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FairreLilette

LOOKS Dull or Like a Photograph

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Posted (edited)

Sometimes my texture looks dull and lifeless.  Other times it looks like I stuck a photograph onto the object. (this is with texture on a map, not straight texture onto the object).

What am I missing?  Does it need a bump / normal map and a specular?

Do you have any tips for newbies and maps.

And, it doesn't matter what lighting I try, it looks awful.  

Why is it that sometimes the texture looks fabulous and other times NO texture looks good no matter what I try.

Why great and others flop?  

Any ideas?  

Or, is it always like this:  HIT or MISS without rhyme or reason?

Edited by FairreLilette

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Materials can help, so adding a bump map or specularity might be the answer. In some circumstances, adding a local light source might be a good idea. Too many factors affect the way a texture looks, and you don't have control over most of them as a creator.  Aside from the time of day and sun angle, windlight settings vary from one region to the next, people use different viewers, and each person's monitor has its own peculiar color balance and resolution.  You can go nuts trying to compensate for things that are beyond your control.

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I've found that textures that have some transparency are susceptible to this. I have sometimes saved a texture as a png with the transparency checkbox set in my graphics editor when the texture actually had no transparency in it at all, with the result that it didn't work as intended under different SL lighting conditions.

If your texture isn't supposed to have any transparency, check that the transparency % setting in the build floater is zero, and that the alpha mode is set to none.

Also, is it possible that a script might be turning the fullbright setting on and off?

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12 hours ago, FairreLilette said:

What am I missing?  Does it need a bump / normal map and a specular?

Those maps don't actually add anything you can't embedd onto the textures themselves. What they allow you to do, is add nuances that change with view angle and lighting.

This is going to be very generic, theoretical and technical:

12 hours ago, FairreLilette said:

Other times it looks like I stuck a photograph onto the object.

That means you've already learned an important lesson: Photorealism is not SL realism!

It sounds a bit counterituitive but sometimes you want to reduce the dynamic range and maybe even add a slight amount of blur to a texture to make it look more "real" in SL. The reason is that we need to blend it into the SL environment. A texture that is significantly sharper or "richer" in colour than the surroundings will stand out like a sore thumb. Saturation and Contrast are the basic tools for adjusting dynamic range. You're bound to have lots of other more advanced methods too but which depends on what software you use.

Perhaps the most important factor if you make textures from photos is to choose the right photo. I suppose it goes without saying that pictures taken with bright sunlight are generally useless for textures but there are also several other factors and some of them aren't apparent until you start working on them. With a bit of luck and experience you might be able to make a decent texture from one photo out of ten but don't bet on it.

 

12 hours ago, FairreLilette said:

Sometimes my texture looks dull and lifeless.

Increasing the dynamic range might help but it's very hard to do wihtout ending up with an exaggerated contrast "pop art" look.

One really useful trick I learned from the gret Jubjub Forder is to add a grayscale cloud layer to a texture. Layer opacity set very low, layer opacity prefably Overlay but Multiply and Color Burn can also work. What this gives you, are subtle shading nuances which can add a lot of depth to a texture that is too "flat". Be careful though, if you overdo it, you end up with a mottled look.

 

13 hours ago, FairreLilette said:

(this is with texture on a map, not straight texture onto the object).

That doesn't make nearly as much difference as people believe.

 

13 hours ago, FairreLilette said:

Why great and others flop?

Maybe because we never get to see other people's flops. I think it's fair to say that even the best texture artists have more failures than successes. They just don't show anybody.

You should also keep in mind that very few people make their textures from scratch. Most use a seed texture where somebody else has done all the hard work.

 

12 hours ago, KT Kingsley said:

If your texture isn't supposed to have any transparency, check that the transparency % setting in the build floater is zero, and that the alpha mode is set to none.

I don't think that should matter in this particular context but it's such a good advice for many other reasons so yes, well said!

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Posted (edited)

Thanks so much for the advice thus far.

@Chinrey - do you mean to actually lay a cloud-like texture over it to blur the texture somewhat and set it to semi-transparent over the texture?  Or, is a cloud layer something else?

I have not made all my textures BUT I do alter them a lot because most textures are too over-done when it comes to antique aging something for example.  Some textures for mesh need more subtly...like just a bit here or there...so yes my textures have some alphas in them but not on the final texture.  I turned the alpha off anyhow.

Wanted to add:  The most "failure" for me seems to come from wood - distressed and aged wood.  I think I am going to work with non-distressed wood and see if that looks good.

I also have one tray that no matter what texture I use for the map, nothing looks good.  I've had 100% failure with the tray, and I do not know why.  I want to try it a few more times before I let the tray rest for a while.  

 

Edited by FairreLilette

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, FairreLilette said:

@Chinrey - do you mean to actually lay a cloud-like texture over it to blur the texture somewhat and set it to semi-transparent over the texture?  Or, is a cloud layer something else?

Yes and no. Any reasonably advanced image editor allows you to combine multiple layers in different ways, giving wildly different results. Here's a list with explanations of the ones Paint.net offers - that's the image editor I use most of the time. This is pretty much standard for all image editors. Photoshop of course has even more options. Gimp does not have Overlay for some reason. That's a pity because in my experience that is the msot useful one if you want to liven up a flat texture. Multiply, Color burn and Screen can also do wonders but generally they're not quite as useful for this as Overlay is.

Here's an example. This is a quick-and-dirty FilterForge texture:

1435916939_Carvedtest.jpg.ddfb7af63b9588c3d54d871e3355708a.jpg

Maybe I should have used an example with colors but oh well - it was the first texture I could find.

Add a layer of Perlin noise clouds on top of it:

1650574070_Carvedtestcloud.jpg.ea1922ab83d55e96d0f3c7ce0f99bed6.jpg

 

With a bit of transparency to the cloud layer you'll end up with something like this - not a pretty sight:

321790085_Carvedtestnormal.jpg.7a40eb39dd3fa157cba63761ef2aa8bf.jpg

However, change the Blend mode to Overlay:

image.png.357b25c86fdb715f662d25cdeae06bb7.png

and you immediately see the two layers interacting with each other in a much more "organic" and interesting way. A little bit of transparency again:

image.png.233f1a997e6f3440a00547820ee71423.png

And here you are:

81877351_Carvedtestoverlay.jpg.0232718bb3524d384202218b2802df8d.jpg

Actually I would have toned down the cloud layer quite a lot more if it was a texture I was going to use but you get the point.

 

Edit:

Awww, it's no good, I can't leave a half finished texture like this here!

A plain desaturated cedar wood texture at the bottom, two copies of the panel texture added on top both set to multiply and no opacity and finally, the cloud layer - Overlay Opacity 148:

image.png.fedb816324ced1571bb40471b7292e60.png

The big problem with this, is that ocne you start playing around with all those options, it's hard to stop.

Edited by ChinRey
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, FairreLilette said:

Wanted to add:  The most "failure" for me seems to come from wood - distressed and aged wood.  I think I am going to work with non-distressed wood and see if that looks good.

Aww, aged wood textures are some of the trickiest ones. Be prepared to spend some time to get the hang of it.

Sometimes you can be lucky though. This is pretty much a straight photo. I made it tilable and removed some unwanted grafitti but that's all. (Adding a "watermark" to it. Unlike the texture in my previous post, this is one I'm actually selling)

437501725_ReysPaintedPlanks01PaleBlue1024.jpg.12527045ab0dfe7c43f77128e2098071.jpg

Not only does it look great as it is, it takes recoloring brilliantly too:

1623249592_ReysPaintedPlanks01red.jpg.13b722f7db4f8c64b2ea88d9a8777a26.jpg

But as I said, this was a very lucky shot. Don't ask me how many wooden house walls I took pictures of before I got something I could use at all. I lost count.

Edited by ChinRey

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, ChinRey said:

Yes and no. Any reasonably advanced image editor allows you to combine multiple layers in different ways, giving wildly different results. Here's a list with explanations of the ones Paint.net offers - that's the image editor I use most of the time. This is pretty much standard for all image editors. Photoshop of course has even more options. Gimp does not have Overlay for some reason. That's a pity because in my experience that is the msot useful one if you want to liven up a flat texture. Multiply, Color burn and Screen can also do wonders but generally they're not quite as useful for this as Overlay is.

Here's an example. This is a quick-and-dirty FilterForge texture:

1435916939_Carvedtest.jpg.ddfb7af63b9588c3d54d871e3355708a.jpg

Maybe I should have used an example with colors but oh well - it was the first texture I could find.

Add a layer of Perlin noise clouds on top of it:

1650574070_Carvedtestcloud.jpg.ea1922ab83d55e96d0f3c7ce0f99bed6.jpg

 

With a bit of transparency to the cloud layer you'll end up with something like this - not a pretty sight:

321790085_Carvedtestnormal.jpg.7a40eb39dd3fa157cba63761ef2aa8bf.jpg

However, change the Blend mode to Overlay:

image.png.357b25c86fdb715f662d25cdeae06bb7.png

and you immediately see the two layers interacting with each other in a much more "organic" and interesting way. A little bit of transparency again:

image.png.233f1a997e6f3440a00547820ee71423.png

And here you are:

81877351_Carvedtestoverlay.jpg.0232718bb3524d384202218b2802df8d.jpg

Actually I would have toned down the cloud layer quite a lot more if it was a texture I was going to use but you get the point.

 

Edit:

Awww, it's no good, I can't leave a half finished texture like this here!

A plain desaturated cedar wood texture at the bottom, two copies of the panel texture added on top both set to multiply and no opacity and finally, the cloud layer - Overlay Opacity 148:

image.png.fedb816324ced1571bb40471b7292e60.png

The big problem with this, is that ocne you start playing around with all those options, it's hard to stop.

Wow, that's amazing...it's gorgeous.

I love the technique too!  I made an original texture already!

Next, for the dull look...I was wondering if there was any way to layer a gloss over the texture?  A gloss to give textures a bit of shine so it doesn't look so dull.   Kind of like an overlay as you showed here and then blending it over the texture so just a little bit of a gloss shows BUT I could not figure out what I could use.  I wish photoshop had a feature called "add gloss".  lol

NEXT, this is kind of big deal to me because I have been working with this technique for awhile now...and some of it, I kind of created on my own.

What it is is turning on the darkness or the brightness under bumpiness WITHOUT using a bump map or a specular map BUT it can create amazing 3D effects.  The only drawback is you cannot see it under ADVANCED LIGHTING.   The other drawback is it needs more stability.  And, I wonder if The Lindens would like to see it and/or if The Lindens can make it more stable?  Also, it is very tricky to photograph.  But, you can see real cracks for example.  

The last photo, you have to do other "tricks" to get that kind of shine which I don't have time to share right now.   Also, there is NO full bright or glow on in any of these photos.

It was very helpful to branch out from multiply to overlay.  I used a variety here.  Some multiply, some overlay.    

Snapshot_143.png

Snapshot_149.png

Snapshot_151.png

Snapshot_152.png

Edited by FairreLilette
sorry, couldn't edit in last photo yet...will try again.
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