Creating PBR textures is a complex subject, and this guide CANNOT explain everything. This page will only give a surface level, basic understanding of authoring textures using a PBR workflow.
Creating your own PBR materials from scratch is difficult, time consuming, and expensive. Thus there are a wide variety of freely available PBR textures you can use:
- Ambient CG (Formerly CC0 Textures)**
- Share Textures
- 3D Textures by icons8*
* Requires attribution (i.e. say that you got the textures from icons8) if using the free license. Paid license doesn’t demand attribution.
** Uses Direct-X style normal maps. See Normal map conversion for more information.
Sometimes you’ll find PBR textures offered in a
sbsar file format. You can open these files in Substance Player, and further tweak them to generate unique PBR textures. This route is preferred whenever possible over using random PBR textures, as due to these textures being freely available, users might feel that they are repetitive.
There are numerous methods and tools which can be used to create PBR textures. PBR textures are best created using either photogrammetry or tools designed with PBR texturing in mind.
Good PBR materials generally make use of a couple of texture maps:
- Base Color / Diffuse / Albedo
- Normal Map
- Metallic Map
- Roughness Map
- Ambient Occlusion Map
A material that doesn’t make use of one or more of the above texture maps isn’t a bad material.
Wear and tear
In real life, nothing is perfect, even if it’s brand new! Therefore, if you’re trying to create convincingly realistic materials, add damage! For example, if you’re texturing a gas canister which has been left in a garden for a good while, add dirt, and maybe even moss.