Using our products
Questions concerning the usage of our textures, system requirements, product compatability, common hardware problems etc.
I would like to use your textures for an open-source/non-commercial project...
Do I HAVE TO use the settings you give for some textures?
These values should only be understood as a rough estimate, intended to provide you with a starting point for your material setup. Keep experimenting with all settings until you're happy with the results!
Is there a quick automatic way to convert your textures to materials for the rendering software I'm using?
We're still waiting for something like this. But at the moment there doesn't seem to be such a way. But you might want to consider to
- Create materials only as you need them. This also has several other advantages over using ready-made material libraries.
- Ask around in the relevant user forums. Others may already have created materials for our textures and might be willing to share.
I bought the textures but can't quite reproduce the look of your demo renderings...
Good textures are only one component in achieving realism - although an important one. But more has to come together:
Textures "only" provide raw substance, which has to be interpreted and translated into physical properties of a material. This essential job is done by shaders, which have to be set up and controled by the 3d artist. For this it really helps to know something about the physics of light, how it behaves in interaction with physical bodies. This is a very complex but essential topic and reading up on it is well worth the effort!
Often underestimated. But just as much as often, bad lighting is the main cause of flat and lifeless renderings. Good lighting is an art in itself. Luckily there are many very good tutorials on this subject out there: Try Google.
Not least important, the rendering software you use has to be capable of producing realistic results in the first place. Advanced techniques like Displacement or Global Illumination should be pretty much standard by now but are still not always supported.
What do notations like "_b030 or _s050-(g025)" in map filenames mean?
We understand, that our naming convention for map files can seem confusing at first glance. Here is how to read them:
- Every notation consists of a character specifying the channel, as well as three digits giving a numerical setting. - x###
- The first notation gives the primary purpose of a map. - name_x###
- For some map several purposes might be specified. - _x###_y###_z###
- Parenthesis remark a fixed value. - (x###)
D - Diffuse color, B - Bump, P - Displacement, S - Specularity, G - Glossiness, R - Reflectivity, O - Opacity, A - Anisotropy.
- d100: "This is the diffuse color map of the texture; to be used at full channel effect strength"
- b030: "This is the bump map; the recommended strength is 30%."
- s050: "The specularity map; the recommended strength is 50%."
- (g025): "Instead of a map, you may specify a fixed glossiness value of 25%."
- p010: "The displacement map; real-world relief depth is 10mm."
With this notation you can see directly what a map is, how it relates to other maps and what recommended setting are - all without the need to consult the catalog.
Can I use your textures with my rendering software?
Our textures can be used with any image processing software that is capable of loading image files, which by definition should be everyone. Even if a software has problems reading the specific file format we use (PNG-24bit and PNG-8bit-gray), you can always easily convert the map files into a suitable format, e.g. TIFF.
Memory/performance issues when using several full-res textures.
True, using our textures can be very demanding for both, software and hardware. Here some general advice:
Simple enough, this often is the most effective solution. We recommend a minimum of 8GB (along with a 64bit OS). Better make it 16 or more. RAM is too cheap to let a lack of it slow you down!
In many cases your scene doesn't require all of the textures to be loaded in their full resolution. We recommend to create different versions of every map with 1/2, 1/4rd and 1/8th of the original resolution and use them according to the requirements of your scene. BTW, JPEGing the maps only saves disk space. Decompressed, a JPEG image occupies the same amount of memory as a PNG image.
Many render applications employ sophisticated techniques to maximize rendering quality, e.g. advanced texture filtering. Some of those can use up a great amount of memory. For example, in 3dsmax the filter mode 'Summed area', while significantly enhancing quality, takes about four times as much memory as the default setting 'Pyramidal'.
Render in parts
If none of the above is enough, you might want to consider rendering your scene in several parts or layers, each containing only the amount of textures your system can handle.
How do I set up your textures in my rendering software?
Easy question - unfortunately without an easy answer! There are many different software packages available, only a few of which we have personal experience with. So we cannot possibly provide you with a precise and complete workflow to create perfect materials - which we doubt exists anyway.
Material creation is a very complex topic. Therefore, the best place to ask that question always is the user forums dedicated to that specific software.