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What a texture needs (Forums : 2D Graphics : What a texture needs) Locked
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cW#Ravenblood CloudWalker
Oct 23 2012, 3:09pm Anchor

Hello folks out there!

While getting into creating game textures and materials for several engines I asked myself what does a texture need?
So I looked it up and found some stuff!

So first I need a reference picture, the texture itself, the image how it shows up ingame (I think its called "Diffuse Map").

In addition it can have some more stuff:

  • Normal Map - simulates depth
  • Specular Map - defines surface's shininess and highlight color
  • Detail Textures - adding more detail to the original texture

Well, I think we got all?Uhm no? Well, I also found Height Maps and Bump Maps, which seems to be just another type of Normal Map.I think it's also based on which engine you use, if some types are supported or not. Also it might be that an engines has another type of texture, like Source has $phong.So, is it all? Or do you know something else?CheersRavenblood


"Make of your life a dream,
and of a dream a reality"
-Antoine de St Exupéry

Cryrid 3D Artist
Oct 23 2012, 4:49pm Anchor
There's a sampling of possible texture types. There could be other images used if the shader calls for them (such as a ramp)

Normal maps control the surface normals on a per-pixel basis as opposed to using just the vertex normals. It's not really depth-related, more like the angle of the surface.

With specular maps, there can be two values to look for. One controls the intensity and color of the specular highlight (if the engine supports colored specular; newer engines should), the other is a grayscale map which controls the power of the specular (gloss).

(Also, phong is a shader, not a texture).

Oct 23 2012, 4:53pm Anchor

Diffuse Map - Basic color texture. The bare minimum needed.
Bump Map - Used to fake geometry by modifying the way a model reflects the light. Always grey-scale. Can be preferred to a normal map because making one is as simple as painting it. Darker areas in the texture correspond to lower areas in the simulated geometry, brighter to higher. Use depends on personal preference or project requirements.
Normal Map - Used to fake geometry by modifying the way a model reflects the light. Uses RGB information to determine height. MUST be made from a high-poly version of the model or otherwise converted from a bump map. Can be preferred to a bump map because the high poly geometry can be used to guide the creation of the diffuse. Use depends on personal preference or project requirements.
Specular Map - Used to determine how shiny a surface on a model is. Usually grey-scale, can be monochromatic. Darker areas correspond to duller surfaces, brighter to more polished.
Gloss Map - Used to determine how large the shine from a surface is. Grey-scale. Darker areas correspond to less glossy surfaces and larger specular highlights, lighter to glossier areas and smaller specular highlights.
Detail Map - A normal or bump map used specifically to add more surface variation to an object with an otherwise low resolution texture. Generic. Usually things like scratches, dents, or pebbles. Applied in addition to the original normal/bump map.
Alpha Map - Used to determine how transparent (see-through) part of a model is. Always grey-scale. Darker areas correspond to more transparent areas, lighter to more solid. Depending on how the engine you're using handles things like transparency, Areas of the model affected by this map may or may not have to be become separate objects from the rest of the model so that the correct shader can be applied.

Which you start work on first depends on your personal preference. Some people prefer to make a high-poly model, bake it to a normal map, and use the normal to make the diffuse. Some prefer to make the diffuse and then paint a bump map based on it. Some people prefer to make a bump map and base the diffuse on it. Obviously you can't make a spec or an alpha map without a diffuse or normal/bump map to guide it.


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cW#Ravenblood CloudWalker
Oct 24 2012, 8:02am Anchor

Oh, thanks guys :D


"Make of your life a dream,
and of a dream a reality"
-Antoine de St Exupéry

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