Particle & Fiberboard Textures
This collection contains 20 high-res textures for various common fiberboard and particleboard materials. We have chosen materials that have an interesting and characteristic appearance, while also being very versatile in use, such as MDF, Hardboard, Softboard, OSB, chipboard, as well as cork.
Beside a range of color variations, each texture primarily consists of a normal map and a reflectivity map – both essential for realistic rendering results. In addition, some materials also include an anisotropy map (e.g. the OSB materials). More on Anisotropy maps below.
This collection contains a number of materials, whose appearance is strongly dependent on anisotropic reflections (mainly the OSB particle boards). We have therefore, for the first time, included anisotropy maps for those materials. Working with these can be a bit more involved and the process is strongly dependent on the rendering software you are using, as every software seems to interpret the angle information slightly differently.
Because anisotropy maps will play an important role in future products, we are very interested in customer feedback and would greatly appreciate if you could share your experience with us.
You have seen the effect many times: Reflections and highlights that seem stretched and blurred depending on the direction in which a surface is viewed. This effect is caused by microscopic surface structure, often in form of tiny grooves or fibers. A prominent example is brushed metal. But many other real-world materials – synthetic and organic – show this effect to some degree. For some materials, this effect may be subtle. For others, their look is entirely dependent on anisotropic reflections (wood burl, carbon fiber, certain fabrics etc.).
How most 3D renderers handle anisotropic reflections
If your renderer supports anisotropic reflections, it will probably provide you with the option to specify two image maps to control the behavior of the effect. One to control how strongly anisotropic the reflections should be, i.e. how stretched-out reflections become, and another map to control the angle, i.e. the direction in which reflection are stretched. These are generally gray-scale maps, representing the strength as black=zero effect, white=max. effect, and the angle as black=0°, white=360°.
Why anisotropic reflections are rarely used
The main problem is that the image maps needed to control the effect are rather hard to come by. You cannot simply extract this information from a normal photograph. There are also no software tools that generate at least an approximation, like, for example, CrazyBump does for normal maps. While you’ll often get away with setting a fixed value for the effect strength, without a proper angle map you won’t get far.
Synthetic maps for synthetic materials
For some synthetic materials, synthetic angle maps can be created, e.g. via Photoshop. But for organic materials this would be unreasonably difficult, if not impossible.
That’s why we have developed a new scanning process (first used for Design|Craft-1) that is capable of acquiring the anisotropic properties of any physical material at pixel-resolution. With this we are able to create accurate anisotropy maps that can be used to reproduce highly realistically anisotropic reflections.
Photo-real results like this would not be possible without anisotropy maps.