View Full Version : what game has the best textues?

02 February 2002, 03:50 AM
I was looking at the textures for the characters in "return to castle wofenstein" and I was amazed by their quality.
(BTW, if you want to look for yourselves, you can open the .PK0 files with winzip.)
And I was wondering what you guys would think was the game that looks the best texturewise.

Of the top of my head, I can think of kingpin, Grand turismo 3 and NHL 2002. I am not only thinking of the quality of the bitmaps but also the way they look in the game, with all the effects going.

Now let's see; what do you guys think?

02 February 2002, 06:49 AM
i just checked them out, there cool,, u can do the same thing with quake 3 arena, the textures in this r awesome they r hand painted each one like a individual work of art!!!

i dont have king pin,

the cars r good in gt3 and also the tracks e.g the wet weather track!! that one is awesome, some of the other stuff in the game is quite basic, probably due to the ps2 limited texture capabilities, (or so the press say)

how about metal gear solid 2 (ps2)

shemune1+2 (dreamcast)masive variety and look great

unreal tourney better looking in game than q3, thatís about all i can think of right now,,

i think we r going to see some awesome stuff on x box, due to its texture compression capabilities,,

i was wondering how if it is possible to create the reflective car textures(animated) seen in gt3 in studio max ive been pondering it 4 a few hours and i cant quite see how its done with my current knowledge , guess i will have to experiment, also that cool heat haze effect not seen anything else like it on any other game!! Anyone got any suggestions?


The Magic Pen
02 February 2002, 06:34 PM
I would have to say to date the best game textures that I have seen are in Final Fantasy 10. If you look almost all the textures are seamless and extremly complex . I know a lot of people like FPS but in my opnion they are easy to make taxtures for with a few exceptionally well done textures . In that regard I think kenneth scott is one of the best texture artists in the industry so quake 3 would get my vote. I do think that Final Fantasy 10 has better textures though , and more variety.

02 February 2002, 07:00 PM
thanks TMP i was wondering about the artists name that created the quake textures,

i havenít played ff10, going to have to check it out though,

i suppose it difficult to actually say that one games textures r better than anotherís as itís really relative to the game, platform and making the whole thing look great within the limitations that, game engine/ texture tallent does not = the most beautiful.

having said this though some games, on more powerful platforms, are incredible i was just looking at some screenshots of the new unreal games in edge magazine,PHEW!! AWESOME!!! though a FPS again,,

also "project ego" big blue box's latest is looking wicked!!

So TMP why would you say creating textures for a FPS r easier, due to the tiling being less visible because of the angles that they r generally viewed at???


02 February 2002, 01:09 AM
Yeah Wolfensteins Textures are some of the best i've seen, especially when you turn up all of the lighting options.

My vote would have to go to pikmin on the Gamecube! Check it out, and don't just look at stills of it. You have to play the actual game to do it justice. I give it 5 stars

02 February 2002, 02:28 PM
I am a skin/texture artist in the games industry and i would have to say that the best skin/texture artist i have seen is Kenneth Scott from Id. I have been searching and following various texture artists for a while now both console and pc and he crushes the competition with his sharpness, style and detail. He can do various types of skin, clothing, metal and overall lighting which you need to do. Shane Claudle who worked on Unreal Tornament is excellent as he uses both Painter and Photoshop for his textures and paintworks. Also the skinning on Kingpin is top notch. Wolfenstein has some ok textures but to tell you the honest truth i reckon they are not that good from my point, the reason being: they are photo's with incorrect lighting and shading ( i am talking about the skins ) expecially the uniforms. I hate photorealistic texutes with a passion as artists cheat and dont correct the saturation and tone levels (they just look fake).

For console, Sqaure and Sega make some of the most vibrant and detailed textures you can see and they truly amaze me with their detail. Nintendo and Capcom also do a fantastic job on textures.
I only hand paint my skins and textures as they are the way to go as it shows your true skill and talent. Trust me on this one as i had to correct alot of artists mistakes.


02 February 2002, 03:44 PM
I think the textures in RTCW in the game looks good, but when i opened them in PS...they were still good, but as Dela says, the "errors" are more obvious. The worst example in that case, must be MaxPayne..
The best...possibly the art done for Quake, tho i think the game is extremely boring...did i say that out loud?....
I also like the textures in Ghost Recon, tho, the photofactor is high there aswell...


02 February 2002, 03:27 PM
Hi my first post here,
Some of the best texture work I have seen has been by my friends from Bullfrog such as Chris Hill, Darren Patteneden and a great concept artist Called Ross, (can't remember his last name)

When you work closely with really stunning artist it really makes you feel good to be part of the team.

games I think have outstanding texture work are:-

Halo on the XBOX, You have to see these they're great !!
Metal Gear Solid/ 1 and 2, Simple, efficient and effect.
Dungeon Keeper 2, very nice.
Alien Vs Predator2, its just like being in the films !
Homeworld and Homeworld Cataclysm. Very nice.

02 February 2002, 01:01 AM
I find the individual textures of Halo to be nice but they don't fit togather well. Nothing seems to compliment each other and everything appears a bit mish mashed to me.
While this may sound nutty I really like the textures in Vagrant Story. I know it's a PS game and the quality isn't close to next gen consoles but for some reason it holds alot of charm for me. Maybe because it kept the feel of all the concept art for the game.

02 February 2002, 12:41 PM
Dela Said:
"I only hand paint my skins and textures as they are the way to go as it shows your true skill and talent. Trust me on this one as i had to correct alot of artists mistakes."

This might work for you but you can give people the impression that using photographs is somehow a lower art form and doesn't take skill. There could be nothing further from the truth. For one, when we as artists make games we are working on a product. In making that product we are spending money, usually someone else's... and if you can make a texture in 20 minutes using a photo as a base versus an hour handpainted, that is a substantial savings. I don't know an art director out there that would rather have you work slower if you can help it.

Granted, just copy/pasting a photo as a texture usually won't look right. The artist needs to understand the lighting components and how their renderer deals with textures. And, yes, Kenneth Scott is amazing, no doubt there. But for all you aspiring texture artists out there, do not be fooled. You will not have time to sit there and paint every texture you do from scratch! Game production schedules are too tight and every game artist needs to learn various techniques.

So if you can't paint an amazing texture from scratch in a reasonable amount of time, don't sweat it. Use all of the resources at your disposal. In the end it's all about how the model looks and if people like your game, not whether you can boast that you didn't let a single photo invade your textures.

It is just as important to have a mastery of Photoshop... and understanding of how to separate hilights from diffuse from shadow... how to separate luminance from color in your layers... and yes how to paint. But they all work together. Photos are just another piece of the puzzle. Many times a photo can make a painted map look real, just by overlaying a highpassed version.

I do find that painting is much more appropriate when the map involves a lot of bevels and other mechanical elements. Organics, though, ESPECIALLY faces many times demand photo elements to pull off any semblance of realism.

Sorry to rant here, but I'd hate to see someone be discouraged by Dela's post.


02 February 2002, 01:17 PM
You make some very good points and i understand what you mean by time constraints especially when you have a deadline to meet. In most cases you just cannot afford to hand paint every nook and cranny and just have to say well if i can get the end result looking the way i intended to be with the quickest of ease and saving time.... you have no choice. Use a photo.

If you can get a flat photo (with a flat light source) of some material,skin or metal for character/texture purposes then go ahead and use it aslong as the end result satifies your art director and meets the requirements of the game your working on.

Sorry if i mislead people on that. It's just me being a picky bastard as I love hand painted skins and textures.

02 February 2002, 02:26 PM
Yep I totally agree with SUCK, you just don't get the time to handpaint stuff. The last project I was on I got my hands slapped for not producing the goods in record time.
After much arguement with my boss's they relented and allowed us to use photo's because the schedule's were tight.
But you the say what goes around comes around, well cause I stood my ground on the issue, I was made redundant just before the end of 2001. I'm not bitter, I'm at a better place now and the ethos towards art and the use of all resources is activily encouraged by management.

Not all developers work to rediclous or unrealistic project schedules.

Jonny Bubonic
02 February 2002, 07:35 PM
I'm pretty set on hand done stuff myself...the quake 3 textures have got my vote too. I think that the textures for Wolfenstein are great too, though. Photorealism suits the game, as its set in a (semi) realistic setting. BTW, does anyone know if those HUGE textures in RTCW are the size actually used in game with all the graphics setting cranked up? If so, I'm extremely jealous (do not overestimate the power of playstation);)

02 February 2002, 11:00 PM
Concerning the handpainted vs photographic textures, I have to say that everyone has a good point here. Handpainted textures, I think, will always be the favorite of most artists out there but only a few have the time to do this on the job.
I know that where I work, we're just too thight to handpaint the textures. But to get a result we're happy with, we usually start from a picture but do a lot of drawing on top of it. Then if you're good with the smudge and blur tools, you can blend in the two media. Just don't expect it to be easy though, any broad stroke with these tools can destroy your texture.

02 February 2002, 11:09 PM
Originally posted by dtek8

i was wondering how if it is possible to create the reflective car textures(animated) seen in gt3 in studio max ive been pondering it 4 a few hours and i cant quite see how its done with my current knowledge , guess i will have to experiment, also that cool heat haze effect not seen anything else like it on any other game!! Anyone got any suggestions?


It's done with environement mapping. You use a texture as a reflection so that you don't have to actually do any raytracing in realtime. Of course you have to have something that fits your settings, you need the right amount of detail, the right contrast and mor importantly the right colours. It is actually becoming kind of a speciality in the industry.

02 February 2002, 06:29 AM
thanks mcaron, i will try this out, mutch appriciated,,:D

now i just have to solve the cool heathaze effect....hmmm!


02 February 2002, 11:46 AM
Glad to see we're all in agreement here... Dela I was glad that you didn't seem defensive after my post. Cheers for keeping it professional.

"Not all developers work to rediclous or unrealistic project schedules."

We are on a pretty cushy schedule if you ask me and it still irks my AD if we putz around on the same thing for too long. He's got a good point when he says that the key to being a good game artist is knowing when it is "good enough", and unfortunately it takes much longer to get a texture to that state when your approach is one dimensional. That's why most guys (and gals) use a bunch of methods to crank out their stuff.

dtek8 - the heathaze effect is a very cool and almost overused (aw hell, its not overused, it's sweet) effect that's done entirely in code. You can do it in Max pretty easily by using the Thin Wall Refraction map on a bunch of flat facing particles. There was a nice tutorial floating around somewhere that outlined it on the web... I'll see if I can dig it up.

mcaron - I find it easiest to separate the detail of the map into a grayscale layer so that I have a consistent value range to work within. Any painting is done within this layer. Photos and color maps are overlayed or multiplied on afterward. I've also been getting into ps6's new stuff with clipping paths... really handy for little bevely bits and such.

Rook - interesting that you bring up Halo... Talk about amazing use of multipass textures in that game. Man I would love to see the tools that those artists got to use to put that stuff together. Knowing Bungie it's nicer than Q3's shader scripts.


02 February 2002, 10:03 PM
Thanks a lot suck, I'll try it.

I tend maybe a bit too much to "charge in" when working on a texture in photoshop. I lay out bits and pieces of pictures, blend them toghether using various techniques and draw a lot with the airbrush on top of it all. I, and everyone out there in my situation, should spend more time trying out and learning all those newer techniques for layering and masking.

And maybe I'll start a new thread on texture techniques. The debate is getting really interesting.

Jonny Bubonic
02 February 2002, 10:32 PM
while we're on the subject, check out this site....never seen textures as good as this, all hand drawn by the look of things. Go to They're huge (512x512), but extremely good.

02 February 2002, 10:53 PM
Originally posted by suck
mcaron - I find it easiest to separate the detail of the map into a grayscale layer so that I have a consistent value range to work within. Any painting is done within this layer. Photos and color maps are overlayed or multiplied on afterward.

I "found out" this technique just recently. Great to know that someone out there is working similiarly, so this approach seems to prove clever :)

Talking about painting/time, I'm lucky enough to work on a game with a cartoonic look, so I have an excuse for not using photos. But then, my co-worker beside me and responsible for backgrounds, tends to use photos a bit more.

The Magic Pen
02 February 2002, 11:28 PM
512x512 is a huge texture??..we are using 1024x1024 on characters , the detail will make you cry when the game comes out though ;)

Kim Oravecz
02 February 2002, 05:29 AM
Hey Suck,

Can you expand on the comment that you made to mcaron where you said:

mcaron - I find it easiest to separate the detail of the map into a grayscale layer so that I have a
consistent value range to work within. Any painting is done within this layer. Photos and color maps are
overlayed or multiplied on afterward. I've also been getting into ps6's new stuff with clipping paths...
really handy for little bevely bits and such.

Actually if you could expand on both of those statements that would be great! :)


02 February 2002, 08:42 PM
Kim, you'll find the basics of greyscale skinning techniques outlined in this tutorial by Krow.

And in this one by Rorsharch (Unreal II texture artist)

Hope those help.

02 February 2002, 09:57 PM
Krow's tutorial is great. Thanks for posting that Harlequin.


Kim Oravecz
02 February 2002, 01:40 AM
Thanks much for posting those tuts Harlequin! I can see how that method can be really useful.

Hey Suck - can you explain a bit what you meant about using clipping paths for little bevely bits and such?

Usually what I do is say I want to put a beveled shape on top of something (like the tank I'm working on). I go to the layer I want to add the beveled thingy to, make a selection in the shape of the thingy and then hit ctrl-j which copies my selected area and creates a new layer with just the selected portion copied to that new layer. I then go ahead and add my effects such as beveling, etc to that layer.

Are there any advantages to using clipping paths over this method?


. . . Kim

02 February 2002, 02:12 AM

Well the method I'm talking about uses PS6 layer styles...

If you make a shape with the shape tool, it will create a layer with a solid fill with a clipping path. The shape is defined as a path, so you can then use the arrow to move points. Adding a layer style to that layer uses the clipping path as a boundry definition so the shape you drew will then be beveled or have a drop shadow or whatever layer style you choose.

The neatest thing about this is that you can then create new shapes in the same layer that act like booleans... there is an option for union, intersection, subtraction in the top bar for the shape tool. so it's easy to make cutout shapes and get nice mechanical forms. once you get the shapes aligned how you like, you hit combine and it turns them from many shapes into a consolidated path.

You can also make a path, select a layer, and with that path active, under the layer menu, select "add clipping path"... works just the same way layer masks do with selections, but with paths.


Kim Oravecz
02 February 2002, 02:32 AM
Hey Suck,

Thanks!! I just played around with that a bit - very cool indeed! That is definitely a very cool way of adding "bevely bits" to an image. Plus its a heck of a lot easier making shape layers than making selections and then doing a ctrl-j for more 'detailed' type shapes. Plus using the shape layers seems to make the shaped area much more "crisp" than doing regular selections.

Thanks for sharing that!


. . . Kim

02 February 2002, 04:32 PM
thanks suck, its good to know how to acheve these impressive little fx(heathaze) hehe!! yeah its not overused yet i suppose but i can see it going the way of the lenseflare,


02 February 2002, 06:22 AM
Just a thing about using the gray layer to do all the painting: this is probably a good technique but it has one big limitations: all your shadows (or highlights) are created by adding black or white to an existing color. As you may know shadows in real life and in any good painting are COLORED. For example a shadow on snow is not light grey but blue. This is also very true for flesh tones: if you add black to create shadows on flesh you'll have something that looks 'dirty' and not warm. Shadows on flesh are usually done with a more reddish, darker and more saturated color than your base color.

That doesn't mean the grayscale technique is a bad one but I just wanted to say that it's not the best one and definitely not the only one :) If you want nice looking realistic shadows, or even very stylized shadows (like disney's artists using purple shadows for orange objects) you'll have to paint them with colors and not just with values.

02 February 2002, 07:22 AM
Actually black_fish I've had pretty good success with color balance in photoshop. Since you can add differing amounts of color to the shadows, midtones, or hilights you can get around the issue you describe and make the shadows bluer or redder than the rest of the map. Granted, you won't be keeping the layers separate any longer, but I usually flatten stuff down to a certain extent after the map is pretty far along.

Good point though.


Jonny Bubonic
02 February 2002, 04:08 PM
Yeah, I can see the point in doing it using greyscales, but I tend to agree with black_fish on this one. A method I use a lot is to rough in, say, a mid tone (in colour) then work in shadows and highlights in lighter and darker versions of the same tone. I then make a copy of this combined layer, so I have two identical layers one above the other. In the lower layer, use "variations" to alter the colour, say more red/magenta if I was going to do the cheeks and nose area of a face. Go back to the upper layer and using the eraser tool rub through to the layer underneath, revealing the colour change. The advantages of this are that you have a lot of control over how much colour comes through, because you can simply put more or less pressure on the eraser. It also retains exactly the same tonal/contrast values as the original, wheras using overlay layers can alter it.
Anyway, repeat the process as many times as necessary to add lots of subtle but quick colour changes. Its easy to add blue to shadows, for example, using this method. Its not the only method I use, and I still use overlays, but mainly to add subtle texture effects to an otherwise airbrushy looking area. I've got a whole collection of flaky paint photos especially for this purpose. :)

03 March 2002, 02:52 AM
best textures IMO -

RTCW and S.W.I.N.E.

both are amazing pieces of work. Kudos to the makers.


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