Ptex and Blender??

I remember that there were plans to add ptex to Blender. As someone who enjoys texturing. I am hoping this is continued. Is there someone working on this atm?

I think Ptex is the future. I am tired of unwrapping and the limitations imposed by uvs. I just want to paint textures. I am wondering if there are any research or innovative strides to improving the texturing pipeline of cg art. Maybe a better alternative to ptex and uvs.

Would be nice to hear from texturing artists on here :slight_smile:

As I recall, Letterrip recently started a thread where he talked about Ptex integration as part of a round of improvements to sculpting and painting.

It’s usefulness though will really depend on how far it has come to eliminate its biggest weaknesses, namely the inability to be evaluated with multiple threads during rendering and it largely being only able to work on quad faces.

There’s tons of research on texture parameterization that got adopted absolutely nowhere. Ptex got a bit of adoption because of Pixar, but that’s limited as well, probably because the reference implementation is terrible for actual multi-threaded rendering performance.

It’s not inherent to the concept itself, Ptex has been implemented on the GPU as well, which is about as “multi-threaded” as it gets. The quad requirement could be hidden from the user.

The problem is rather that Ptex requires dedicated support at multiple levels (editing tools, renderer), which isn’t really happening.

Meanwhile, UDIMhas been adopted somewhat widely, which is a dirt-simple way to extend UVs to multiple images. You still have to unwrap your mesh, but you can scale to higher texture density.

You don’t actually want to “just paint textures”, you want to do it on a machine with a certain amount of RAM/VRAM, in realtime and then you want to render the result in a certain engine and you’re (presumably) not looking to spend any money. There is no solution for you and there won’t be one in the foreseeable future.

3D Coat and Mari can create Ptex, Renderman can render Ptex (it should, i’ve seen the nodes but never tried it).
3D Coat cost at least 99 bucks, Mari has a free noncommercial version available.

So there is at least one cost-free pipeline available for non-commercial use, unless Foundry limits the functionality of NC Mari in this regard ( could not find anything in their FAQs).

Thanks for the info. I found this:

I am not sure if Nicholas Bishop is still working on this. Was the project abandoned?
That’s too bad. Having it work well with cycles would have been cool. I think ppl would be able to manage using it with only quads for now till they find a way to get it to work with tris. Ptex is indeed the future and as higher res textures become the norm even for games, the more this would be needed.
I am wondering if there is any current ongoing research for an alternative to uvs, vertex paint, and ptex.

I’m personally hoping that any texture / uv development in blender is leaning towards udim workflows. Udim is the future because of it’s widespread adoption in film pipelines. Most dcc tools involving texturing have implemented a strong udim tools that blender could benefit from if support was added.

The guy who was working on Ptex Nicholas Bishop, have been inactive for about 2 years and no one is working on it right now. Here is the state he left it

Now our hope is on vertex paint, last year student Nathan V. made a very interesting move, he sped up painting in vertex paint mode like 60%, and added many improvements, and this year an other student is working on top on last year work, you can follow the process here
Feedback to student is always welcome.

Outside of Disney and a few other places PTex is not widely used. UDIM on the other hand is everywhere. it would make more sense for Blender to focus on that given that Mari and Substance both support it (Substance doesn’t support PTex).

Mari non-commercial unfortunately doesn’t support PTex BTW.

I agree with jdent02. UDIM seems to have won over Ptex.

Isn’t the amount of detail you can get into a vertex paint strongly dependent on the vertex count of the object. a dynamic topology sculpt of a head will look good vertex painted but the 2000 poly retopo version of the same head vertex painted will look like a hot mess with no high frequency detail.

That ptex build from Nicholas Bishop certainly worked very differently from vertex paint, you could paint on the middle of a face where’s with vertex paint only painting on a vertex has an effect.

Lukas Stockner already made a WIP patch to implement UDIM support into Blender:

Ptex seemed very interesting to me when it first appeared, but given the wide support i would also like to see the effort put into UDIM instead of Ptex.

Well i would ALWAYS favor a method where i don’t have to unwrap meshes , but on the other side Ptex is not very friendly when you want to paint directly on the UV which i do quite often.
UDIM is like an advanced form of standard unwrapping so the principle stays the same you can do all the tricks you already know with them, versus PTEX which is a mess when you look at it in an image editor and you can only work on it in 3d.

I have worked with UDIMs before, having them in Blender would be very helpful.

Why I prefer ptex over udim is that all the textures are saved to one file. With UDIM, texture files build up really quickly especially if you need a lot of textures to cover a particular space or mesh. Keeping tabs on the files can become quite a chore itself but with ptex, one simple file per mesh no matter how big the mesh is. It’s like vertex paint but independent of no of vertices. It is the best solution in my opinion. Udim is good but imho ptex or even a better texturing technique seems better.
I just wish someone is researching for something even better. Ptex is heavily used in movies atm.

If you loose your ptex texture, you loose everything !
I prefer UDIM !

Don’t forget ptex needs heavy calculations.

Well… you can back up your 3d model file at certain stages or duplicate the model at a particular stage of painting and hide in another layer. In case the one you continue painting on gets corrupt or you need to go back to a former stage.
It’s like every other file you need to take measures to ensure you don’t lose it.

As for calculations, I am pretty sure if it was more adopted by the industry, there would be have been improvements in this area. I am sure Disney already has found ways to make the calculations easier for their films.

There’s one more disadvantage of Ptex, and it’s potentially a major one.

Once you create a Ptex for your model, you can’t make any changes other than tweaking vertices (the model has to be final as the Ptex layer is not able to change, expand, and shrink with the mesh).

Considering that we would want to move towards a non-destructive workflow where you are free to change your mind about anything at anytime, this is something that needs to be taken into account.

Well, if you edit a mesh say, the face, I see no reason why you shouldn’t recalibrate or recreate the ptex file for those selected faces and repaint the area. It’s sort of non destructive since you can recalibrate ptex for selected faces.