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Blender best practices for texturing.


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Blender is frustrating for me sometimes (most of the time actually.) I really enjoy it but ARGH, sometimes it feels like I'm beating my head against a wall. I'm self taught, and have been using it for years, which means I have a lot of vertical knowledge in some areas and embarrassing gaps in others. I know that in blender there is sometimes multiple ways to accomplish the same thing. But I can't help but wonder sometimes if the root of my problems and frustrations are because my workflow is ignorant. 

Texturing is one of those areas. I use Eevee for most of the building part, then switch to Cycles when I am trying to light and texture my model. I have successfully created a texture, with AO and shading all within Blender. But to be honest, I am tempted to just create AO and shadow maps, save those to my working folder, and then bring them into Photoshop to really play with the texture. (I have 35 years in Photoshop experience.) Once I get them where I want them I upload those separately into SL to place on my model. Is this Kosher? Am I short changing myself to do it this way? Is there a better way of creating textures? Also, just as a side question, is using shading nodes a better way of accomplishing this? They scare and confuse me, they are overwhelming, but look VERY powerful with more control. Is it worth the frustration learning how to use them for SL models?

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19 minutes ago, Alma Palmira said:

They scare and confuse me, they are overwhelming, but look VERY powerful with more control. Is it worth the frustration learning how to use them for SL models

Learning something is always worth per se. After you go through the process, only then you can answer your own question:

21 minutes ago, Alma Palmira said:

Am I short changing myself to do it this way? Is there a better way of creating textures?

Better is only what best suits you, but you can't tell if you don't learn something new, in order to compare 😉

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1 hour ago, Alma Palmira said:

Blender is frustrating for me sometimes (most of the time actually.) I really enjoy it but ARGH, sometimes it feels like I'm beating my head against a wall. I'm self taught, and have been using it for years, which means I have a lot of vertical knowledge in some areas and embarrassing gaps in others. I know that in blender there is sometimes multiple ways to accomplish the same thing. But I can't help but wonder sometimes if the root of my problems and frustrations are because my workflow is ignorant. 

Texturing is one of those areas. I use Eevee for most of the building part, then switch to Cycles when I am trying to light and texture my model. I have successfully created a texture, with AO and shading all within Blender. But to be honest, I am tempted to just create AO and shadow maps, save those to my working folder, and then bring them into Photoshop to really play with the texture. (I have 35 years in Photoshop experience.) Once I get them where I want them I upload those separately into SL to place on my model. Is this Kosher? Am I short changing myself to do it this way? Is there a better way of creating textures? Also, just as a side question, is using shading nodes a better way of accomplishing this? They scare and confuse me, they are overwhelming, but look VERY powerful with more control. Is it worth the frustration learning how to use them for SL models?

While "I" use and bake with Cycles there are MANY folks that build in blender and then use Substance Painter to do all there texturing. So there really is no "one way" to do things. If you are great with Photoshop then work that way. I am definitely not and so let Blender do the work for me after I set everything up.   One is not better than the other.   Just make sure you are being reasonable with your textures and don't have a 1024 texture for JUST the head of a match stick (yes really -- as far as I know that is the worst example we have LOL). 

 

 

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Im a new 3d modeler (started only 3 or 4 months ago), and Im absolutely in love with blender. Like many, the texturing side of things is my weak point, so I do prefer to do this part of the workflow within blender (well, to be honest, Im still experimenting with some things), and like you the shader/node editor was very intimidating when I started watching all those youtube tutorials, however being now at a point where I can make simple textures just using nodes and mixing them, I can tell you that its definitely something you should try and explore. Its as satisfying as popping bubble wrap.

There is one very simple thing that made all the difference for me in learning how to use them, and that was the node-wrangler (built-in) addon. Even though its built-in, you still need to go to preferences, add-ons, and then look for it and enable. With it, you can add a node, then ctrl+shift+click on top of it to see the effect it is having on your object in real time, then you add another node, mix with the first, ctrl+shift+click on the mix to see the result, etc. This way its extremely easy to really understand whats going on in the final result.

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On 1/6/2021 at 7:50 PM, Alma Palmira said:

But to be honest, I am tempted to just create AO and shadow maps, save those to my working folder, and then bring them into Photoshop to really play with the texture. (I have 35 years in Photoshop experience.) Once I get them where I want them I upload those separately into SL to place on my model. Is this Kosher?

If you're okay with just nook-and-cranny AO shadows -- no baked speculars or fully cast shadows on your diffuse texture -- you don't need lighting. A pure AO bake doesn't need it, and if you do a separate, pure "Color" diffuse bake (or you created your diffuse in SL-useable form to begin with and don't need a bake to generate it), that won't need lighting either. Blender simply passes the material color straight through without calculating lighting.

For whatever reason, Blender needs to apply direct or indirect light (or both) when doing any combined bake, including diffuse + AO.

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