Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Existing Materials - Creating a Custom Seamless Texture

Today's post: A quick and dirty example of one workflow for representing existing materials in an architectural visualization. In this example I took a photo of the concrete road in front of our office.

Read on to learn how to turn this image into a seamless texture which can be used in Revit and Enscape...
If we were to just use the image above, it would not tile, i.e. repeat, well as the top edge does not match/align with the bottom edge (same with the sides). The result would be clearly seen lines between each tiled instance of the image.

However, the area within the center of the image aligns with itself, so lets turn the image inside out!

Using Photoshop, I first create a duplicate Layer.

I then need to note the size of the image; 1408x1878 pixels.

Now we will use Photoshop's Offset filter.

Enter in half the overall iamge dimensions; 704x939 pixels.

We now have one layer with the image turned inside out and the original layer underneath. Let's use the Eraser tool, with a soft edge, to remove the vertical and horizontal edge we now see in the middle... thus, exposing portions of the original image below.

Adjust the size and hardness of the eraser.

Erase portions of the middle, being careful not to erase directly at the edges as that is this seamless part.

With irregular materials like this, grass is another example, this technique works well as seen in the following final image.

In Revit, select this image for a material and be sure to edit the size of the appearance asset texture. In this case I had to unlock it so I could enter individual values for height and width.

Here is the final result rendered in Enscape.

Try to get the largest area possible, so when it repeats you don't pick up on patterns as easily. In my concrete example, I might have taken multiple overlapping photos and matched them up before the steps listed above.

One important thing to keep in mind when taking the photo of an existing, in place, texture is the lighting. I had really good conditions - fully overcast day with no direct sunlight. Shade, shadow and direct light will make it hard to create an image that looks correct and does not "flutter" across a plane due to slight color changes in the texture.

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