Trying to create dirt roads/paths along landscape

Hello all,

Is there a way to place a curve (snap to face) on a landscape, then have a tiled texture follow it to create a dirt road? I’m wondering if there is a way to do this without secondary geometry from the curve, just use it as a guide to project uv’s along it’s path to the geometry below…crazy talk?

To better explain what I am trying to do and how I am currently doing it. I’m creating outdoor scenes of different environments (desert, forest, jungle etc) and I need to place dirt paths through them. The paths are somewhat random, I paint a vertex group for asset population (trees, rocks, etc) and keep in mind to leave areas I can come back and texture paint a dirt path.

My current method is texture stencil painting. I take a dirt road image, tile it end to end in photoshop then use Puppet Warp to make different curved variations of it so I don’t have an angled road when painting, this allows different “brushes” curving different directions. I was hoping to use another painted path as vertex group and use that, but I couldn’t figure out how to get uv’s to follow properly. Same with using circle select to paint a path of selected vertices project from view unwrap, have a nice path, but no idea how to get tiled texture to fill it???

There is very likely a WAAAAAYY easier method than both my current and question workflow, but that’s why I’m here, to get experienced advice from you all.

PS- I really don’t like the stencil texture paint method, very sloppy and difficult to connect the areas that change direction, but I managed to get it to work well enough.



Hmm, I guess the way I am doing it is an “ok” method then? Not one reply with any ideas for a better approach. I feel there has got to be a smarter way to do this, but looks like not many people here have needed to paint or create dirt paths/roads through landscapes. I realize it’s probably not all that common of a need for most, was just hoping for some better knowledge or ideas.

If anyone stumbles across this and has done something like this or similar for a different purpose, I’ll be checking back.

Thanks anyway,


Doesn’t Blender have projection/decal functionality like what DECALmachine uses? Or is that actually a feature specific to that plugin?

Several methods to do this, just depends on which way you choose to go…
Example…In your landscape select the area you wish a path. Mesh >Separate >Selected.
On that New Path…Add Edge Loops to break the Path into Segments of Equal Lengths. Unwrap using Smart UV Project…ON each Section separated. That way you can add your texture to the Path and us the UV by rotating Flipping etc the UV to Breakup any Tiling that Normally happens.

This one happens to be a stone path for a castle scene, but you get the Idea…

I’ll look into Decal Machine, I have no problem buying an Addon if it will help. Thanks for the reply.

Thank you very much for the reply, this was the method I originally tried. But, my textures are not tiled in all directions, just from one end to the other. Grass on sides, here is a link to the original image I am using. I tiled it so the ends could connect.

I’m still unsure how to get that texture to follow the path (mesh that is separated). I’m playing with it now, but just not seeing how to apply the texture to linearly follow the mesh. My mesh has curves so it just isn’t working for me.

In UV Editor I have tried to straighten the quads so I can line it up with the texture, but again, I can’t figure it out. I get zero results with any of the “Straighten” options. I’m sure there is a way, I just can’t figure it out.

You might be better off using Texture Paint and setting texture as a stencil …
Takes a bit to get used to, but with the right texture and moving landscape to different areas of the road you can get a nice path with smooth transitions…
Here is a quick and dirty example…

You could also, afterward, bake a normal and specular map to add some depth to the rocks.

Hi, thanks for the reply. You may have missed my original post, but that is exactly what I am doing now. I just thought there would be a better method for “curving” paths. I made curved stencils with puppet warp in Ps, but it is still a sloppy approach in my opinion, but it works.

Here is what I was getting with some early tests before I had to start making curved paths, they look ok for straight dirt roads, but get a little sloppy when curving back and forth.

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I’m a bit embarrassed, gue3ss I just jumped ahead without remembering what you had already tried… old age creeping up on me…

I just saw this yesterday and thought it MIGHT help you out with applying your textures.
I have not tried it as yet but it looked promising with the mask functions
Since it’s free give it a go, after unwrapping your path into smaller sections.


you mean something like this?
it’s with procedural but it should work with texture maps

hello @RSEhlers


Wow, this is going to help in all my scenes even if its for a different reason, THANK YOU! I just donated and downloaded this! I am very happy to donate and buy addons from artists/developers that spend time to make blender even better.

Thank you RSEhlers for the link! Can’t wait to try this out tomorrow when I have some time!

Skuax! Thanks for your contributions, your work is very much appreciated! I plan on testing out your Tile Stamper tomorrow! So what you showed above in your example is very similar to my original question! The point I was asking was if this could be done “without secondary geometry from the curve” as your demo shows. If you think this can be done with textures as a way to guide/generate a “texture path” please let me know! I come from several different 3D apps and Blender is a little steep in the learning curve. If you are able to help out with what I am trying to achieve I would be happy to donate more to you through paypal for your efforts! Not rich, but I really feel people like you deserve to be compensated for your efforts!

Thank you for your help!

Hello, @Punker3D
First. It seems that you are a really good environment artist, and i ll be curious to see more “closeup” or first person point of view of your work.
Second, thanks a lot for encouraging me in those investigations.
I do all that stuffs because i’m really curious about everything, and in all that productions i do in my career, i often never use them.
better sharing it for the others to use it.
i m in 3d stuffs till…about …25 years. and i’ve a lot of artifices in my bag to share.

Generating a mask based on solidified curves seem to be easy, based on weight paint tools. But applying an UV set , needs more investigation … i’ll think around it. It’s a nice challenge to me. I can not promise anything. but i’m excited by this idea.
But before switching to it i’m gonna finish this welding shader and “video explanation” on how to use it.
hopefully there is some matching techniques in-between.
stay tuned

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skuax, thank you for the reply and your interest in possibly looking at this in the future. I will not expect anything, but if you ever do have time to play with this idea, I will be here to test/play with whatever you discover! Just posted on your Tile Stamper thread with a quick test following your video, it works great!

Anyone that does large scale texturing over distance, this can greatly help and I recommend you try (and donate if you like it) for yourself.