View Full Version : HardWood Flooring solutions?

08 August 2009, 10:35 PM

I'm doing a scene with hardwood floors. I've spent a lot of time getting the wood textures I want. Each wood texture is set up to be like one big huge wood panel that hasn't been cut yet. My next part of the process involves sectioning the wood.

My question lies within the process. Do I actually lay out the wood flooring in Maya and texture each piece of wood (eliminating having to actually cut anything out)? Should I lay out the pieces separately like the above process but instead group it and save the UV and then cut out pieces in photoshop and place them on my wood pannels? Or should I just use a flat plane and set the wood flooring in photoshop, using bump mapping?

I am rendering a scene for show on YouTube, specifically. I've already begun laying out wood panels but I'm noticing that because of the render size, I'm not getting any detail out of laying the wood physically.

Anyone that has done a decent wood flooring layout in an interior scene, I'd be very appreciative to have any advice. Also, does anyone know of any flooring patter layouts that show exactly how these guys physically set their wood? That would be awsome. Like a tech spec from the top view.



08 August 2009, 06:41 PM
As an arch/viz "professional" (or whatever!) and as a residential construction worker too, I hope I can answer this for you with some degree of helpfulness...

There are two basic types of hardwood flooring: real wood and laminate. The laminate you probably don't want to mimic or work with in CG, since it looks fake and IS fake. Real wood of course comes in many flavors and types, not only types of wood but sizes, stains, etc.

One thing to keep in mind is that when laying hardwood floors, generally the people doing the labor aren't the brightest stars in the sky. It's far, far more simple than you think. They measure the floor and cut the wood, if it doesn't fit they cut it again or use that piece elsewhere. It's pretty straightforward, really. Keep in mind that wood comes in pre-fabricated lengths, generally 8', 10', 12', 16', etc. Rarely would you find say, brazillian walnut (known as "ironwood" generally) in 20' spans. Usually the trees themselves only yield up to 10' usable spans of plank-type wood.

In Photoshop and Maya, you really only need your UV map and a photo or two of the wood planks you'd like to use. Avoid using non-plank wood images if possible. Here's a typical one I like to use (free at

Note that the offsets are already done with this image. This can save you a lot of time generally, but say you're working with an image like this:

Now you'll have to do your offsets in Photoshop manually. Not too bad, but still time consuming.

Simply measure your scene appropriately and output a top-down single UV map for the floor you're trying to texture. A typical UV map for me looks like this:

This floor is based on an existing, actual bathroom, so I know from physically measuring it at the site that this floor is 13'1" at the longest point (bottom middle to top angle intersection). In my case, this is a tile-floor job, but the concept is the same with wood offsetting.

So say you're using 10' wood planks for your flooring. You'll have at MOST 3'1" leftover at the longest point. So to make it really simple, in Photoshop copy-paste ONE plank onto your UV map. Resize it so that it retains its width but the length is precisely the longest span. Then you resize that along the long axis to 50%, or in the field I would specify 7'. Using 7' lengths of planking at the longest, you should have at least one offset per run.

Now you simply copy/paste more planks from your source image and use the first one as your size template. Alternate and randomize your seams according to your plan, and in a short while you'll have your texture map's base layer!

Now if you're using an offset photo already, you can simply copy-paste that over your UV and then set your scale, and you're done. Much simpler.

I use bump maps for flooring; rarely is the flooring my focal point of detail, and usually you can get away with making a nice bump. Sometimes you have to do them manually, sometimes you can get away with a filtered grayscale image of your original texture map. A bit of cleanup goes a long way with bump maps.

I think if I were making a room for art purposes, I would possibly model each piece of wood and then Combine them for texturing/UV's. In my arch/viz career though, I don't have that kind of time. A flat plane is always the easiest way, and time is money. High-res texture maps (4096 or at the least 2048) can usually do the trick, but mostly the UV's themselves are the key, as well as having your actual measurements handy.

Since you mention you're rendering for YouTube, high-res meshes or textures really aren't necessary. I'd go 2048 or so on your textures and stick to flat planes for your modeling.

Hope this helps some!

08 August 2009, 05:54 AM
Wow, thank you for the clear and in depth response! I always assumed that wood flooring had thought put into it than simply a cut it so it fits ideology.

I totally understand about not having the time in your career to model things separately. I work more in broadcast and we don't have time to do final gather and make things look real as possible. The preset chromes and glass that are in ArchVis (3dmax)/MIA_Material (Maya) were amongst our favorites while working at WWE.

I have more questions! What determines the width when you are deciding flooring for a room? Is there a general width used? Or do you decide that upon the size of the room? Say it's a small living room. Do you tend to use shorter lengths and widths to make the room look larger? If it is a large living room do you make fatter and shorter boards so that it the room doesn't feel overwhelming?

These questions really have no importance other than my curiosity being flared. I have already started to lay out a pattern. I'm using minimal polys and I think my textures started out at 1024 x 1024. I think now they are 512 x 512. I figured since it's purposed for Youtube the texture quality will be thrown out the window anyway.

Thanks for the reference above. I haven't had a chance to really look at the textures you've given but I'm hoping I can somehow fit the planks I've already started as I made the wood from scratch (found a really good tutorial for it).

I'm building to scale so whatever you say will be able to be put in correctly.



08 August 2009, 02:29 PM
The preset chromes and glass that are in ArchVis (3dmax)/MIA_Material (Maya) were amongst our favorites while working at WWE.

Those same presets are also in Maya, using mia_material or mia_material_x. They work brilliantly, although there are far too few of them compared to any other piece of software. At least they work!

What determines the width when you are deciding flooring for a room?

The wood itself determines the width. I mean, the wood your customer selects. Most often it's a 5/4x4, which is in America 1" tall and 3.5" wide. On occasion you'll get a client who wants 5/4x6, which is 1" tall and 5.5" wide. The lengths of those planks varies depending on the type of wood; some trees are able to yield 20' spans, others like mahogany and ironwood are generally 10' or shorter.

As a worker, you really don't want to be cutting planks width-wise unless you are at a wall edge or a corner or something. The main pieces, what you call your "field planks", would all be a factory width, with the length determined how I discussed in my last post.

Thanks for the reference above.

Sure thing, but my textures don't appear to have came through. I'll link you here.

Straight planks:

And offset planks:

Hope this helps!

08 August 2009, 04:22 PM
Also, here are some more presets ported from Jeff Patton's max package.

Not all of them behave themselves, and none have attached texture maps (you'll have to tweak the diffuse color in just about all of them), but they're a good additional starting point if you're having trouble getting your "look" right on arch materials... I sometimes have trouble visualizing the BRDF curve on some stuff, and these help a lot:

Unzip, stick the mia_material_x folder in your maya/[version]/presets/attrPresets/ folder.


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