3D texturing is part of every pipeline. You may have a fantastic model, but if the textures don’t look right, the whole model or scene can be affected. To give your 3D configurators the amazing textures they need, start following these tips for your next project and take your textures to the next level.

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Create a great UV layout. This tip should be self-evident, but still be mentioned. A good UV layout is essential to create a rock solid texture for your 3D model. Whether it is a simple object or a complex character to place the texture correctly, the UVs must be effectively mapped. This process is often boring and not very exciting, but whether you like it or not, it has to be done. Without a successful UV map, textures can be distorted or stretched. There are some great applications that can simplify this process. For example, UVLayout is a great software developed exclusively for the layout of your UVs. It is also important that you find and repair overlapping UVs. This can be done relatively easily with your 3D application. Overlapping UVs can later lead to unwanted results, especially if you need to use normal maps.

Use a 3D Texture Painting application. Creating realistic textures can be difficult, but with some very powerful applications it becomes easier. The process of hand-painting textures is very important, especially when creating textures for characters or creatures. Photoshop has the ability to import 3D meshes onto the canvas so that you can paint your textures directly onto your 3D model without trying and understanding how your UV layout matches your model. Sculpting applications like ZBrush or Mudbox also have powerful painting features that let you paint textures directly onto your model. The development of MARI and its painting capabilities has led to a breakthrough in the efficient texturing of your 3D models. While painting textures can be a very difficult task, these applications help you quickly master this process and get you on the road to creating great textures.

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To sell your textures and increase realism, you can find places where you can integrate wear and tear into your textures. Your first impression might be that your textures are perfect and clean. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you are creating textures where this unadulterated look is important, such as product visualization. Mostly the objects have a worn and weathered look, whether it is dust, scratches or rust, even if it is very subtle. These small details really help to increase the realism of your textures. For example, the texture for your character’s jeans has a small fade around the seams or the buttons have a slight discoloration and a scratched look. It is also important that you think logically when you create this wear of your textures. It can be easy to overdo it or suddenly your texture looks like a mess of scratches, rust etc., with no real intention. A good place to integrate wear into your textures is the railing on a staircase. Think about where a person would most likely place their hand for support and how this place on the railing would wear out over time through excessive use.

Photographs are a great way to quickly create credible textures for your characters or objects. You can use them alone or in conjunction with your painted textures to further enhance them. For example, if you put a photo on your texture, you can create these wear details relatively quickly. You can find textures on the Internet, but it’s also a good idea to build your own texture library by going outside and photographing anything you find interesting. If you need textures for an animal or creature model, go to your zoo and take as many photos as you can. A large texture library is essential to create credible textures. No matter what you texture, remember that creating great textures isn’t always about one thing, and depending on the project, it can’t always be something that requires all the tips mentioned here. Taking your textures to the next level can be a combination of a clean UV layout and some great photos. Or maybe your texturing workflow needs the extra boost that only a special 3D painting application can provide. Next time you’re working on a texturing project, try one or more of these tips and see for yourself how much they can improve.

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