Materials and textures get frustrating

Ok, So I’ve been modeling for awhile now. But nothing ever looks good grey. So I started recently screwing around with tuts on materials and texturing (and lighting oh my:eek:). I understnad these tuts and can even create SEMI-believeable textures on my own. But at this point, it seems that in order to do that all I’m doing is playing around with settings I’ve been told effect this or that, and hoping for a good outcome.

There may not be a solution for my issue, but what I would like is either a very detailed (VERY DETAILED) tut or maybe an advanced tut on both materials and testures so I can stop playing these 5 hr guessing games. As it stands I’ve been working on a project now for thepasst 4 weeks. Its going to be a stylized Batman short animation (story currently runs 1:30 min narrated). But I have been done both the batman and joker models (fully rigged and skinned) since after the first 3 days. I now need to decide on thier materials and textures. But I’ll get one material or texture looking perfectly the way I invision it, then end up completely changing how it reacts to lighting or how its shaded or something else. It gets annoying very quickly. I’m bipolar so my patience is extremely limited, and I only have enough money slotted away for 2 monitors this year…I’d hate to have to buy one in january. Ok ok so that was a bad joke…but not really seeing as I destroyed 2 montiors last year alone.

It’s quite maddening at times and I’m almost tempted to have a fully flat black and white animation with toon shading so I can avoid this issue. However doing that will only hinder me in the future, as well as making this animation that already has outstanding orignal models, story, and theme music (IMHO) out to be some shitty half assed attempt at something original.

Once I can get this I can go onto my biggest issue…my lightning…lol…but that’s another topic for another support thread lol.

So, please, give me the tuts that you’ve read that had you going “eureka” or “oh…so that’s how its done”, or “now why didn’t they say that in the other tut”. Anything is almost preferable to what I’ve been able to accomplish on my own. I’m not going to spend another red cent on a book to explain it unless I’m certain it will meet my expectations of it. I’ve purchased three already in the last year or so (not soley for materials and textures), but to be fair, 1 was intro to blender, the other intro to character animation, and the other was generalized CGI, so none did a great deal in teaching me what I want to know…and the tuts online are mostly contradictory from one to the next. HELP!!! HELP!!! HELP!!!

Well if you are not interested in buying another book at this point, you could try going to and downloading the text for chapter 9. Colin Litster did an excellent job explaining materials for the Essential Blender Book.

arh the old if only art was easy question.

well im afraid your never going to find a tut to tell you how to make every thing look good at best you’ll find a good texture and mat tut for a single object.
the reason is all around you i.e. nothing looks the same, your best bet would be to brush up on colour theory and read the wiki to understand the way blenders materials work. other than that its just experiance.

(other wise we would all be amazing artists;))

I’d recommend reading Colin Litster’s tutorials, as well. He’s been into textures and materials for years, especially procedural textures.

Textures and lighting go hand in hand. Tweak one, then tweak the other. After a while you get a feeling for how the material will react under certain changes in lighting.

The other thing I recommend is controlled experimentation. Rather than spending 5 hours trying stuff, and forgetting most of what you did on the way to a half way decent material shader, spend the five hours making images of spheres, or cubes, or planes, each with a slightly tweaked parameter. Make notes of each exact set up. Print them out in series, or put them in a document in series, so you can see, side-by-side, what effect, if any, each particular parameter has.

start here: and read the next 45 pages, which will carry you through, in proper order, lighting, materials, and textures.

I understand your frustration. I modified this page to include this picture and some more explanation. Hope it helps.


another realy good tip that helped me is: “look at the object with your eyes not with your mind”
and what i take that to mean is you may think you know what something should look like, but 9 times out of 10 you missing that detail that makes the real thing what it is.

so if your working on a skin shader keep a picture open along side your mat panle or even a mirror next to the computer.
it sounds stupid and obviouse but you’d be supprised how many people try to make photorealistic renders with out the object their makeing.

Thats the book I’m refering to when I said intro to blender. Just forgot the exact name at the time. And your right. He did a better job explaining it than anyone else. Which is the only reason it’s taken me this long to dive into it. That chapter, though, is also the exact reason I’m looking for info to build upon this. All it was was a basic walk thru of what could be done with materials and textures.
render man- yeah I do that. Usually I’ll use either the exact object, or a hi rez pic of it.
Going by all of these replies, though, I have book marked the link in Orinoco’s reply. Hopefully that can help me see the light.

check this out it explains some of the basics of colour theory. very improtant for textures also colour theory can be learnt so even if you don’t have a natural eye following rules can help you alot.

I too was very frustrated using the material options. There are so many, and more are added all the time.

When I mentioned making a matrix of the options, can you guess what they all said? LOL.

This is a really simple explanation, and I think its old:

While I was playing with textures, every time I made something I liked, I saved the file with a note about whaterver in the text window.

Downloading the material library, may help too. It has many examples and you can learn a lot by looking at them.

And there is the material repository ( I dont see the link right now).

I prefer to make my textures and map them in the uv image editor. However, I do like starting out with some materials, like skin etc that are baked to the model/uvs and then save the image to work on it more with paint programs.

One day, the pieces with start falling in place. And then again the next day?

It helps to walk away and leave it for another day. Relaxing allows new ideas to form and merge into reality.

Good luck.

“It helps to walk away and leave it for another day. Relaxing allows new ideas to form and merge into reality.”
Like what it says, I think that playing with colours and textures FOR FUN and not with a definite aim in mind or under pressure helps. You need a space sometimes to go for a walk and look at thing, the texture of the sidewalk, the colour of tree bark ( it’s hardly ever brown ), back off the project and take a breather. It does help.