How to blend materials with vertex paint

Vertex paint is a modifier that is mostly used in the game development industry but for some reason is almost never used in architectural visualization. However, there are quite a few situations where it can be very helpful due to the fact that you can blend materials anyway you want by painting maps directly on the mesh.

In this example we will try to “paint” a pathway on a hilly landscape.
Start with a 30mx30m plane object and add around 100 length segments and around 100 width segments. Covert it to editable poly and drag vertices on the z axis, with soft selection active, until you get something similar to the following:

Assign a blend material to the geometry. In the first material slot (inside the blend material) apply a grass texture, and in the second slot apply a gravel/sand map (this will be the texture for the pathway). Don’t forget to add a planar uvw map to the mesh adjust the tiling until you are happy with the result.

In the “mask” slot, choose “vertex color”, like in the screen capture bellow.

Now add a vertex paint modifier to the geometry and using the brush tool, paint a black pathway wherever you want. You can easily adjust the size of the brush to anything you want.

Believe it or not, that’s all. If you hit render you should end up with something similar to the following image.

As I said at the beginning of the tutorial, there are several situations where you can use the vertex paint modifier: you can use it to add more variety to large surfaces covered with grass, concrete walls, or even create tire tracks.
*If you use vray, than use the “vray blend material” instead of the “standard” blend.

  1. Great tutorial.

  2. jackieteh says:

    Thank you for your tutorial.
    could please make a tutorial of how to use VrayFastsss material? thanks in advance.

  3. Thanks jackie!
    I will do my best to write that tutorial after the winter holidays.
    In the meantime, happy new year!

  4. Garanas says:

    Awesome tutorial, it really helped be understand thanks.
    How small somethings can be, but still very usefull, but I got one question, can you also tell me and maybe others how to use several vertex paints together on 1 object? do you have to change the Map Challen then?

  5. Dinesh says:

    thank you my friend

  6. Hello Garanas,
    So far I have only used one vertex paint since I haven’t felt the need for more; if I have a little spare time, I will look into it and answer. If you find out sooner don’t be shy to post a comment here :)
    Thanks for the visit.

    Best regards,

  7. Dude! I just spent hours trying to find a solution to this w/o using those damn Vertex Maps! So much simpler! Tysm!

  8. Peter says:

    To use multiple materials in vertex paint you have to add a new Vertex paint modifier to the stack

  9. Many thanks for the input Peter!
    Hope to see you more often around here.

  10. donald says:

    where can i buy or get this plug in…thanks

  11. Hello donald,

    This is not a plugin. Vertex paint is a modifier that you can find in the modifiers list :)

  12. Abe says:

    Can you explain how to do it with more than two materials?

  13. anjuman gusain says:

    very nice tutorial


  14. very usefull !

  15. hubl says:

    my question is: how to use more than one material with Vray Blend Material and Vertex Paint … ?
    adding just another vertex paint wont fix my problem
    please help,


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