Types Of Textures Research

Since texturing is the next stage of my developing my 3d skills for use in a video game I decided to research into the different types of textures as well as the layers that make up a final texture.

Normal Map

This is a technique that is used for faking lighting to give a texture depth, for example, bumps and dents. The reason this map is used is because it can add more detail to a prop without increasing the polygon count of the model. The way it works is that it stores a direction at each pixel of the model meaning these can be placed to imitate detail by having lighting and shadows.


Specular Map

Putting it simply a specular map is what is used to alter the textures shininess and highlight certain colour areas so that they are either more visible and give depth to the model. Another aspect of this map is that it shows the different pixels in different colours to represent the different levels of lighting in that part of the texture. This makes it easy to alter the lighting and make parts separate from one another. When looking at what the specular map is I came across a good youtube video that explains the basics of how to create a specular map.

Specular map example

Metalness Map

This map is pretty self-explanatory as it is used to make certain parts of the textured model look as if they are a metal material. This is done using black and white. The colours of the model which are white are the metal parts, the parts which are in black are not. This helps to add realism to the model, making props look more believable. For example, a sword blade would look silly and fake if it didn’t have the metal map as it would not have the shimer and roughness of metal.


Base Colour

The base colour is simply the actual texture which is used for the model. The map is then used on top of it so that it can contain more detail.

Base colour.png

Occlusion Mapping

Similar to the normal map, the point of the occlusion map is to simulate soft shadows that appear in the cracks and curves of an object. this helps to make the texture more 3d and prevent it from appearing flat. It also helps to separate different parts of the model from one another. A good example is on a brick wall. The occlusion map will help separate the bricks from the mortar so that they stand out and don’t blend together from a distance. This would usually be added after the final render of the model in photoshop.



The albedo map, also known as the diffuse map is the basic colour of the texture. for example the red of a brick texture. The user can then adjust the shadows and highlights of this colour.

aledo example.jpg

PBR Workflow

PBR, also known as physical based rendering, is a process that the user has to go through manually where they remove the light from the texture. This is a longer process but the majority of the time creates a better outcome as it gives the user more control on where they want the lighting to be. It is done using a combination of the previous maps.  The final result is more accurate to what the user desires than the other texture processes available. Here is a good video on what PBR Workflow is.



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