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Photographing for Textures
Photographing for Textures
gas01ine, updated 2008-06-06 03:13:32 UTC 88,313 views  Rating:
(6 ratings)
Page 3 of 3

2 Indoors

If you dont have a scanner, dont want to use it or if your object is simply too large or too bumpy to scan you will have to photograph it instead. I assume that you dont have a professional flash or reproduction set at home so I will concentrate on how you can create similar effects with common small lamps. As mentioned above you will get the best results when you work with indirect light. How to achieve this I will explain during a simple walkthrough. You will need two small lamps.


  1. Joystick on the floor Place your sample object for the texture on the floor. You might want to use a big sheet of white, black or gray paper to underlay the object. Why on the floor? Because you can get very high up to take your picture with the longest focus possible so plan in some room to put a chair or stool when photographing.
  2. Lamps casting hard shadowsPlace the surface or object in the middle and get the lamps down on the floor. When you now try to point them at your object you will notice that the light produces hard shadows and even reflections on the surface. So we have to scatter it.
  3. Thin paper before the lampsTake two sheets of very thin paper (layout paper works good) and stick them to the lamps so the paper is curved and the light will be scattered. Be careful, because lamps get hot very quickly and eventaully set the sheets on fire. So only switch them on when necessary.
  4. Soft light setupPosition the lamps that they light the object equally from the left and from the right.
  5. Switch off any other light sources in the room (including daylight) and switch on the two lamps. Make sure youve set the white balance of the camera according to your lamps usually they are tungsten (3200 K) or perform a manual white balance with the white paper of the underlay.
  6. Now get the chair or stool next to your setup, hop up and point the camera down for the exposure. This is the trickiest part because you will have to have an f-stop of 5.6 or 8, a long focus and little light all this resulting in probably a shaken picture. So try holding your breath and double check after each photo whether its blurry or not. Only dismantle your setup when you are sure that youve made a perfect exposure. In my case it would look like the image below.
  7. Thats it the unprofessional way of professional-ish textures and photos.

Competition Pro Joystick Top View


3 Replies, Additions and Thanks to

Nick Lloyd noted that working with a very high f-stop value results in the lens getting a little softer. Further he provided those links concerning Canon lenses and a depth of field calculator. Thanks, Nick.

Michael Swartz of Meshfolk suggests using RealViz Stitcher for environmental textures. It deals with lens distortions and makes it possible to export to 2d files or use in 3d applications. Thanks, Michael.


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