Using Photos to texture


Hey fellow artists. I need a little help on a subject. I am trying to texture a piece of my texture map and I want to create a wall texture using a photographic image. Now when I apply that to my texture map, (by sizing down the source image (512x512)) it looks like dog crap when applied to the model…

Can anyone offer advice? Thanks in advance…


Oh, and here are the images. Had a bit of trouble uploading them…


Well, it’s a very boring material you picked there to start with.

Other than that, you usually dont apply plain photosources as textures or specially skins. YOu use them as base or to get the structure you want and either paint on top of them or use other sources overlayed to make them look more realistic.

The wall you’re trying to apply there is just a fragment of a large RealLife™ wall, if you look at the entire wall you’ll notice that maybe the edges/corners are dirty, the bottom is darker from dirt/dust from the ground etc.

Also, your object seems like something that would be standing outside so there would be all kinds of weatheration affecting it. That’s what you need to either paint on top or find other textures to overlay on top to get those effects and play around with transparencies, overlay modes, saturation, contrast etc.

These are for normal tiling textures so they are missing any localized weatheration but might give you an idea.

and a really really old tutorial, it’s bad but has some explanation at least…


I’m not too sure what you plan on doing with the roof area (well I think it’s the roof… anyway… that blue sextion, bottom right). You could possibly overlap some of the UVs there and save some space and scale some of the other smaller detailed areas up. From what I can tell there seems to be some texture space being wasted.

With regards to the white wall texture that you want to scale down: are the areas that you want to use it on going to be unique (ie. have dirt on, or any other attribute that will set them apart from the other pieces of white wall)? If not, I can suggest that you possibly devote a large area of that map for those UVs that will share that wall texture. Then you should be able to use a larger, less scaled piece of wall on you unwrap.

Also I might help if you can post a render or screenshot of the building.

About scaling down photos, you really need to be careful there. From a large image down to something quite a bit smaller can give bad results. What you will probably have to do is repaint and touch up some areas.

Anyway hope what i mentioned makes some sense, and helps you out.


Hey, what’s up Mindrot… good to see you.Yeah the blue section is a roof, which I am going to dirty up real good after I finish the clean version. It is a game model, about 4000 polygons, and will have a bump, spec, diffuse, and color map…
About breaking up the roof, do you mean separating it pieces to texture them since it will sharing the surface?

and the brown parts are a separate texture all its own…

I baked the textures to an image at a very small size and then came blurriness. If it looks jagged, I have the model’s vertices unwelded.


Here is a render by the way…fire away…


That’s way too close a detail shot for what you’re trying to do. Ideally, your photosource will be about the same size/distance as the texture is supposed to be.

Also, when you scale that down, you’re going to lose detail, which it didn’t have much of to begin with. mess with the sharpen filters both before and after the scaling and you’ll have a better effect.


Oh, I see now. Now that I am thinking about it, i will NOT use that texture. I am in fact fixing my UV Map to fit all the space. And then baking the texture map to an image so I can use the detail texture image as an overlay. I’ll post it now.

What do you think?


Okay… the UVW layout looks better, but you can still move those UVs closer together, maybe not so they touch eachother, but just a bit closer. All that space counts, especailly on small maps with lotsa detail.

I just thought of this :hmm: : you have quite a high poly building there, and for what you are trying to do with the amount of detail in that size texture map versus the poly count seems a bit off to me. What I coud possibly suggest is use more maps, maybe not too many but use more. You will also get way more detail out.

If this was say a 100-1000 poly building (thinking real-time stratergy here) I’d say that you could possibly try and get away with that size texture, possibly even smaller. But for that poly count I’d say go with more textures…

Hope this helps you :thumbsup:


I totally agree with you. The only object on that building with the highest polygon count is the roof. (928 triangles), everything else is pretty low. The light brown frame areas have their own texture map.

This dojo had over 150 textures long ago and I actually wanted to gear this toward a game environment, since my class is based on game design. And the engine I will be using allows up to 8 texture maps. So I have a few options now. I will still think about putting it back to different textures surfaces…

Oh and don’t worry about the polygon count. The model will have 3 LOD’s. Up close and personal the model with have 4500 polygons…and far away, I have not decided yet…but i will still continue texturing the model…

My next house will be very high res…


Here is the new texture sheet that I am trying to arrange to put as much detail in my model as possible. Here is a texture sheet for the model… There is still empty space I am trying to deal with, maybe you guys can offer suggestions.

Thanks in advance…


Quoted from a private message…

I have a floor… that I was going to overlap (the square on the bottom left hand part of the texture sheet) and it is was once a 16 quad plane), simply using planar projections on each quad…(I always triangulate before I texture) and to create a wood plank floor by a method you suggested…(overlap UVs)
Just place the plank texture into the main map and align it within the boundries of the square, such that it will tile from one side of the square to the other. Don’t need to re-UV if all the floor squares share the same UV space.


Cool. It works perfectly. The section of the square is a 64x64, and it tiles perfectly. Now I just want to make sure I can get extreme detail with such a small texture section… I am still using references to paint wood floor (which is a pain in the ass to paint)


How is the building going to be used?

If it’s designed to be seen up close (like in an FPS or something), then usually scenery is not skinned like characters but use multiple smaller tileable textures. You’d have one for the tiles on the roof, one for the basic wall, one for the pillar, one for the step etc. You might even have separate ones for the ends of the walls and so on. Trying to squeeze it all onto one texture is a largely a waste of time as the resolution ends up so low.

However if the building is going to be an object and seen from far away (like in an RTS) then the approach you’re taking is right for that, as multiple teextures are slower to use than one larger one. But you do limit the opportunity for tiling. If you’re very careful you can still tile bits of the texture like the roof by filling up one side of the texture sheet then scaling the uvs outside the 0-1 range (which is the same thing as tiling). You can also reuse the same part of the texture on multiple surfaces. There’s no reason to have all four sides of the roof separate as they can easily use the same piece of texture space. Except if you’re planning to bake lighting into the texture, then of course the sides will be different.

But overall, using photographic sources for scenery textures can work really well. I’ve done it lots of times and the results can be very effective. That doesn’t mean you won’t need to edit them to make them fit together properly or get the colour or brightness values similar.


Is there a good way to hide the seams…after I apply the map?


I am using the building as a practice of game modeling of enviroments and characters, as well as texturing. It counts at 4000 polygons (my limit), and I am basically creating a scene to be used in a game environment. I am also trying to paint very small plaster grains and it looks very large when I map it. Even after I bake the textures using procedurals…it is for my game design class. I will also be using 4 LOD’s with mips.

The texture map is a 1x512x512, with color, Bump, spec, and diffuse map


Well if that’s the limit set by the class you’re stuck with it. Sorry. :wink: But try and reuse the texture space wherever possible.

But really, multiple smaller tilable textures are used in most games for scenery.

Here’s a piece of city I did for a cancelled project. This was for the PS2 which has very strict texture restrictions so you have to use multiple small tiled textures.

If you look at the building on the corner for example, you can see that the wall looks fairly high res, but the brick texture is only 128x128 and it’s tiled multiple times (3x3 times on the wall to the right). The top of the wall is another small texture (64x32 in this instance i think). The windows are separate, as is the missing shop sign. All together these textures used on this one building come to less than 1 512x512.

I’m not trying to contradict your tutor, just showing you a real world example with photographic textures on it.

Good luck.


Oh, not at all. Actually, I have had this model for awhile and I chose that limit. And in my texture library I do have wooden floor textures but they are all 512x512 and above and painting wood is a real pain. I didn’t want to scale the texture down because it would distort and loose detail…


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