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Phototextures? Okay or not?
show user profile  S. Silard
This is a question which has bothered me for some time. So what's the industry standard? Is it common and acceptable to use photos as textures, or it's not?

I heard some people don't use it because when you take a photograph about something, it's already reflecting and refracting and all that. So that texture is not that good after all. I can see some sense in that, but making all the textures by hand, and expecting it to be photorealistic is just insane, or is it?

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3/18/2016 10:12:58 PM (last edit: 3/18/2016 10:12:58 PM)
show user profile  LionDebt
Sure, why not?

There are plenty of tricks you can do in Potatoshop to remove reflection etc. Generally speaking, a camera will capture too much information for your texture. So you need to 'strip' it down.

For example, I want a concrete wall texture, but the one I take photos of has moss, dirt and graffiti on it. The texture won't tile nicely because the details. So, instead I could strip the graffiti out and use it as a decal. I could blend lots of photos of the concrete wall together and minimize the amount of dirt/moss in the final texture.

I could use a separate moss/dirt texture and blend the two using a mix-map to make my concrete wall look more realistic.

Also, every single 'texture' on is from a photograph. But you can look there to see how much work has gone into creating a nice, tileable 2048x2048 texture of just about anything - usually an album will contain the source photos (as well as the tiling end result).

edit: I don't understand the opposite of this, which is 'hand' painting all your textures and giving it a unique style. I wish I could learn this :)
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3/18/2016 10:36:55 PM (last edit: 3/18/2016 10:37:53 PM)
show user profile  9krausec
People do use photos for textures.

I can't find it, but I remember also reading an article about scan data for film/video games... They were able to can high resolution objects (with textures) and through black magic actually digitally remove the shadows and light hotspots.

That's one of the biggest issues with using photos for textures (I'd imagine). The light from the environment should be as neutral as possible since you are going to relight it in a digital environment.

Also consider spec maps as well when using photos as textures. I'm sure you can clip out spec maps at times or just turn the image into a greyscale and use it.. but with hand built textures you have the power of layers and being able to tweak/pull specific elements out of it to be used in all the material channels..

Frankly, unless I have a good reason to use a photo, I tend to stick to procedural textures and maps (which could be photos of course, but made to be tile-able which I would usually end up layering over other shit too).

The above are only my thoughts.. Not right, not wrong (I hope not), but just how I interpret things and work myself.

- Portfolio-

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3/18/2016 10:56:33 PM (last edit: 3/18/2016 10:58:08 PM)
show user profile  FX
If a photo's lighting is uneven I always reach for High-Pass and tweak the contrast afterwards.

Like LD says...many methods to make a photo work for you and easy enough to make a photo look 'hand made'.

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3/18/2016 11:07:26 PM (last edit: 3/18/2016 11:07:26 PM)
show user profile  Nik Clark
Do what you have to to get the result you want.

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3/18/2016 11:16:29 PM (last edit: 3/18/2016 11:16:29 PM)
show user profile  herfst1
100000% yes, use photos. If you have artifacts like specular, just eliminate them and go from there. is your friend.
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3/18/2016 11:52:21 PM (last edit: 3/18/2016 11:52:21 PM)
show user profile  Dave
Scan based texturing or just photos are used a lot in games nowadays, the entire PBR workflow pretty much relies on it. (not to say you can't do stylised PBR, but photorealism is more common)

As LD has said though, you do want to strip information out of photos to make them more usable. Things like Substance painter have automatic ways of doing this for you, but a fair amount of it is just light/shadow information, you want to start with a texture of a real object, as if it had no directional light hitting it.

From there though, you will probably want to generate things like a normal/displacement map spec/gloss or metalness/roughness, then you've things like AO and cavity too. Getting some nice height data from an image is pretty important for all of these. It's certainly not as simple as slapping a photo onto a model and calling it a day. But I will admit the whole process feels very stripped of a lot of "creative" thoughts.

Still though, it works, it looks good, and everyone is doing it. So yes, if it makes sense for you to use photos, use them.

"I flew over Egypt once"

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3/18/2016 11:59:59 PM (last edit: 3/18/2016 11:59:59 PM)
show user profile  S. Silard
Thanks for the information.

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3/19/2016 4:20:48 AM (last edit: 3/19/2016 4:20:48 AM)
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