How to fix bad low res texture painting quality

I never had any problems with the resolution/ details of textures. No I stumbled on some problems with texture painting. I am trying to make scratches on a leather surface to make the leather look used. Since it’s a belt that has a size of 1,10 m x 3,5 cm there is not much space to paint on in one axis, hence the scratch brush is really low quality. The only way I know of is to make the image resolution higher which is still way too low to look good. So is there another way to make it look good? If I want to draw bump it’s even worse.

I never had this problem even with other small detail brushes.

not certain about paint
but i think there is a setting for the res somewhere!

did u try with dynatopo then retopo it ?

happy bl

Yes, i can set the resolution when I create the image that I use for painting. But even with a 8k texture it’s still not good enough, because these are minor details. I need to be able to make close-ups, so they need to look crisp.

a bit strange

then why not use a UV normal map
and see results !

or try it with dynotopo sculpt then retopo

might work

happy cl

What does your UV layout look like?

You say “there is not much space to paint on in one axis”, does that mean that you unwrapped the belt into a single, long UV island? If you did, then try to split it in multiple sections, so it can take more of the image.

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Yes, i meant the shape of the UV. I already separated the UV in a few parts but not very good. So now I unwrapped it again into many sections and it does look better now, but already using a 8k image to paint on, so I can’t get it any better.

For comparison this is the result also with 8k image but unwrapped as a single part. Looks quite worse.

Thanks for the idea. If there is no other way I can probably work with it, but it’s still not as sharp as I like it.

Maybe I will use UDIMs for texture painting if I can make the texture seamless.

There is an other way, but it’s not good for every situation. You could use seamless textures that repeat finely over the model and paint a mask that switches between multiple textures. So basically the technique that’s usually used for large landscapes.

Also, in the material editor, check the texture filtering. By default, it’s set to linear, but cubic might give a smoother result that hides pixels better.

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Interesting. How can I paint the mask?

It’s just a simple black and white image plugged into the factor of a mix node. Here is a quick exemple of what is possible:

Both the brick and moss textures are repeating and seamless, allowing for very fine detail in the render.

Here is the mask, which I hand painted in Blender. It doesn’t even need a lot of resolution.

Finally, here is the node network, showing how I use the mask to blend between textures:

You can also use the same trick with a mix shader and blend between different materials.

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Thank you. I will try this later and see how it looks. Still a bit worried, because you are using a relative square object, but I will see how it works for the belt.

On a non square object, it will also work, but it’s all about how you unwrap your model. The textures may be seamless, but the model itself will need to have a UV seam somewhere. You would have to place it in a spot where it’s not easy to see, ideally on a sharp edge or corner.

If you paint a model with this mask method, you will not want to split a UV island into sections like I suggested earlier, as that would create very visible UV seams (the mask is a lot more tolerant to low resolutions, so it won’t be as much of a problem if you can’t fully occupy the UV space). Instead, it’s better to optimize your UVs for as few seams as possible.

Something else that could help:
If you have a model that won’t ever deform and you want to use a seamless texture, there is a technique that allows auto placing and blending that texture between the sides of an object (so no UV seam or texture seam anywhere).

The important settings are circled

I doesn’t even need UVs to work and will look near perfect, as long as the texture doesn’t need to be placed in a specific orientation.

Also, I should mention the alternatives for the mask texture:

-If your model has enough polygons for it, you could replace the mask texture with vertex colors.

-Instead of using a mask, you could try using the “ambient occlusion” node, pass it through a color ramp for more control and, as an exemple, have a model switch to a dirty texture in the cracks. This one is a bit performance heavy tough.

Another idea for if it is a very small detail Is to not even have bump, but focus on color and rougness. You would be suprised how bumpy a surface can look when it has a good roughness map. This is how they did it in older games that didn’t even suport normal maps.

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I made another render using a mask but ultimately I had the same problem as before. I unwrapped the front side of the belt as one part.

The texture mask is barely visible and when you look closely it’s again very low res.

I rendered it out and it doesn’t look as bad as I expected from the mask but also not very good again. I will probably stick to texture painting with an 8k texture and proper unwrapped UVs.

It’s impressive how good they faked height in older games. I will have a look at it, but it’s probably hard to get good results if you’re not good at it.

Ah, I did not realize your mesh was taking so little of the UV space. But then again, if you were to use the mask technique on a leather object, you would not paint individual scratches. Instead, you would create a second version of your leather texture with a bunch of scratches all over it, and you would use the mask only to decide the general areas that are scratched.

Here is a quick exemple of what I mean:

Here, I am mixing between 2 different principled shaders with different roughness levels and 2 different versions of the same leather texture.

However, if you need specific scratches like you have been painting, then high resolution textures may
indeed be more suited to your needs.


This is what I was thinking as well - the only thing I’d add here is that when setting up the stencil image, you can choose 32 bit-float so that the depth of the stencil image is greater and gives better response with the reveal between image textures.

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Ok. Now I got it. You meant that I should use the mask for another leather texture that already has scratches. I think I won’t use the a mask for this particular image because of the small UV space. But when I don’t make super close up renders I will use this method. I think the results will look quite good.

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