Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a custom texture, part of Rendering with Revit.
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- We looked at a few different ways that you can create custom materials but it won't be long before you get to the point where you think to yourself "Boy, I could just go out and photograph "that building over there and use that as a texture". That's exactly what I've done here in this example. I took a photograph of the side of my house. These are the bricks on the side of my house and I decided I wanted to create a Revit material from this brick. I'm going to do with most of this work in Photoshop but you are welcome to use whatever image editing software that you'd like to use. Now, you'll notice here that I've got the picture loaded in already from my digital camera and I added some blue tape to the walls.
Now, that's important because you want to measure the size of that area of the wall so that later in Revit you can actually get it sized correctly. When you're out taking your photographs just make sure you take some notes as to how big everything is. Most image editing software has a way to load alpha channels. I've got a channel here called Brick Selection and I'm just going to ctrl click that to load the selection. Now, you can do this selection manually as well and just notice that what's important here is that the selection goes right down the middle of the mortar joints in both directions because our goal is going to be to get a piece of the brick texture that we can repeat across the surface of a wall and have it not look like it was repeated across the surface of the wall.
In 3D software we tend to refer to this as a seamless texture. That's basically the goal that we're after here. With that selection loaded, I'll go to the Image menu here and I'm going to crop the image down to the selection and then I can do ctrl + d to deselect. The next thing that I want to do now is take the edges of the image here and make those so that when they touch one another, it's not very noticeable. Now, it's going to be very hard to do that if you leave the edges at the edges.
Now, Photoshop has filter that we can use for this purpose and that's here under Filter, under Other and it's called Offset. Now, in order to use this successfully, you have to know the pixel dimensions of your image. Now, in this particular image, my image is 2,106 pixels across by 1,938 pixels tall. I've written those numbers down and then what I want to input here is half of those values. I'm going to put in 1,053 in the horizontal direction and I'm going to put in 969 in the vertical direction.
Now, the important thing here is this Wrap Around feature at the bottom because what that does is it actually takes the part of the image that you pushed off screen and it wraps it around the other side. So now what you could see here down the middle is a very noticeable seam where those two come together and then also right here in this mortar joint, a very noticeable seam where they come together. That's what we're going to fix in the next step. Let me click OK here. Now, all we need to do is use our painting tools to go in there and essentially clean that up.
Now, there's a variety of tools that you could use but I think the Clone Tool is really our best choice here. The Clone Tool allows you to pick up a sample somewhere on the image and then paint it down elsewhere so it makes it very easy for you to match the color because I can pick up this color here and start painting it on top of that seam. Now, the brush is, kind of, small right now so let me increase it a little bit. Let me try maybe about 45 pixels and I don't want a hard edge so I'm going to soften that up a little bit, maybe about 15, 20% ought to do the trick.
Then for the Opacity, I always like to dial this down a little bit, that's another way of, kind of, softening the effect. If you make it slightly less opaque it's a little more forgiving when you're painting with it. And let's see, I think the brush could stand to be just a little larger. There you go, that should work pretty well. You can always adjust this on the fly as you're working. Now, what I'll do is zoom in just one click here, just to get a little closer and then go back to my Clone Tool.
Let me try this really noticeable seam right here. So it's very dark over here, it's very light over here and what you want to do is just, kind of, make it look more like it was one continuous piece. Now, there are some areas where you have that condition. You don't have to make it completely smooth. Now, to pick up a sample, you hold your alt key down and you click in the area where you want to pick up. Then you'll see that it's actually going to paint with that sample and you can either click or drag to, kind of, do this painting.
Now, if you get too close to the edge, it will, kind of, go far away so can just pick up another sample and you can do this from both sides if you want to, just to try and make this look a little bit more believable, like that was a more natural condition. Now, try and avoid making it look too noticeable because every pattern that is really distinct, your eye will jump to, and when it sees that same pattern over and over again in the image, it will, kind of, ruin the effect.
I can also do this at the edges here. Let me just get rid of a little bit of that really noticeable effect there. Now, that's a little bit more believable as if that was a continuous brick. Now, this takes a while. It's a tedious process because that's one brick and you could see I have several more bricks to do. Now, I just have to, kind of, go through the painstaking process of doing all of those. That completes our verticals. Now, the horizontal's, actually, going to be slightly easier.
Here's our seam right across here. The reason that will be easier is we can actually pick up our sample down here and now what I'm going to do is pick it up here on this mortar joint then I'm going to come up here and instead of dragging I'm just simply going to click right in that spot. That will basically sample here, put it here. Now, I'm going to come over to the other side and before I click I'm going to hold down the shift key and when I click it will actually paint it all the way across. Now, it, kind of, did something a little weird there and there but I can probably touch that up with a tool but you can see how it, basically, painted across that whole seam right there.
I'll just do a few fine tune adjustments and then when you're satisfied with it, you can finish up. Now, this can take some time so, again, be patient. When we're ready, we'll save it as. You could choose whatever format you like that Revit supports. I like PNG, and I'll put that in my Textures folder. Then while you're still in the image, go to the Image menu, change it to a Grayscale, it will ask you if you want to discard the color, then use whatever tool you want to boost the contrast.
I like to use levels for this so I did ctrl + l. Then I'm just going to compress it, you know, and, kind of, pull the black in a little bit and pull the white in a little bit. Then once I've done that, you can, kind of, fiddle with the Gray to decide. What you're looking for is a little bit of contrast but the black and white will be used in our Relief Pattern and that will apply texture to that surface pattern. That will start to make it look like there's high and low areas along the surface of the brick rather than it just being perfectly smooth.
All you have to do is just, sort of, adjust the contrast like that and then save it again. I'll just add Bump to the end, these things are frequently referred to as bump maps. Make sure it's a PNG and save it. Okay, so back in Revit, now all that remains is to create a material and assign those textures to it. Now, we've already covered how to do that in the previous movie. All you have to do is open the Material Browser, duplicate a material that's close and then assign these two images to the surface texture and to the bump map and then apply it to the wall.
In the Material Editor, once you've loaded the two textures in for the Masonry itself and for the Relief Pattern, you need to input the sizes. If we scroll down here on the Texture Editor and click right here, the width is 34" and they're linked together so we're going to unlink it, and then the height is 32" and that will size it correctly. Then you can just repeat the same sizes here.
I'll click Done there, click this one. Unlink it and then we'll see the results applied to the wall. If you zoom in, it's pretty convincing. Now, from far away you can, kind of, see the repeat but that's really your challenge. I just want to mention that when I first did this, I actually went through all the process and did all the steps that I showed you and then I applied it to the wall and there was this very noticeable repeating purple band. I never saw that purple band in the image, even in Photoshop.
Sometimes there's a color cast on the image that's not very noticeable when you're zoomed in close to it but it becomes apparent once you start repeating it across the surface. You can see that image right here, now, I've included this in the Texture folder for you to look at if you wanted to study it more detailed but it wasn't at all obvious from the photograph that I had taken. Sometimes, you're just going to have to be patient and take your time as you go through this, and you might have to actually do it more than once to get a good believable texture. An alternative might be, there are websites out there and services out there that actually have repeatable brick patterns that look quite believable.
One such company is called Acme Brick and they have a free tool that actually has a plugin that works right inside of Revit. You can choose that or some of the other manufacturers and see what they have to offer and you might save yourself a lot of time and effort as opposed to building those textures yourself.
- Creating 3D views and 3D cutaway views
- Adding details to the model
- Creating and editing materials
- Working with the sun system
- Working with lighting groups
- Configuring render settings
- Preparing a cloud render
- Creating a walkthrough
- Rendering a plan