Making a wood texture for a lighting rig/stage floor/table

I need some advice from you pros out there. I work for a company that makes small little machines, sensors, etc. Never anything larger than a phone book. I’ve been building models of them to animate alongside real pictures of them (for the web) and also to help visualize the finished product in all its glory.

I’m a relative noob as far as blender, and have even been reduced to just importing them into blender from Solidworks to save time and keep measurements/proportions (since I had to make models/drawings of everything for machine shops anyway). I have worked out a pretty nice lighting stage to put these models on when I render/animate them, but the ‘floor’ that I put them on could use some serious work. I’ve found that the floor and the backgrounds that I put in there really add a lot to the rendering, and seriously magnify how well the final product looks.

I am looking to take my lighting stage to the next level. I want to start with a really believable wood surface for my new models to sit on. My previous ‘floors’ were just flat planes with a wood texture on them, and I added some ray mirror to them to make them look like a urethaned, polished wood floor. It looked semi-decent, and got the job done.

I have been scouring the internets for wood tutorials, and there are a few, but it seems like they are mostly for low-res game situations ( ). I’m dealing with an extreme close-up situation, and I can’t seem to make a surface that doesn’t look crappy. I saw a more believable wood surface in the Solidworks-import tutorial

Ultimately, I’d like to make up a surface where you can clearly see the wood’s chunkyness. Does anyone know of a good tutorial(s) that might get me there? I figure there has got to be a way to take a wood texture and wash it through Photoshop a couple of times to get like; a normal map or something to lay right over the texture itself to make the wood look totally realistic. I’ve never used UV maps before or anything like that, but I certainly wouldn’t mind learning a few new techniques.

Thanks in advance for your advice!


I’ve been finding (cut and paste) interesting seamless textures (with normal, bump, and other maps) at Filter Forge as of late to add to my personal texture library. You might want to at least check out the possibilities there. If you actually want to spend money to get the Photoshop plug-in and build your own texture filter (or download someone else’s), this may be an option to tweak your floor to get it how you want it.