Modelling a terrain (1 plane vs many)

Hello everyone :yes:,

I’m modeling a big Island. I’ve never modeled a terrain in Blender, totally new to it. But do I understand it correctly that it is best to have a few subdivided planes and sculpt them individually for a large terrain? So that if I run a game, I can tell the engine to run each plane of terrain only when needed?

So, what is the best way to do (1 or 2)?:

  1. Add plane >> Subdivide >> Sculpt into an island >> Divide this plane into many little bits. This seems to slow computer down, because I use only one huge plane and it’s subdivided very heavily.


  1. Add many planes >> Subdivide them >> Sculpt them into an Island individually. This seems like a better way to me, but I can’t sculpt two planes (objects) at the same time. Even if I choose 2 objects, only the later one will have sculpt applied, so the 2 planes are no more connected at the end points after I do sculpting.

I know this may be obvious for some, but I’m really lost about it, thanks in advance for the help guys! :wink: Also, many game engines run terrains only if they are modeled only along Z axis. Still, is it alright to model a huge Island along X and Y axis for some specific places?


I don’t know an easy solution for your first problem, but I can shed some light on your second question regarding terrains modeled along the z axis. Those are called height-mapped terrains. They definitely have some advantages with speed and memory. But if your game engine isn’t using height-mapped terrains then you are fine modeling the terrain any way you want. If your engine is just rendering the terrain as a standard mesh, it doesn’t get any benefit from conforming to a height-map style.

I think that you are better of modeling terrain as separate pieces and joining them later. It shouldnt be that hard to join two planes if they have same amount of vertices on one side.

EDIT1: yeah, just tried it, its easy to do it.
Make plane, subdivide it couple of times, delete on edge loop in middle(vertexes). Join two vertexes on start and on end of “rift”, select edge loops around one that was deleted, press ctrl+f to fill, and then ctrl+f and tris to quads to make it look neat.

@RobCozzens - thanks for the explanation, I will do as you advise.

@GrizzLyCRO. I’ve tried what you said, works really fine. Thanks.

But is there no way to sculpt two planes at the same time?

You can sculpt two planes at the same time and then separate geometry of one with P key in Edit mode.
Select faces of plane that you want to separate and just hit P key.

That’s the thing, I choose two subdivided planes, enter sculpt mode and only one of them is editable. But I want them both editable at the same time. :frowning:

Oh sorry, i forgot to write that, you can use ctrl+j to join meshes in object mode.

Thanks GrizzLyCRO - I think I’ve got it now. Basically I should create large plane with lots of subdivisions, sculpt the Island and then separate into pieces (because it is not possible to sculpt a few objects at the same time unless they are merged into one object). A pity though I can’t sculpt them together as separate objects, this would have been convinient :).

Thanks again for the help! :slight_smile: