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Photographing for Textures
Photographing for Textures
gas01ine, updated 2008-06-06 03:13:32 UTC 88,439 views  Rating:
(6 ratings)
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Photo Textures

Lately Ive stumbled across self-made textures of a dedicated hobbyist photographer. Most of his textures lacked the features a good diffuse texture has. So I decided to make a tutorial for everybody out there whos interested in how to photograph usable diffuse textures.

If you are quite inexperienced in photography or dont understand some of the technical terms I am talking about visit this site for a very good introduction to the topic with pictures.

1 Outdoors

Direct Sunlight

Indirect Light

First of all you have to decide on where you want to shoot your texture. When youre planning to do it outside then you have to wait for the best weather to do so. Although it might be suggestive to think that direct sunlight serves best for this purpose but this usually isnt the case. Direct sunlight casts hard shadows, especially when its in a very low angle relative to the surface you want to photograph. And having shadows baked on your texture already is a bad idea, because you want and expect as much freedom as possible when working in 3d. So the best weather is a cloudy day, almost raining or even light fog. The light gets scattered by the clouds and lights surfaces softer.

1.1 Positioning & Lens

Now you have to find the optimal position which usually is in 90 to the surface without being to close to cast shadows on it. I suggest working with a zoom lens because it compresses space and makes not so flat surfaces flat. But you have to have much space to position yourself. The longer the focus is the better. Wide angle shots usually result in distorted textures, which is extremely disturbing when there are lines or bars that should be parallel instead of curved. Further, cheap wide angle lenses often get blurry towards the edges, usually accompanied by chromatic aberration. This can be removed in Photoshop tutorial will follow soon.

When working with a very long focal length there is also the possibility of a distortion, either barrel-type or pincushion-type, depending on where there aperture is located inside the lens. This can be removed in Photoshop tutorial will follow soon.


1.1.1 Analogue Cameras

As film I suggest the Fuji Velvia 100 which I dont recommend for skin tones, better use a Fuji Astia 100F then. The goal is to have the finest grain possible. If you can get your hands on a medium format camera with a good lens its always a good thing the bigger the negative, the better.

1.1.2 Digital Cameras

  • When working with a digital camera set it to the lowest ASA level possible, usually 100 ASA or 21 DIN to avoid unnecessary noise in the photo.
  • For the white balance its better to stick to a preset when you dont have a grey reference (see 1.4 Denoise, below) with you. When you have the reference, use it for a manual white balance.
  • The right color profile is also very important for the correct colors. When possible avoid sRGB because it has the worst color space. I use embedded AdobeRGB with my Minolta A1 DiMAGE and convert it to CIE RGB for further editing in Photoshop. You can download it here for free.