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Now while our base material color and Subsurface Scattering and all that is really cool, what really makes things believable in the real world is that they have textures to them. It can be caused by growth or age or wear and tear and imperfections is what makes things really believable and makes them real, and textures is how it's done. Now texture is a huge and well- established feature set, so don't expect to get it instantly. There are a lot of different connotations and things that go along with it. So we're going to break it down step- by-step to show you the essentials.
A texture effectively is a pattern or something that overlays the base material color and affects the base material somehow or in some aspect. So let's start off with the simple example. We're going to turn off these textures. In Blender, the material textures are controlled just the way I just did, by establishing, selecting a texture channel and then clicking Add New. Then that adds on the texture channel and now you have control over how you want take in the texture and how you want to apply it or map it to something else.
So I'm going to drag these panes over here, because I normally think of them as the texture, how you map it and then what you map it to. Of course, the Preview tries to keep everything updated on what the current material looks like. To disable the texture temporarily, just click the checkbox there to disable it. These textures layer on top of one another as I mentioned. So here in the Texture control you can change the order in which the textures are applied, because all of these textures we'll later see are layered on top of one another. So what's a texture? Well, if you come down here to shading and textures, you get a list of all the textures that are in the file.
So let's click on Clouds. Here is a simple cloud texture that we've used. We're going to go ahead and arrange them like this because this is the way I like to present it. First of all, you have the kind of textures. There are two basic kinds of categories of textures in Blender. There is procedural textures and then there is image-based textures or some people call them bitmap textures. Procedural textures are generated by a math formula. So here we have Clouds. Clouds is probably the most common texture used in the CG industry, bar none.
All it does is it adds some random puffy kind of variations to something. So here when we click Clouds, we get a couple of other control panels. The control panel for each kind of texture is different. So it's going to take a long time to go through each individual one. I'm going run through Clouds and probably one other and then let you explore the other ones. The controls for Clouds says okay, what kind of clouds are we going to generate? Are we going to generate the kind of default clouds, black and white clouds? Are we going to do color clouds or some soft noise? Are we going to make it really hard noise? So if we were like doing random variations on color and side of a colored glass or prism or something like that, we would want to use something that looks like this.
Normally, we just use default soft clouds. We can change the size of noise and the distinction of what it looks like here and the Preview shows you what this procedural generation would look like as well as a whole bunch of different algorithms that are used to calculate where is a white pixel and where is a black pixel. Different kinds of textures apply to different kinds of objects. There is probably some reference material you can look into, like here I was doing an insect wing or a butterfly wing.
Then I would want to use the Voronoi Crackle Noise Basis to define where those surface imperfections are in this case, cells should be. Finally, then when we get into Colors, we can color these textures right here in the Textures panel. If we color this green, this is a standard Colorband ramp. So we can change the color here to red. Now we have kind of a red cell wall kind of a texture that we can lay over let's say a pumping heart or something like that to make it that much more believable.
So this is an example of the cloud texture. The next texture is a marble texture. Here is marble. If you look at a piece of marble on your countertop or even if you looked up in the cloud and you saw a bunch of cirrus clouds in the sky, banding across the top of the sky as an upper atmosphere kind of disturbance, you get this kind of marbling effect. So once you select the type of texture, no matter what kind of Procedural texture it is, then you get at least one panel that gives you some control over all the settings and then adds on all the colors if you want.
Colorband, you could add on let's say shades of colors. So we could add on another color in the middle here. Let's say I give it a red. Now we get some neat really color banding that goes along between each of the different colors of this Procedural texture. Then this texture is applied then somehow to the base material. How is it applied? I'm glad you asked. Well, this Voronoi texture now, which is really kind of misnamed, because I changed it on the fly. So I'll just come back over here and show you that we have a little auto thing to auto-name this Cloud texture.
It's still the cloud texture, but it's using a different basis called the Voronoi. So I'm going to go ahead and change this to a Crackle. Now when we come back over to the material, now how is this applied? Well, let's look at what it affects. In the Map To panel, we see all of these different controls here, and I'm just going to quickly run through them. One is this texture can affect the color of the material. It can affect the normal of the material. Normal is when light hits something and it bounces off of it, what angle does it bounces off of.
So you can see that by applying this black and white texture to this surface, we make the surface up here to have these little bumps and ridges where the texture is. We can also apply it to the specularity, which means that the specular color changes according to the texture. The amount of ambient light is affected by and controlled by the texture, and the hardness and the mirroring and indeed even the transparency. So if we wanted this to simulate a black line's drawing or cracks on the surface of a piece of glass, we could map this to Alpha as well as Emissions and we can even use a texture to displace a surface namely, move it and bend it physically.
So that's what the Map To is basically, right here. Finally, if it affects color, then we can also indicate the color that's affected right here in this RGB panel area, and the degree to which the color is affected right here. If we want this texture to mix with the base color, then we set the Color slider down to something here. So let's go ahead and pick a color texture and go ahead and enable it. That was that marble texture that I played with before. It's going to affect the color by 50%.
So the base color of the material is this pink and we're going to be adding in this cyan and everything else on top of it. The next thing I'd like to cover in this essential video is just to make you aware that there is a bunch of inputs now. So now the texture is mapped spherically according to the original coordinates of the surface. If we wanted to map it to another object, let's say an empty that was placed somewhere, then the starting point for the Procedural texture would be altered according to the location of that object.
Most of the time, textures are mapped flat, which means that the X and Y coordinates are directly mapped onto the surface of the material, but you can also change the size or the number of times that texture is repeated across the surface. So let's go ahead and change this to 1 by clicking in here and typing 1, Tab, 1, Tab, 1. Notice what happens when we re-render over in the window. Now you can see that the texture is much broader and more spread-out.
This looks now like the monkey here was made of brass and it's starting to be corroded or made of copper, I guess, copper turns green with corrosion over time. So the texture is repeated only one time across the surface, instead of three or four or five times. So by altering the size here, we control how fine-grained the texture is and how detailed it is. So that's textures, texture channels, and how they are mapped input and mapped to the surface that they are applied to.
There are textures for materials as well as, and I should point out here, textures for the world. We talked about world textures, angular maps. In lamps, under lighting, I talked about light textures and using that cloud texture break up and make the light a little bit more uneven, as well as brushing when you are doing sculpting and painting, you can have brush textures that define the kind of brush or the kind of tool that you're using. Textures then for that reason are a separate subcontext under the shading context, but they are all accessed from this one place.
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