3D Texturing in Animation

3D Texturing in Animation Production – A Detailed Guide

Table of Contents

Have you ever seen a 3D model of a particular object meant to reflect a real-life object and noted that both have a lot of secondary and material similarities? If so, you may have questioned how it was possible. Well, 3D texturing is a phrase that is frequently used in Animation. Although you are familiar with the term, you may not know what it means. Therefore, today, we will give you a detailed overview of texturing in 3D animation production.

What Is Texturing In 3D Animation?

A crucial step in the creation of 3D models is texturing. A 3D texture artist applies texture to give characters in 3D modeling their finer details, such as wrinkles and individual carpet threads. Typically, the 3D models are created in a program’s flat grey default color. 2D pictures must be laid out on 3D models to incorporate patterns, colors, and textures.

A further stage in the 3D modeling pipeline, known as 3D texturing, is needed to add colors or surface and material attributes to a 3D model. The full color and surface qualities of a 3D model are typically the outcomes of this method.

Some Common 3D Texturing Techniques

Generally, texturing in 3D displays three key properties of every surface in a 3D environment. Therefore, we have highlighted these three 3D texturing techniques. Let’s know what they are.

1. Material

One of the main goals of 3D texturing in Animation is to allow viewers to immediately see what material an object is composed of. Texture artists use 3D texturing to give the object a sense of the material used, clearly indicate what the material is, and demonstrate how closely it mimics the real-world object.

2. Lighting Effects

We all know that all object’s characteristics change when exposed to light. 3D texturing in Animation aims to get a replica of how real-life objects react to light effects. Giving the texture 3D model the same lighting effects as its real-world counterpart is another goal of 3D texturing.

3. Tertiary Details

In producing animated videos, 3D modeling texturing allows animators to add minute elements like scars, wrinkles, fractures, lumps, etc. A 3D model can look exactly like its real-world counterpart using several textures and texture mapping types.

Step-By-Step Texturing Process in the 3D World

To get incredible results, each 3D texture artist uses somewhat different steps. However, the standard process is as follows:

1. UV Mapping and Unwrapping

The model must be unwrapped initially, which is the same as unfolding a 3D mesh before you can start the 3D texturing procedure. The texture artists create a UV map for each 3D object after the 3D modeling department delivers the finished models.

A UV map is a quick way to wrap textures because it is a flat representation of a 3D model’s surface. SUVs are depictions of three-dimensional models in two dimensions. UV mapping can assist in wrapping a 2D image (texture) around a 3D object by directly connecting a 2D image to vertices on a polygon. The resultant map can then be utilized in the shading process and texturing.

There are a few tools or methods for unwrapping 3D models in most 3D software systems. When it comes to UV map creation, it depends on the individual. In the texturing component, unwrapping a 3D model is usually necessary unless you want to use procedural textures. These 3D textures are created by a mathematical procedure instead of from 2D or 3D data that is physically recorded.

Although manual unwrapping takes a little longer, painting is significantly simpler. Especially for characters, most unwrapping is done by hand. Other automatic methods are available, which are helpful for less significant objects like background props.

2. Texturing, Painting, and Shading

For an object to be credible and appealing, its appearance and interaction with light must be accurately portrayed. The viewer’s mind may reject an inappropriate material or surface property. This captures the overall objective of the coexisting texturing and shading operations.

Generally speaking, a texture is a 2D image, and by texturing or shading, we refer to a group of operations that control how light interacts with the 2D image.

3. Lighting And Rendering

Calculating the multiple maps allocated to the object’s shader and the lighting is the rendering process. The processes of texturing, 3D lighting, and rendering are all interdependent in some way. Choosing your 3D texture mappings depending on the render engine you will be using at the end of the manufacturing stage is crucial.

4. 3D Model Texture Mapping

Texture mapping is a technique for establishing high-frequency detail, surface texture, visual attributes, or color information on a computer-generated visual or 3D model.

Some often-used texture maps include Normal, Albedo/Base Color, Displacement/Height, Specularity or Reflection, Diffuse, Roughness or Glossiness, Refraction, Metalness, Ambient Occlusion, Emissive, and more.

What Are 3D Texturing Software? (Free & Paid)

So far, we know the techniques and procedures of 3D texturing; it’s time to learn about some useful 3D texturing software that makes the work easier. We have gathered both free and paid software, have a look!

Free 3D Texturing Software

Here are the free ones:

1. Blender

Blender is an open-source 3D creation suite supporting all conceivable 3D processes, including video editing and 2D Animation. These processes include 3D modeling, rendering, rigging, simulation, compositing, and motion tracking. All the 3D modeling and texturing capabilities artists may want are available in Blender, with a strong rendering engine and user-friendly interface.

In contrast to many other 3D texturing tools, Blender is also free software, and it has a large user base. It is a functional 3D tool that improves with each new version.

2. Quixel Mixer

Quixel Mixer is a texturing tool considered outstanding for meeting 3D texturing needs. This 3D texturing tool is a one-stop solution that includes the following:

  • ID Masking
  • Seamless Texture Projection
  • Multi-channel 3D Painting
  • Displacement Sculpting
  • Procedural Noises
  • Smart Materials
  • Real-time 3D Curvature

With this most flexible 3D texturing software, artists can create according to their choice. It has a photoreal material definition and a mega scan-based smart material that adapts to the 3D content in the most realistic way possible.

3. 3D Coat

With this tool, you may texture in various ways, but when it comes to hand painting, as seen in Torchlight and World of Warcraft, 3D Coat is one that many experts recommend as their top pick. It has voxel sculpturing that has no restrictions imposed by polygons or topology.

Moreover, you can create custom PBR materials using 3D Coat that are prepared for use in the PBR workflow. Your texture work can be saved, opened in programs like Photoshop, edited, and sent back to 3D coat for 3D Animation. It will refresh and keep track of your layers. This is good, free, and easy-to-use software.

Paid 3D Texturing Software

The paid 3D texturing software:

1. Granite SDK

Unity has been combined with this most excellent software for virtual texturing, texture streaming, and the result, which makes the texturing 3D model incredible. Granite SDK helps in producing high-resolution texture details.

However, this tool recently lost its status as a stand-alone tool and is now a fully integrated component of Unity. Because Granite SDK requires so little memory and storage, it is recommended for usage by artists who are experiencing storage shortages.

2. Adobe Photoshop

Adobe is a well-known tool that doesn’t need any introduction because everyone in the design business is familiar with it. This software, a part of Adobe, is regarded as one of the best 3D texturing tools as it makes the animation pipeline flow impressive.

Regarding features, this Photoshop has every capability a 3D texturing artist possibly needs. The most recent update to this software is the Creative Cloud, which saves the work and allows the texturing 3D model artist to leave and resume work from any other device, anywhere in the world.

3. Substance Painter (By Abode)

This software, created by Adobe, aids in the full-body 3D painting process. Substance Painter was developed to simplify texturing tasks, but since it supports a 4K quality shader, the detailing must be expert.

The ability of this software to work with other Adobe tools and technologies gives it a greater range of presentation options, which is its most robust feature. This tool’s only drawback is that it only supports a small number of UV maps.

Ways To Texture Different 3D Model Types

Characters, animals, and other assets are among the various kinds of 3D models. Each has unique characteristics that should be considered when texturing in 3D. You can learn how to use the unique qualities of the various model types by reading the material below.

1. Character Texturing

As most characters are people, here are this section’s specifics of 3D human texturing. Typically, a realistic character model needs each body part to be meticulously texturized:

3D Head Texture: It is essential to focus on each head component separately. For instance, the 3D model’s hair texture must be smooth and resemble natural hair.

Face Texture: Creating symmetrical face textures is crucial when working on 3D models. The ability to divide the face into lines and pieces provided by the UV map makes it simpler to create identically sized, shaped, and positioned mouth and nose portions as well as both eyes.

3D model Skin Texture: Skin must be given texture by roughness, hues, and the right color paint. Also, you can add particular characteristics like birthmarks, scars, and freckles.

2. Animal Texturing

Here are some simple guidelines for creating an animal texture for 3D models to smooth your animation steps. It’s best to gather references for each type of animal before you begin texturing your animal model because they each require distinct materials.

  • Reptiles have distinct skin and scales covering them.
  • Mammals can have either long or short hair, and some have simple skin coverings.

You need to make detailed layers for each category. For instance, a snake or an alligator should have a smooth texture and reflect light, whereas an elephant must be rough and devoid of highlights.

3. Asset Texturing

Let’s concentrate on the main category we haven’t yet covered – items and props – even if there are many types of ready-made assets of things, characters, and animals. Although these kinds of intricate assets always seem great and enhance a digital setting, spending too much time and energy on insignificant assets is not always beneficial.

For instance, an item can be decorative or serve a mechanical purpose. There is little purpose in describing some of them in such detail that their features can only be seen at maximum zoom because they frequently remain in the background.

To ensure that the item blends seamlessly into any 3D environment, it is helpful to concentrate on the subject’s distance from the camera and the overall lighting solution during this 3D texturing process.

Become A Professional 3D Texture Artist, But How?

An expert 3D texturing artist can translate the true physical characteristics of items into the digital realm. These characteristics include things like reflectivity, color, metalness, and more. Often, the characteristics will alter in response to variables like age, precipitation, temperature, etc.

It is beneficial to understand the characteristics of both inorganic objects, such as a steel railing or a cement sidewalk, and biological objects, such as plants and flowers. Consider how these things appear on the interior or scene because the effect can call for those textures. Also, it can benefit your career in 3D Animation.

UV mapping and the various uses of textures for 3D objects are concepts that 3D texture artists need to be familiar with. To guarantee that you supply the appropriate forms of textures when you begin working, these specifics of 3D animation techniques are crucial.

Are You Looking for An All-Rounder 3D Animation Artist? – Get In Touch with Us!

As you can see, texturing 3D models is a laborious procedure that needs a thorough knowledge of the technical specifications, a wide range of expertise, and specialized talents. Only a highly skilled professional can create a detailed texture swiftly and effectively, saving money from the budget while also luring more customers. Therefore, we at Anideos provide the best 3D animation services to efficiently meet all your animation needs.

We have worked on 3D projects of all sizes. As everything connected to 2D and 3D design is at the heart of our competence, you can hire us for a single service, such as 3D texturing or modeling, and we are ready to kick-start your animation project of any kind.

Last Updated on March 10, 2023 by Adam