whole terrain by pressing [Alt+W] twice or pressing the bake button in the projectmanager [Ctrl+F]. Once that is done, press [Ctrl+F5], A.T. will now take the giant texture, brighten it by 145% and then take it as colourpass.

So what is the benefit of doing that? It really enriches the colours in your scene and reduces the disturbing tile-effects of textures a lot, by adding another diverse pattern in the same colour-range.

Note: This is done at best after you are done with most of the texture painting.
[ Up ]

Placement of Objects

You press [Ctrl+O] to get into Object mode.

Open the "Meshlist" tab on the right side, there you can select a mesh and press use, the mesh will then be attached to your mousecursor. Left clicking on the desired point will drop a copy of that mesh right there.

Holding down the right mousebutton lets you adjust rotation and height of the meshtemplate on your cursor. Right mousebutton down and moving left or right changes the rotation while moving up or down changes the innitial Y-coordinate the mesh will be placed on.

You can scale the meshtemplate by pressing the right mousebutton and holding the [Alt] key down and moving the mouse from left to right or by pressing the + and - key on the numpad, the mesh will then be scaled in steps determined by the steprate.

To flip through the available steprates press the [F2] key repeatetly. Moving the mouse up and down will move the mesh along the Y-axis up and down and adjust the placement height to the terrain.

Holding the [Ctrl] key down additionally will slow down all movement and allow you to more finely adjust scaling, rotation or placement.

Pressing [ESC] will loose the mesh and you can now select already placed meshes and edit their location, rotation and size.

Hint: Pressing [Space] will randomly rotate the mesh on your cursor. So for rapid mesh-placement like forests, stones or foilage, Space+Click, Space+Click, Space+Click, etc. makes it really quick and easy.

Adding your own meshes:
For now just simply place them in the model folder.
[ Up ]

Editing Objects

Press [Ctrl+O] to go into mesh mode. Then you can target a mesh by left clicking it, a white bounding box should appear around it. Open the "Selected Object" tab to the right to see position, rotation and scale. Note: the formfields are currently not editable but it is planned for the future.

However to edit a targeted object's values, simply pop-up the object-properties dialogue by pressing the[F9] key.

Custom object value pairs:
In the object-properties dialogue you can add an infinite amount of custom value-pairs to each object. If you scroll to the bottom of the dialogue you will find an "Add" gadget.

The left field holds the name of the new value and the right one the value. You can add anything from numbers, to decimal numbers or strings or mixed data.

Moving an object in X/Z direction:
Select the object and hold the right mousebutton down to drag it. The object will automatically remain in the same relative y-position to the ground.

Moving an object in Y direction:
To move it up or down hold the [Alt] key down, or press [Ctrl+Up/Down] arrow. The object will then change the y-position according to the steprate. To modify the steprate press [F2]. This works the same in scale or rotate mode.

Tip: Pressing [Shift] will "snap" the movement to steprate compatible numbers. Pressing [Ctrl] will slowdown the movement and allow more accurate and careful actions.

Rotating an object:
Select the object and press [Alt+R], this will automatically take you into y-rotation mode. Holding the right mousebutton down and dragging left and right will rotate the object around the selected axis. Alternately you can use [Ctrl+Left/Right] arrow. [Ctrl+Up/Down] arrow will move the object up or down. All according to the current steprate.
Like already previously mention you can also hold down the [Alt] key to move the object up and down.

You can change the rotation axis by pressing:
  • [Alt+Y] for rotation around the y-axis.
  • [Alt+X] for rotation around the x-axis.
  • [Alt+Z] for rotation around the z-axis.
Scaling an object:
Select the object and press [Alt+S]. Then you can either press the right mouse button and drag it left to right or press the [+] and [-] keys on the numpad to scale it up or down according to the set steprate.

Hiding an object
Select the object and press [Ctrl+H], you can do that with more than one object and then press [Alt+H] to reveal all hidden objects at once.

Deleting an object:
Select the object and press [Delete], voila it is gone.
[ Up ]

Artifex Terra 1.2 PE beta, ZIP, ~ 177 MB

Click 1,2,3,5 and 8 to download.

Support our work on Patreon:

More usefull links:
© 2008-2023 Thomas Gradl — last modified 30.Dec.2022
Contact me via: — Privacy Policy & ImprintDatenschutzerklärung & Impressum (privacy policy in german language)