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Texturing refers to the act of producing 2d images for use with 3d models. Commonly referred to as maps or sometimes as "skins" work in conjunction with Materials and Shaders to produce the final rendering inside a game engine on a game model that has a UV Layout. Multiple texture types are often used to control different parameters or channels of the shader, such as Normal maps or Specular maps. A variety of techniques and Software are used to make textures: painted by hand in a traditional 2d package, painted in 3d directly on models, created parametrically, or Baking image data from one model to another.

(a couple of 2d/newbie-friendly tutorial links should go here) See the texturing tutorial for more links.

Texture Types

Depending on the engine and visual style, different types of maps are used for different effects. Vertex colors are optionally used to control additional effects, such as blending between two images in the same model. Images are made up of Pixels and are split up into Red, Green and Blue components, also known as channels, and may additionally have an Alpha channel which can be used to store opacity or another type of map or mask. Masks are images or layers used to control "How much of What", such as Specular maps or Gloss maps, and are typically (but not always) greyscale (pixels only utilizing one channel).

For the average prop, arrangements of map types might use Diffuse/Specular/Normal for a current-gen game. Physical Based Rendering setup might be Albedo/Microsurface/Reflectivity/Normal for a next-gen shader.

Other surfaces need more specialized shaders and textures, such as Skin or water.

For an expanded list, see Texture types.


todo: technical info: dimensions, bit depth, channels, pixel/texel, format(and page for format types).

(the following is the old wiki page, will clean up as pages are written)

Related Pages

Texture Sizes

Texture Photography

ShoeBox: Mask Image - by Hendrik-Jan "renderhjs" Schoenmaker
Taking Better Photos for Textures - by Jordan Walker
Better Sharpening in Photoshop - by Ben "poopinmymouth" Mathis
Texture Photography & Processing Tutorials
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