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Texturing & UV Mapping Megathread - Share Your Techniques and Tricks

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Can anybody share some insight on converting current textures into the Unity 5 standard, which uses PBR? I literally feel physically ill after trying to get it to work, it's so ridiculously complicated, or appears to be.

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My advice to those starting out with texturing:

  1. Build a library of raw textures that you can use over and over and over again. A good generic base texture can save you hundreds of hours and will only require minor tweaks to give very varied results. These should be things like metals, minerals, wood or other raw materials, but avoid anything with very specific details as they will only make it obvious that you are reusing the same base texture. They should also be either large enough to cover all your texturing needs, or tileable.

  2. Learn what the blending modes in Photoshop do, and more importantly WHY. If you're not very technical it can be rather boring to read up on the subject, but being able to instantly pick the right blending for the the right job is a hell of a lot faster than randomly flipping modes until you get the desired results.

  3. Always leave a little wiggle room around your UVs by painting at least a few pixels outside them. Decreasing the size of a texture can give you unwanted seams if you only paint to the exact edge of a UV, as the rescaling could potentially push some unwanted pixels over the edge. And on that note:

  4. Start with a much larger texture than you intend to use and then scale it down once you're finished. Never, ever, EVER enlarge a texture, it looks like crap. It's also much easier to paint if you have lots of pixels to work with, and you never know when the game engine you're working with gets an upgrade and is suddenly able to cope with textures twice the size. Yet another bonus is that this way you don't have to decide right away what size your textures will be. You can just start working and when you're done you'll be free to to try out different sizes in the game and see just how much you want to rescale the texture.

    In KSP I mostly work with 2048x2048 files, unless I feel absolutely certain that the in-game texture will NOT be larger than 512x512, in which case I'll start out with 1024x1024. If I know for a fact that the in-game texture will be 1024x1024, I might even start out with 4096x4096.

  5. Always work with your model loaded in you 3D software and check your results often. UVs can be confusing, even if you're used to working with textures and you unwrapped the model yourself, and it's better to find out that you're highlighting something that should be shaded right away than after two hours of incorrect highlighting. Which leads me to:

  6. Try to use a non-destructive workflow. Layers are your friends, and adjustment layers are your even better friends. If you want to change the saturation of a layer, use an adjustment layer so you'll be able to change your mind later without having to remember if you raised it by +16 or +23. If you want to erase part of a layer, use a layer mask in case you change your mind later on. Long story short: if your software allows you to make a change in a non-permanent manner, use it. Always.

  7. Get a feel for when you should allow UVs to repeat themselves and when you should lay them out seperately. A unique detail in just the right place can break up your model in a nice way, and draw attention from other areas with repeating textures.

  8. If you have trouble getting all of your UV islands laid out without getting a loss of detail or large unused areas, consider splitting them between two textures. Sometimes, one 512x512 texture and one 256x256 texture can give you twice the detail of a single 1024x1024 texture depending of the layout of your UVs.

  9. Don't be afraid to try something crazy every once in a while. As long as you're using a non-destructive workflow (and you are, right?) there's nothing wrong with suddenly making a 180 and try something completely different. If it doesn't work out, you can just revert to your original idea and you might still get some new inspiration from your adventures on the weird side. You can't know for sure that your fuel tank wont look good in purple untill you try it.

  10. Take a break. In particular if you're getting sick of your texture. It's easy to slip into a meditative state while texturing, and that's a good thing. But it also means that it's sometimes hard to notice when you've hit a brick wall. When you do, it's often better to step away and do something else for a while, because repeatadly banging your head against a brick wall rarely results in great art. When you come back to the texture you'll be less frustrated and rested, and suddenly that brick wall will have turned into a thin sheat of paper.

Yeah, I know, no pictures. Sadly, my internet is currently down and I'm using my phone's capped WIFI. I hope this proves at least a little bit helpful to someone even without pictures.

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There are some very useful mods for Blender users.

I Use UV Square to straighten up and pack my UVs very tightly on the map.

Very useful for cutting and merging the UVs.

idejgP2.jpg

K91kiLe.jpg

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Here is a quick one for Blender users.

Have you gone a bit overboard on your poly count when making cylinders? Here is a pretty painless method of lowering the side-count. Best part is I don't need to recreate the UVs.

(open full imgur album for full description and text)

 

 

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On ‎12‎/‎8‎/‎2015 at 1:33 AM, CaptainKipard said:

Image #14

Using only a copy of the original panel lines layer and a background, create a normal map.

Hey, Captain, would you please give a short run-down of how you do this?  I'm assuming you do it inside of gimp with the normalmap plugin, but my brain is not really getting it.

Thanks!

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@Kurld, a bit late, but here is a quick guide.

 

Generating a Normal Map using xNormal

1. Use your base texture as a starting point, and create a copy, rename it to end in "_bump_NRM" ( I forget the reasoning but you can search on the forums). I personally remove all smudge/lightening/scratch layers, as those are surface imperfections. If you include the scratch layers, it gives it a more gouged look with the normal. As a general guide, low is black, white is high. So vary the grayscale colors based on how you want things to appear.

Spoiler

lXQOba8.png

llsfrnm.png

 

2. Download xNormal and click on Tools -> Height Map to Normal Map. In the left Height "Map window" (will originally be blank) right click and "Browse height map". after you load in the texture, right click in the right "Normal Map" window and select "Generate". Then right-click "Save Normal map.

For a "quick and dirty" normal map, you can just load in your texture file instead of making a dedicated map.

Spoiler

RQXWETG.png

WCHOA4l.png

 

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