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Crocotile 3D

Overview
Getting Started
Commands
Configuration
Tilesets
UVs
Painting
Transforms
Objects
Layers
Exporting
Importing
Active Selection Mode


Overview

Crocotile 3D is a tile-based modeling editor. You can import tilesets and select tiles from the image to place into the 3d scene to construct environments, objects, characters or anything else you can imagine. Controls in the editor allow you to fine-tune and edit these tiles, allowing any shape or form to be made. This document outlines all the methods of interacting with the software and includes instructions on how to use it.
Click the 🐊 icons throughout this document to watch specific video clips on how to do stuff in Crocotile 3D.
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Getting Started

🐊 When you open Crocotile 3D, you're presented with the main window that displays an empty scene (where you'll be placing the tiles), and a smaller window that contains tabs for the Tileset, UVs, Painting, Transforms, and Scene panels. The Tileset tab is open by default and is where you can choose which tiles to draw into the scene. Clicking on the tileset will select a portion of the image according to the tilesize values near the bottom of the window and this selected piece will be used when drawing your tiles into the scene.

To draw into the scene, you must be in Draw mode. This mode is activated by default. You can toggle between Draw mode and Edit mode by pressing Tab or by clicking the Mode button located at the top of the main window.


When you are ready to draw to the scene just click the scene to place a tile or click and drag to place multiple tiles. Right clicking will erase them. You can control the position where the tiles are created as well as their direction. The tile gets placed against an invisible plane that always aligns with the 3d crosshair.

The 3d crosshair is depicted by white lines that extend along the x, y, and z axis. By moving this crosshair, you can adjust where the tiles are drawn. You can press W, A, S, and D to move the crosshair up, left, down, and right. Holding Spacebar and pressing W will move the crosshair away from you while pressing S while Spacebar is held will move the crosshair towards you. Adjusting the Grid Rounding value found in the lower right of the Tileset window will define the distance the crosshair moves.

Rotating the scene/camera to look at it from another angle will allow you to change which invisible plane the tiles get drawn against. So for example, if you are looking down at the scene then the tiles will get drawn looking upwards. Hold Spacebar and click and drag using the mouse buttons to rotate, zoom, and pan the camera.

Try drawing tiles from various angles and moving the 3d crosshair to get comfortable with placing tiles. These controls are unique so it may feel strange at first, but they are designed to be intuitive. It will allow you to place tiles quickly from any angle and position. You could try rotating the tile brush by pressing Q or E. You can even flip it or mirror it by pressing F or R.

When you've had enough practice, you'll want to begin editing the tiles to gain greater control over their shape. Switching to Edit mode will allow you to interact with the tiles in various ways. In Edit mode, you can click on tiles to select/deselect their faces or click on their corner points to select/deselect their vertices. With these highlighted, now moving the 3d cursor via the W, A, S, and D keys will move the selected vertices and faces as well. Holding Shift will allow you to move the crosshair without moving the selection. Use a lower Grid Rounding value for more precise positioning.

Try selecting and moving faces and vertices. You can also press Q or E to rotate the selection in Edit mode. Notice that the selection rotates around the center of the 3d crosshair. F will flip the selection relative to the crosshair position and R will mirror it similarly.

There are other ways of moving the selected vertices and faces. One way is to drag the arrows that appear when you hover the mouse over the 3d crosshair. You can turn off these arrows by pressing X or by clicking the Arrow toggle button at the top. Another way to move vertices is by clicking and dragging them directly with the mouse. You can hold Shift while you drag a vertex to snap it onto another vertex.

A couple other things that you can do to tiles that are worth mentioning is reversing the face, or flipping the face edge. Try reversing a face by selecting a tile and pressing Shift+R. If it disappears, this is because it is now facing away from the camera in the opposite direction. Tiles aren't visible from their backside. Each tile consists of two triangles, and the edge these triangles share can be flipped by pressing Shift+F. Try flipping some edges to see the effect it has. This is useful if you want more control over how a tile is shaped.

Be sure to look over the list of commands and read through this entire document to understand all the ways you can interact with tiles, edit them, paint over them, and more.


Commands

General

Hotkeys

Camera Controls

🐊 Holding Spacebar will toggle camera mode. In this mode, you can click and drag the scene using the mouse buttons to rotate, zoom, and pan the scene. This will allow you to change the direction of the plane that you draw your tiles on (see Draw mode for more info).
There is also the viewcube that can be used to rotate/zoom/pan the scene. It is styled as a lowpoly crocodile. Simply click it and drag- depending on whether you use left middle or right mouse button will determine whether it rotates, zooms, or pans. The viewcube can be re-positioned by dragging the small semi-transparent circle located next to it. You can also double-click the circle to toggle it on or off, or right click the circle. 🐊


Crosshair Controls

🐊 The 3d crosshair is used to position the invisible plane that you draw tiles onto. It is also used to move selected vertices and faces or to rotate, mirror, and flip them. The 3d crosshair is visualized as white lines that extend along the x, y, and z axis. You can adjust the grid size to change how far the 3d crosshair moves per step.

Hovering the mouse over a crosshair line will cause a yellow arrow helper to appear. These can be clicked and dragged to move the crosshair as well. You can also click the crosshair toggle button at the top of the scene or press X to toggle the helper arrows on/off.

You can also Tilt the crosshair. This allows you to draw and edit tiles at angles other than the default x,y,z. 🐊 🐊 The crosshair arrows have three modes (move, rotate, and resize). You can toggle between them by pressing the corresponding button located at the top of the scene , or by pressing Shift + X. By clicking and dragging the crosshair helpers, you can move, rotate, or resize the selected faces and vertices in the scene. Adjusting the Grid Rounding value will effect how fine or coarse the changes are.


Draw Mode

When drawing tiles or prefabs into the scene, they will be drawn onto an invisible plane that aligns with one of the 3d crosshair's axis. Which axis it aligns with will depend on the current direction of the camera. Changing the direction of the invisible plane allows you to draw the tiles and prefabs in different directions. Along with positioning the crosshair this allows you to draw at any position or orientation in 3d space. 🐊 Hotkeys There are several tools you can use while in Draw mode that alter the way you can place tiles into the scene. You can select a tool by clicking the buttons on the left side of the 3d scene, or pressing the corresponding number keys.

Edit Mode

Each tile consists of four vertices and two triangles/faces. These can be modified in various ways and in various combinations. You can toggle between Edit mode and Draw mode by pressing Tab. While in Edit mode you can right click the scene to open a menu with various actions that can be made on selected vertices or faces. Hotkeys 🐊 Tiles can be divided into two triangle shaped tiles. Select the tiles you want to divide and then right-click in the scene and select Triangle Divide from the Faces submenu. Also triangular tiles can be merged together to form a single square tile. Select Triangle Merge in the Faces context submenu while in Edit mode. This will merge pairs of triangles into single tiles. A pair of triangles must share two vertices together.


Tilesets

With the Tileset tab open, you can select a part of the image. This selection can then be drawn into the scene. 🐊 Multiple tilesets can be used. To add a new tileset click the tileset button and choose Add tileset. You can click the next and previous buttons to toggle between tilesets. 🐊

UVs

The following keys apply while the UVs panel is in focus. Read the UVs section to learn more about how to edit UV coordinates.

Paint

The following keys apply while the Paint window is in focus. Read the Painting section to learn more about how to use the tools.

Scene

Opening the Scene tab will display a list of layers and objects (if any exist in the scene). You can add layers and import prefabricated objects, or create objects from groups of tiles in the scene. To know more about this, check the Objects section.


Configuration

Settings

The settings and configuration of Crocotile 3d can be accessed from the Edit menu at the top of the main window, or by pressing F1.

General Project Camera Draw Mode Edit Mode Tilesets

Buttons

🐊 The key bindings can be adjusted by accessing the Buttons menu item within the Edit menu at the top of the main window.

Blender Controls

If you are more comfortable with the way Blender handles the rotate/zoom/panning of the camera, you can adjust the bindings for these in Crocotile to match. Blender uses the middle mouse button for all these functions. In Crocotile, these functions are used in conjunction with the spacebar, so you will need to change the binding type to Mouse only if you want to rotate without holding the spacebar down. You can remap which mouse button these actions use, as well as the keys to press.


Camera


Skybox

Included with the program is a skybox.png file. This image serves as a template for your skyboxes. Images can be larger or smaller as long as the layout remains the same. From the menu in the main window, there is a Skybox menu item with options to pick a skybox image, or to show/hide the skybox.


Render


About

This will show a box with information about the version of Crocotile 3D. If you are using the non-Steam version, then it will also provide input fields to type in your email and activation code if you have registered for one. Registering allows you to gain the ability to save a scene with more than 100 tiles and also allows exporting your work. It also helps support the development of this product.


Tilesets

Each tile in your scene displays an area of pixels from one of your tilesets. Simply click on the tileset to select a tile and apply it to your tilebrush. You can also click and drag to select a larger portion of the tileset. The size of your selection is determined by the UV Tilesize. You can also adjust the 3D Tilescale to change the size of the 3d tilebrush in the scene. Each tile uses UV coordinates to define what portion of the tileset to display on the tile's face. You can edit these UV coordinates in the UVs tab (read the UVs section on how to edit them)



Menu

The button with an image icon will open a menu with the following choices.

There is also a button between the buttons with arrow icons. Clicking it will show a dropdown list of all your tilesets. This is a way to easily select another tileset. You can also press Ctrl+[ and Ctrl+] to cycle through them, or click the arrow buttons.


Apply Tileset to the selected Faces

This will switch the tileset of any selected tiles to the currently selected tileset. It essentially reassigns the tile texture to another texture (the currently selected tileset).


Re-size Tileset

🐊 Opens a window with various options to customize how to re-size the currently selected Tileset. You can control from which side the Tileset gets re-sized from by clicking one of the nine buttons. Arrows on these butttons will show the direction the re-size will occur.




Export Tileset

If you make any changes to your Tileset, such as resizing it or painting on it, you can export the image in png format by selecting this menu item.


Tile Swapping

🐊 You can swap tiles by selecting tiles in the tileset window and then right-click and dragging them to the desired location. UVs of tiles in the 3d scene will get updated to the new UV locations if their UVs were inside the tile area you are repositioning.


Tileset Context Menu

This menu allows you to perform various operations related to tiles.



Repeating a Texture across a Tile

🐊 Click the Wrap button in the Tileset tab to select a wrap mode for the current Tileset (Clamp to Edge, Repeat, Mirrored Repeat). With one of the repeat modes selected, a texture can then be repeated across a tile by moving the UV coordinates beyond the edges of the tileset. The UV coordinates will essentially wrap around, and the further you move them beyond the edge the more times it will repeat. By placing a tile into its own tileset and using that texture on a tile, you can adjust the vertices and their UV coordinates to get the desired result. Watch the video for a demonstration! This technique is useful for broad areas where you want to repeat a tile but want to keep the polygon count low. This helps optimize the geometry.


Blurry Textures/Tiles

If your tiles appear blurry, this is due to the tileset not having a power of two dimension. Examples of safe image dimensions are; 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024 pixels. Tilesets are now capable of being repeated across a tile, and this requires them to have width and height values that are a power of two.


Decals

🐊 Click the Decal button in the Tileset tab to enable/disable the mode for the current tileset. Tilesets that have their decal mode enabled will have their tiles appear on-top of tiles from other tilesets that don't have their decal mode enabled. Watch the video for a demonstration! Use decals in combination with repeating textures to add variety without adding many polygons.


Refresh

The refresh button next to the Zoom menu will force the Tilesets to refresh. They won't refresh if there has not been any changes to their files outside of the program. Be careful if you are Painting over your Tilesets if you haven't refreshed them prior to that process as refreshing them may overwrite your work. You can enable auto-refresh in the settings to keep the Tilesets up to date if you are editing them outside of the program. Just take note that any changes you make to them inside Crocotile will not be updated outside of Crocotile.



UVs

As you may know, each tile in your scene displays a section of a tileset. Where these sections reside on a tileset are defined by the UV coordinates that the tiles use. Each vertex of a tile has a corresponding UV coordinate and these can be re-positioned to change what gets displayed. To change these, you must first select the faces in the scene. Selecting faces in the scene will display the corresponding UVs on the tileset panel within the UVs tab. To get a good idea on how to edit UVs, watch this video demonstration by clicking this crocotile link: 🐊

UV Context Menu

This menu allows you to perform various operations on UV coordinates. To open the menu, go to the UV tab and right-click the tileset. See below for more information regarding the various menu choices.


Selecting UVs

UV coordinates will be displayed in the UV panel whenever tiles in the 3d scene are highlighted. The UV coordinates will appear as small boxes. To select / deselect UV coordinates, simply click on them or click and drag a box around multiple UVs to select more than one. You can hold Alt while you drag to deselect multiple UVs.

You can also click within the dotted lines that denote the tile, to select / deselect all the UVs of the tile. If you hold Ctrl while inside a tile's UVs, the coordinate closest to the mouse will be selected / deselected. 🐊

Double-clicking while your mouse is not hovering any UVs will deselect everything.

🐊 The Drag multiple UVs option in the Settings will allow you to select multiple UVs that are overlapping instead of just one. You can press B to toggle it on/off. There is also a button in the UVs panel to toggle this on/off.


Rotating

🐊 To rotate the selected UVs, hold Shift to activate rotation mode (the UV boxes will switch to a circle shape), and then click and drag the UVs.

If you hold Shift while rotating, it will rotate in increments. You can specify how many degrees in the Rotation input box.

Hovering over other UVs while hold Shift will snap the angle to that UV coordinate.

Crosshair

There is a small crosshair that becomes visible when you select UV coordinates. It automatically centers itself on the selection unless you begin to manually move it. Pressing C will recenter it again.

To move the crosshair, simply click and drag it like you would a UV coordinate.

If you hold Shift while dragging the crosshair, it will snap to any UVs you are hovering over.

The crosshair is used as a point of reference for UV transformations. If you rotate the coordinates, they will rotate around the crosshair position. The same occurs for mirroring, flipping, and scaling. 🐊



Painting

When you select a tile or group of tiles in the Tileset tab, this portion of the image then becomes editable when clicking on the Paint tab.

🐊 The Grid line button can be toggled to show/hide the Grid lines. These show where one tile begins and ends in the tileset based on the tilesize values.

🐊 The UVs button can be toggled to show/hide the UVs of the selected tiles while you paint. This is helpful if you want to paint onto a specific location of a tile and need to reference the UV coordinates.


Drawing Tools

These tools modify the pixel data of the textures/tilesets. You will see your changes in real-time reflected on the 3d model.

Selection Tools

🐊 Limits painting to within the selection. The selection can be moved, cut, copied, pasted, and re-sized. Add, subtract, and intersect modifiers can be accessed when combining Alt, Shift keys. Cut and copy modifiers can be accessed with the Ctrl, Alt keys. You can also Flip, Mirror, and Rotate the selection by 90 degrees using the corresponding buttons at the top.

Move Tools


Re-size Selection

🐊 After a selection has been made, handles will appear on the corners and sides of the selection. These handles can be clicked and dragged to adjust the size. If a portion of the image has been clipped, it will also be re-sized. The following keys can be held down to control how the selection is re-sized.

Palette

🐊 The palette allows you to save specific colors so that you can pick and re-use colors you have defined previously. The top edge of the palette box can be clicked and dragged to adjust the size of it. You can also click and drag individual colors to reorder them. There are a few options in the Palette menu by clicking the Palette button at the top, right of the palette box.

Menu


Color Menu

You can also Right-click inside the palette box to show a context menu with a couple options.


Transforms

The Transform tab is where you can make specific translation, resize, and rotation adjustments to your selected tiles, vertices, and objects. Specify x,y,z values and hit Apply. There is a button "Axis relative to Camera orientation", near the top of the panel. This allows you to toggle between (x,y,z) and (right,up,backward). The first option will treat the transforms as normal, however the second option will treat the transforms relative to the camera orientation.

Align


Crosshair

🐊 These allow you to retrieve the current crosshair position by hitting Get. Pressing Set will move the crosshair to the specified x,y,z position. If the move selection option is checked, it will also move the selected geometry along with the crosshair. There is also a translate option as well to shift the crosshair relative its current position.

Camera

Position Rotation Magnification


Objects

Objects can be created by grouping tiles together. Object instances can then be added to the scene. Editing one instance allows all instances to be updated with the same changes.

Instances / Prefab Brush

🐊 Instances can be added to the scene in two ways. One way is through the menu when right-clicking an object in the Scene tab list. This will place the object at wherever the current position is of the 3d cursor. Another way is by left-clicking the object in the list while in Draw mode. This will allow you to place objects in the scene near your mouse, relative to an invisible plane that sits against the 3d cursor (This acts just like when you place single tiles). You can also erase the instance by lining up the Prefab Brush with an instance, and right-clicking it in the scene, exactly as you would do with a normal tile.

Object Points

🐊 Each object has an origin point that helps with the placement of the instances within the scene. At the time of creating an Object, the current location of the 3d cursor will determine where to place the origin point relative to the rest of the tiles in the object. The origin point can be re-positioned afterwards, as well as new points added for custom data.

Object Context Menu

This menu allows you to perform various operations related to an object. To open the menu, go to the Scene tab and right-click an object that is listed. See below for more information regarding the various menu choices.

Properties

Right-click an object listed in the Scene tab and choose Properties. Alternatively you can Double-click the space to the side of its name to open the Properties. This will open a panel with special options such as Billboarding and Mirroring.


Layers

🐊 Layers allow you to organize your object list inside the Scene tab. You can drag objects into and out of layers and label them to help you when sorting through them. To add a layer, simply click the + button near the top of the window while the Scene tab is open. If you right-click a layer, a menu will display with the following options.


Exporting

If you have registered and activated your program (non-Steam version), you'll have the ability to save and export.

  1. Choose a tileset that is being used in your scene.
  2. Click File on the menubar and choose either Export Scene or Export Objects. Export Objects will export each object separately whereas Export Scene will combine everything together.
  3. Select which objects to include in the scene if necessary.
  4. Adjust the export settings to your liking. Details of these settings are outlined below.
  5. Click Export and pick a location to save your files.
  6. Type in a name for your file and click Save.

OBJ format

If you are using multiple tilesets to construct your scene, you will have to export for each tileset unless you choose to export a MTL file with your OBJ. If you choose this, it will also export all the textures the MTL will reference. If you don't choose to export a MTL file, then when you export, it looks at the current tileset that you have selected and checks to see if there are any tiles in the scene from that tileset. If there are none from that tileset, then it won't export. When you choose a tileset that has tiles in the scene, the export will work and an .obj file will be created with tiles that use only that tileset.

If you export without the MTL option, each .obj file will contain tiles from one tileset, which means that your scene will be split up into multiple parts. Then when importing into another program, you can load all of the exported .obj files, apply the correct tileset texture to each one, and position them to the same coordinates. Your scene will look fine, and everything will be together.

If you export with the MTL file, then when you import the .obj file into a program that supports mtl files, it will import everything with the appropriate textures assigned.

🐊 Watch this video to learn about all the options as well as how to import into Unity, Godot, Blender, Sketchfab.

GLTF & GLB formats

You can choose to export your scene and objects as .gltf files or .glb files. Gltf files are human readable json formatted files while the glb files are binary. The binary format has a smaller file size.

Gltf and Glb files can embed the texture images into the file. This way you can have just one file that contains everything you need to import into another program. Because of this, these formats are the preferred way to export.


Export Options



Importing

You can import .obj , .gltf , .glb , and .fbx files. This allows you to take models that have been made in other programs and continue working with them in Crocotile.

  1. Click File on the menubar and select Import Model
  2. Select the file you want to import and then click open.
  3. The model will import into your project and a new prefab object will be created in the Scene tab.
  4. Click on the prefab object listed in the Scene tab, and while in Draw mode, add it to your scene!


Active Selection Mode

🐊 If you are in Edit mode and have at least one face selected, you can press Shift+Enter to toggle Active Selection Mode, or you can press the middle mouse button. The tiles will become highlighted in a green color. This mode prevents editing tiles that weren't selected so that you can focus on editing only the selected tiles. It also allows you to perform some special operations which are outlined below.

Tile Splitting

🐊 While in Active Selection Mode, you will see a yellow line appear on selected tiles when you hover your mouse over them. The line represents where you can choose to split a tile. Adjusting the Tile Splitting value located in the lower right corner of the Tileset window in the Tileset tab will give you more control over where you can split a tile. Setting the value to four will let you split the tile at every fourth pixel for example.
  1. Position the yellow line where you want to split a tile.
  2. Right click to bring up the edit menu.
  3. Go to Faces, and click on Split Tile.
Alternatively, you can simply press Alt+S to split the tile along the yellow line without using the menu.

Subdivide

A tile can be subdivided. This process will create new tiles in a grid formation across the original tile. When you select subdivide, a window will popup where you can set the rows and columns. Settings the rows to 3 and columns to 3 will divide the tile up into 3 by 3 tiles. This process might be heavy if you try to divide into a large amount of tiles, so make sure to keep it manageable.