Texturing tutorial content suggestions wanted

Hi everyone,
New as I may be to this forum, I’m planning to write a complete tutorial on Blender texturing and shading. (As a chronic tutorialist, expect me to wring out more of these eventually. I’m currently studying to be a teacher, so I consider these homework. ;-)) I’d like it to be as complete as possible, in the 10-20 page range. This is my planned disposition, but if you have any specific questions, suggestions, tips/tricks or other material to share or that you want me to cover, please tell me. All contributors will be given due credit, of course. :wink:

The tutorial will be split into two distinct parts - the technical, Blender-specific part and the artistic, more universal part. Is this a good idea? The aesthetics part will naturally put GIMP/Photoshop to good use. This tutorial won’t be done in a snap: I’m partly writing it as a way of getting more familiar with Blender’s shading methodology - I’ve just come in from planet Carrara which had an altogether different outlook on all this.

I distinctly remember someone on this forum to have an attention deficiency and trouble reading from the same screen as he/she was modeling on, so I will release the tutorials in both HTML and printable PDF format. Also, depending on the length of the final article, I might come to release the tutorial’s parts separately.

This is the stuff that I intend to cover:


  • Shading versus modeling
  • What to keep in mind/what are your goals?
  • Shading and light
  • The Blender way: Materials vs Shading vs Texturing
  • Coming from other software packages


  • What constitutes a material?
  • Material and Lighting
  • Color
  • Shading
  • Understanding the material parameters
  • Working with multiple materials in a single mesh
  • A working example (Creating plastic, metal, wood, glass, asphalt and fudge for example - if you have any material you have had trouble creating, please tell me)
  • Summary


  • What constitutes a texture?
  • Blender’s separation of material and texture
  • Creating textures
  • Layering textures
  • The different texture types
  • Procedural vs image mapping
  • Understanding mapping modes
  • Understanding the “Map To” setting
  • Color, Bump/“Normal” and Specularity mapping
  • Bump mapping and light
  • Taming the Color Band control
  • UV Mapping and unwrapping (this might become an appendix)
  • The “special” textures (Halo, Envmap et c.)
  • A working example (improving the examples from the “Material” chapter with textures
  • Summary


  • Putting it all together
  • What makes or breaks a texture?
  • Preparing textures from a digital camera in GIMP or Photoshop
  • Making seamless textures
  • Let dirt, wear and damage become your friends
  • Color theory: Saturation, brightness and hue
  • Making your textures tell a story
  • Faking “Greebles”
  • Setting up reflections
  • Lighting 101
  • Working examples: making a cube look kick-ass, texturing a sci-fi spaceship wing
  • Mastering Blender’s procedural shaders

Well, any and all help, suggestions, warnings, contributions and the like is absolutely, positively welcome. I want to make this /the/ texturing tutorial to start with when moving to Blender.


I’ve yet to figure out how to use ramp shaders to produce anything useful. I’ve seen Peaches and a fantastic Rust sphere that env did (in a Sigraph thread). I think they use ramps shaders but I haven’t a clue how.

It sure won’t be a snap; it looks like a book! It’s a very good idea though, I think there’s a great need for such extensive articles.

A tip I’d like to see in the articles: play with the Ref and Spec sliders. Most newbies leave the specularity at default. There are very little materials in real life with the default Ref, Spec and Hard, a lower Spec sometimes make the difference between a realistic and fake material. Leigh told us that Ref + Spec usually makes 1. It really worked for me!

If you have any questions about Blender yourself, feel free to ask :wink:

Ah, ramp shaders can be used for very cool effects, that’s a great suggestion.

Ref + Spec = 1 - that’s a very good suggestion! Wow, just playing in my head just seems to make sense. I’ll be sure to mention it.

Believe you me, I’ll bring the questions. :wink:

Keep the suggestions coming! I’ll take a week from now (roughly) before I start writing, so take your time.

Is that why alot of tutorials tell you to invert your spec map to create your diffusion map? Ref + Spec = 1?

Just wondering…

yep looks like a book can we have pieces before its done

eventually i want to write some tutorials too

or rewrite them

some of theses tutorials ihave to decode them to use them

i would focus more on painting good UV maps ( bump, spec, color, etc ). and stray from procedurals. There are enough mediocre models with lame procedural textures out there. If you want something that doesnt look generic and has the ‘newbie shine’, UV mapping is the way to go…

I disagree with that and you will too as soon as you see the entries of the Blender Battles Material Challenges:

Completely staying away from procedurals isn’t very smart I think. Would you uv-map a carpet? A snowy field? The texture of a computer? Sand of a desert? A rock? You would need huge texture maps. If you know how to handle procedurals they can look far more realistic than any uv-map. They certainly don’t need to have a newbie-shine. This is an all-procedural material I’m quite proud of, if I may say so:
http://battles.mudpuddle.co.nz/albums/userpics/10344/foam_challenge_1.jpg (shaving foam)

I do agree about explaining the concept of texture maps. It was quite hard for me to grasp in the beginning. Newbies might have never heard of painting reflectivity before.

@Ezz: I guess so… :slight_smile:

Wow…i’m definitely looking forward to reading the tutorial. Good luck

Right, I think I’ve got the outline down. I’ll start writing on Friday, and hopefully I’ll be able to post a complete draft by Monday or so. Wish me luck! :wink:

good luck
remember to give us parts
if you try to perfect it all,it never gets done

Complete draft, my ass! I spent seven hours typing today, and I just loved it. So, this won’t be a simple 10-page article - I’m about 1/4th through my material, and I’ve already hit eight pages.

I’ve uploaded it anyway, so if anyone’s interested to see where this is going, please feel free. The text is only a draft (very talky-talky), the layout is non-existent and the images are only suggestions. Stuff in [] brackets is things I have to check, so they’re factual holes.

That said, have fun.

I really liked this, it is coming along very well. You may want to check out spynx’s tutorials on materials, textures and uv mapping at scifi-meshes:
I don’t know if you’ll be able to view them without an account.

Very good so far, I like your style:)

Good start! I hope we will be able to see it in HTML version too. I’ve made Blender tutorials collection where you can find (almost) all texture tutorials around the web. So, I think it’s a good idea to check them all (2D and 3D) and make The Ultimate Blender Texture Tutorial Wikibook!


Good luck!

Your style of writing is very pleasant, it keeps the reader’s attention.

The good news is that shading/texturing is pretty easy. It doesnt’
require the artist’s touch as modeling does, but can be achieved through patience, patience and patience.

I don’t think that’s true; you need “the artist’s touch” for every aspect of CG. As you wrote, shading can make or break a work, and since CG can be art, so can shading. It all depends on the artist.

Maybe you could put this in your articles? (The Truth About Specular Highlights)
A specular highlight in 3D-software actually is a faked reflection of the light source.

*Blender refers to ”bump mapping” as ”normal mapping”.

Blender supports both bump- and normal mapping. I haven’t seen Blender refering to bump mapping as normal mapping. Or do you mean that the button for bump mapping says “Nor”? That is quite confusing…

Oren-Nayar: Very cool on the inside, marginally better output.
Wardiso and Minnaert: just don’t bother

These are very interesting shaders to experiment with; did you know you can make a rim lightish effect with Minnaert 0.8? Are you going to talk about these shaders later on?

This is just some nit-picking, I think you’re doing a great job and I’m thankful that you’re willing do this for the community. Keep up the good work! :slight_smile:

ok good start on theory

wheres the practical exercise

could you follow each exercise with a practical one

Really enjoying the light style and humour. Can’t wait to see how this progresses.


Whoa, I was just going to pop in and update on my progress, and saw a bunch of posts I had missed. Sorry for not answering! :wink:

First off, thanks for commenting on my writing style! Very encouraging! :slight_smile:

@edwin: Yes, there are extensive practical examples. For the part I posted earlier, there won’t be very much, since it is mostly theoretical stuff, but I have a couple of exercises written out so far that a pretty thorough.


you need “the artist’s touch” for every aspect of CG

Yeah, I re-read that passage and it didn’t come out very well. I wanted to say that good shading can be achieved with a lot of patience, while modeling is far too complex to do by trial-and-error. I’ll rephrase that.

That article you linked was superb! I’ll definitely try to absorb some stuff from it!

About bump/normal mapping - I was referring to the labeling of the bump channel as Nor.
I am going to go deeper with the shading models, but I didn’t know about Minnaert’s obviously pretty cool properties - do you have any more info to share?

@ popski: yeah, it will be HTML primarily. However, while I’m writing it I find it easy to just dump as a PDF and upload. Thanks for sharing your tutorial collection, it has already come in handy.

Well, as for my progress, I’ve just finished up the (draft of the) section on managing materials, which turned out to be a long digression into the concept of DataBlocks and stuff like that. I’ve also written up on how to manage multiple materials on a single mesh.

I’m having a great time writing all of this, and I expect to have a first draft of the complete article in a week or two. Keep the suggestions coming! :slight_smile:

rustedivan, just read it. Dissapointed its not finished yet, really good work!

I learned most of what I know about texturing (not alot) by scavenging the internet for tutorials and then I had to try to apply them to Blender. Alot of times I couldn’t fully make the translation (if you know what I mean). This should be a must read for newbies (and I am going to try and learn a few things from it as well).

Wow, very nice tutoriual so far. Can,t wait for the rest of it. :wink: