General Guide to Texture Photography

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DJGamer
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General Guide to Texture Photography

Postby DJGamer » 04 Aug 2012, 19:37

Since I'm a bit of an amateur photographer on top of my forays into modding I'll sometimes take photos of things for use as textures. To me this is a little better than using for instance Google Image Search for a couple reasons:

  • Quality control: It'll be high resolution and I can make sure the shot is framed properly for easier conversion into a texture.
  • Guaranteed to be unique: Other modders might be using some of the same images to make their textures. Also, it helps to avoid potential legal issues.

Of course, if you need a texture or image of something you couldn't realistically find in either the area you live or any area you could imagine going on vacation/holiday to then obviously feel free to Google it.

I've just recently considered a third possibility, since our modding team consists of people from around the world and digital cameras are at least somewhat commonplace we can pool our resources to get pictures of things we might use as textures. However, it is not quite as simple as pointing the camera at something that we might be able to use and snapping a photo, so I'm making this guide to give some useful tips.

Lighting

  • The best days to take outdoor pictures for textures are overcast. This diffuses the sunlight so there are fewer shadows. Even lighting on the surface being considered for a texture is critical to making it seamless.
  • If not an overcast day, a clear or partly cloudy day can work as long as the things you're photographing are either in the open or under relatively even shade.
  • If you're photographing something on the ground (or the ground itself), be sure your own shadow isn't in the shot. If possible, circle around until your shadow is behind you or otherwise out of the shot.

Composition

  • Depending on the subject your photographing, you may need to take different things into consideration.
  • If you're dealing with something that's brick or tiled, try to make sure that the "lines" are even. A lot of digital cameras include a feature that allows you to have a grid (usually 3x3) laid over your viewfinder image-make sure this is turned on then use it to line up the shot.
  • Try to consider how the shot will work into a texture. The texture will usually end up being taken from a square-shaped section of the image. For tile/brick-type textures there should be a point where the "edges" of such a square section would be able to connect together. This isn't entirely necessary to do since the image can be manipulated in various ways to make it tile properly-it's just something you might consider.
  • Another consideration is whether or not the texture itself has an even feel to it. For instance let's say you're taking a texture of something metal that has a large rusty spot on it. While this could still make for an interesting texture, it wouldn't be something that could easily be tiled. If anything, try to get the rusty spot near the center of the image and away from the edges.
  • Note that the "square" that the texture might be taken from doesn't need to be in the center of the image (though having it there can be useful).

General Tips

  • Try to look for things you might not normally think of, ordinary things you might usually take for granted could make nice textures.
  • Have FUN!

There might be a few other things I forgot but I think those are the basic things that need to be taken into consideration. It's not rocket science, though the way I tend to word things out might make it seem like that. Mostly just try to make sure its evenly lit and that the details are relatively uniform around the edges of a square section of the image. I could've just said that to begin with, but you know me. :nyansheo:
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