How to use custom trees and objects in Worldpainter


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Level 79 : Legendary Terraformer
In this tutorial you will learn how to use Worldpainter to place custom trees and other objects. This tutorial is written as a series of questions that are answered. The questions are ordered from basic to advanced as judged by the author and grouped by theme.

There's no one best way to read this tutorial and questions don't necessarily follow each other chronologically .

Screenshots in this tutorial were made using Worldpainter version 2.4.1, the most recent version at the time of writing this tutorial.


If you are going to learn only one thing about Worldpainter, let it be custom object layers. Even the most mundane terrain looks custom with a nice range of custom objects. With the variety and quality of objects publicly shared you can stand on the shoulders of giants and "instantly" transform terrain.

Getting started

Where to find the custom object layer option in Worldpainter

Custom object layers can be found by clicking on the [+] ( 1 ) button in the layers tab. In the drop down menu that unfolds click on [Add a custom object layer...] ( 2 )


Where to find objects that work with worldpainter

To make it easy I created a collection of tree repositories and miscellaneous objects.

Tree repository collections
Miscellanious repository collections

Where to find all the models and layers shown in this tutorial

Worldpainter Layers (Mangroves, Icebergs, Coral)

Creating layers

How to add objects to layers

Click on the button showing the lego block with the small green plus sign ( 1 )

Select the objects to add to the layer and click on [Open].

Notes: You can use objects using .schematic and .bo2 file extensions. By keeping CTRL pressed you can select multiple objects at once and open them all together.

How to import a layer

The import layer option ( 2 ) can be found by clicking on the [+] ( 1 ) button in the layers tab.

Select and open the .layer file ( 1 ) you wish to open

How to export a layer

Click with your right mouse button on the layer you wish to export ( 1 ). In the drop down menu click on export layer to file [/bgcolor]( 2 ). Name the layer appropriately and save.

How to remove objects from layers

Select the object you want to remove by clicking on it. Now click on the button showing the lego block with the small red stop sign ( 1 ) to remove the object

How to change object frequency

Option ( 1 ): Double click the name in the object menu
Option ( 2 ): Select one or more objects and click on the [button] with the lego block and the pencil. Note: keep CTRL pressed when you want to select multiple objects.

Adjust the relative frequency by adjusting the percentage in field ( 1 )

Note: how often an object spawns is a simple calculation. Spawn frequency = relative frequency of the object divided by the sum of the relative frequency of all objects in the layer.

How to change layer density

By adjusting the value at ( 1 ) you change the density. I suggest you base the tree sparseness on the most dense you want your forest to be. Pay attention to "one per X blocks at 100%" or use the visualer at the right hand side of the window.

Use ( 1 ) and ( 2 ) to adjust the preview window. The settings I advise can be seen below.

How to make objects float on the surface of water or lava

In the edit object menu you select the "on water" and/or "on lava" checkboxes ( 1 ). Deselect "on solid land".

Notes: objects that are set for "on water" and/or "on lava" can not penetrate the soil beneath. You can use the offset settings to make objects sink only in the water.
You can edit this setting for multiple objects at once by selecting multiple objects in the layer menu.


BO2 objects versus schematic objects

Schematic is the most common file format to share parts of maps. Most powertools support this file format, e.g.: worldpainter, world edit, voxelsniper, mcedit. It's easy to use and highly accessible. For the purpose of Worldpainter it's exactly the same as the less common bo2 files except for a few things.

Difference 1: BO2 objects can have negative block offsets. This means that a BO2 object can include underground blocks without putting in the offset manually. The use of BO2 for Worldpainter was popularized by tree repository creators who included roots in their trees and make their use as easy as possible. It makes things easier, but doesn't provide anything unique.
Difference 2: BO2's can include air blocks. E.g. you could make an object for a submarine that doesn't fill with water if placed. Wheras it would fill with water if placed as schematic file.
Difference 3: BO2's aren't commonly supported by tools. The tools to create BO2's are poorly supported and can require knowledge of command prompt and scripts.

Conclusion: BO2's make life easier but in most cases don't add value over schematics. For sake of ease of experimentation the suggested file format to use in nearly all cases is the .schematic file format.

F.A.Q. / Trouble shooting

How to fix floating trees

Select the object in the layer to fix and click on the button with the pencil ( 1 )

Most objects will be centered on a lowest point. By pressing on [Auto] ( 1 ) Worldpainter will adjust the object centering based on the lowest block. Adjust it manually afterwards to make sure it's center by clicking on the offset coordinates ( 2 )

The small box outline is the block that's used for placement. The tree in the preview was created with roots. By adjusting the values in the boxes ( 2 ) top left we can center it.

Specific layers

How to create a mangroves layer

General knowledge about layers and placement is assumed at this point. Anything unclear, please refer to other parts of this tutorial before you ask.

Mangrove trees live on the coast, near or in shallow salty coastal waters. A prerequisite is appropriate tree objects and careful placement. See the download section for a plug-and-play layer to import. The appropriate spawn settings are "on solid land" and "under water" ( 1 ).

The objects are placed on the ground underneath the water. So the height of the objects stem determines the maximum depth at which you should place the trees. For the tree below that is three blocks seen from the ground level ( A ).

Placement is best done with a brush with filter settings. Apply the layer from water level minus maximum tree depth till water level plus maximum tree depth.

How to create an iceberg layer

Icebergs aren't complex. Make sure the model settings are limited to spawn "on water" ( 1 ). You run into trouble when the negative offset of the iceberg is so great it touches the ground. The bottom of the iceberg will not pierce the ground, consider this when making models and placing them. If your aim is reality and you make icebergs that are 80% below water, it will not spawn.

How to create a coral reef layer

Coral reefs in Minecraft are notorious. The water visibility is very poor, and the rendering of water on edges of non opaque blocks is too. Further more water blocks light and destroys plants. There are various methods of making coral reefs, and this is not the authors' favourite method but the only one using object layers.

To ensure coral properly meets up with the ocean bottom select both spawn "on solid land" and "under water" ( 1 ). To prevent coral from poking out of the water pay attention to placement. Since the light piercing of water in Minecraft is really low, a depth beyond 5 blocks will make it impossible to distinguish any colour.


Feel free to ask questions in the comments, and feel free to answer questions in the comments. The aim of this post is to create a knowledge base for those starting out using Worldpainter to learn from.

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1 - 15 of 15

Great post, my friend. :)
Just my input here (from years of WorldPainter), for a 'Middle-Earth' type world, add 3-5 custom trees, at 25% on the 'review pattern', rather the 50% as you see here, also with 50% intensity (brush settings), and 50 blocks apart (one object per), this will give you different trees and sparsely, great for fantasy maps, etc. Easy to remember: 25, 50, 50. Try it, if you need it. :)
  • lentebriesje
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 79
  • Legendary Terraformer
  • February 23, 2017, 3:19 am
I didn't include a discussion topic about brush settings per se, that's because i have a different philosophy. I was thinking of maybe even making a seperate blog on it and linking it here. This is just the first tutorial on worldpainter that i think i'll make. It's good to know your view, i can definately see why it would be convenient to paint at 50%. I might try that for a bit, maybe i'll change my opinion.
Very good, but really, I was merely adding a note for the fellow Planet Minecrafters, just giving them my take on WorldPainter custom tree usage, at least, for that kind of sparse effect (not as an overall method). But, again, your post is great, and I was not trying to take away from that or imply you didn't know what you were talking about, you know what you are talking about much more than me when it comes to both WorldPainter and Minecraft, indeed. I was just adding my input as a little extension to your post. :)

I was thinking of making a WorldPainter blog, but since you've just done one, I won't.
  • lentebriesje
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 79
  • Legendary Terraformer
  • February 27, 2017, 11:06 am
no no no, by all means share your experience and have a discussion about it in the comments. if anything i welcome a challenge of my personal beliefs. Experience can blind one to how things changed, i do a lot of things one way because I've always done them like that. A new and fresh perspective is very welcome.
I am the same way, it is hard to grow when you enjoy sticking to what you know, and we all love to stay in one space. But, I, too, try to expand my knowledge, but not nearly as much as I'd like! New perspectives are key.
Note that this also works great for a jungle island, a not-so-dense island, that is.
  • HyperOmega
  • Level 1
  • New Explorer
  • February 21, 2017, 10:20 am
Great post full of information that i am too dumb for :P
Great job lente your truly showing your colors maybe one day youll join the greats like us! Only 600 levels to go
  • Barbarian
  • Level 48
  • Master Sweetheart
  • February 20, 2017, 9:06 am
Thanks Lente, for the tut. It sure did clarify some of the doubts i had about it.
  • lentebriesje
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 79
  • Legendary Terraformer
  • February 20, 2017, 11:47 pm
Going through it myself and trying to account for potential issues actualy changed how I think about things as well. Though easy enough to just experiment and fix, documenting made me aware about some oddish behaviour.
  • mg4015
  • Level 33
  • Artisan Architect
  • February 20, 2017, 6:46 am
Very good job on this! Overall it is very easy to understand along with it being very well organized!
  • lentebriesje
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 79
  • Legendary Terraformer
  • February 20, 2017, 11:47 pm
Great to hear, thanks!
  • League Elite MC
  • Contest Judge
  • Level 40
  • Master Architect
  • February 20, 2017, 3:29 am
Nice tutorial, very well made and easy to follow!
  • lentebriesje
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 79
  • Legendary Terraformer
  • February 20, 2017, 4:55 am
Thanks for the feedback. I landed on this format because I didn't want to make a tutorial that you had to read entirely. There's a lot of redundancy in this tutorial, but at least you can cherry pick what chapters to read.

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