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What do you know about texture mapping?

3d model

What is Texture Mapping?

Texture Mapping is adding realism to a 3D model by defining high quality, surface texture, and color mapping on the model. Next, 2D surface, also called a "Texture Map", which is wrapped around a 3D model. This process is called diffuse or color mapping. Also, textures are referred to as PBR textures on the web.

The Basic Functions of Texture Mapping

It's pretty straightforward. The main goal is creating something so real it looks like reality. Texture mapping is not just used in 3d models it's also used in 3d renderings. A 3d rendering can help through a design phase to help clients visualize a space.

  • Textures can show how a 3d model reflects light.

  • Creating a space where you can add and subtract the amount of detail.

  • Using textures can make something in 2d look like 3d.

Ways to Create Texture Maps

Different software's have their own built-in texture mapping. Blender has a node system that allows you to create your own textures for your 3d worlds. If you search the web for texture mapping you will find tons of software such as 3ds max, Revit, SketchUp and Blender.

Low or High Resolution

Quality is key to realism for a 3d model or rendering. But keep in mind the high resolution the more storage is taken. You want to select the areas that are more important than others in your 3d models and renderings. Areas where people will look the most by using a high resolution for clarity and low resolution out of focus areas. Resolution can range from 1K, 2K, 4K and 8K with selection of a PNG or JPG file depending on your needs and wants.

Bake Your Models

Baking in the 3d worlds means reducing the amount of poly in your 3d models. By doing so helps to create low data to make files small. Also, it's good practice because the higher the poly the slower real-time rendering is. The lower data, the better real-time rendering and 3d models.

The Different Types of Texture Maps

There are various types of texture maps. Here are some regularity used texture maps.

Diffuse Map (Color)

Diffuse Map for PBR textures

Diffuse Mapping

This is basically a color or image that has no light applied to it. Any image scan by a digital camera to represent a photo realism.

Ambient Occlusion

Ambient occlusion map for PBR texture

Ambient Occlusion Map

Occlusion is another map texture map that helps with defining shadows and lighting. When creating a 3d model or rendering ambient occlusion will calculate the amount of light at each angle. It brings universal lighting methods to add indirect lighting sources.

Normal Map

Normal GL Map for PBR textures

Normal Map

Normal map gives the diffuse map depth making a 3D visualization look even more real. Normal GL is what Blender uses to create depth in a 3d model or rendering. Normal GL expects the first pixel to be at the bottom while DirectX expects it to be at the top. Depending on how the designer wants the texture to look like.

Displacement Map

Displacement map for PBR textures

Displacement Map

Just like a normal map which brings height information and modifies geometry when rendering, changing the appearance for both shading and silhouette. A grayscale map that gives height information that then projects onto the mesh to create a displaced surface image.

Smoothness Map

Smoothness map for PBR texture

Smoothness Map

A smoothness is the opposite of roughness. The map shows a glossy and smooth appearance. When applied in a 3d model or rendering the texture will reflect its surroundings.

Metallic Map

Metallic Map for PBR textures

Metallic Map

Metallic use diffuse, metallic and roughness mapping. A diffuse map contains both specular color for metals and non-metal. Metallic map is a greyscale map that tells the shader if the color portion is made of metal or not.


Preview of perforated metal acoustic panel

After all the explaining of texture maps. You're ready to make your 3d models and renderings come to life.

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