Last modified on 30 June 2014, at 11:19

Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/Procedural Textures

Procedural Textures

Texturing objects can be broken down into two categories: procedural and image texturing. Procedural texturing makes use of mathematical formulas to generate textures. This is nice because it can be used to make relatively nice looking textures without external images which are very temperamental where you put them. Procedural Textures are all stored in the .blend file. These textures are obviously generated within Blender itself. Image texturing uses images created or captured outside of Blender, either from an image manipulation program such as the Paint.NET, GIMP or Photoshop, or captured on a camera. We have already learned about image texturing, so let's move on to procedural texturing.

Current Procedural Textures

Blender currently supports many procedural textures, including: Clouds, Marble, Stucci, Wood, Magic, Blend, Noise, Musgrave, Voronoi and DistortedNoise.

A Simple Wood TextureEdit

Let's define a simple wood texture:

  • Start a new Blender document containing the default cube.
  • Select the cube (and nothing else)
  • Go to the Materials tab Blender255MaterialContextButton.png in the Properties Window, and click the “New” button to create a new material.
  • Call it "Wood Material"

Let's add some color and texture. You can see the results at any time by pressing F12 to re-render the scene.

Start by painting cube a base color using the Wood Material's "diffuse" color:

  • In the “Material” tab,
  • Scroll down to the “Diffuse” properties panel and choose a darker brown color e.g. #A57E3F.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HSL_and_HSV for where brown fits in the color wheel.

Next, let's add a texture to give the material some highlights.

  • Switch to the “Texture” properties Blender259 Texture Button.png, and again click “New” to add a texture to your material.
  • Call it "Wood Texture". Notice at the very top "Cube > Wood Material > Wood Texture"
  • Under “Type”, click on the popup menu that currently says “Clouds”, and change the type to “Wood”.

The texture sample will show parallel alternating black and white bars that don’t look very woody at all. Never fear! The black regions will be the material's base "diffuse" color. The white regions are like "highlights" that will be painted over the base.

Let's make some improvements to the texture:

  • In the “Textures” tab,
  • Scroll to the “Wood” properties panel that appears, change the waveform from “Sine” to “Saw”.
  • In the next row of buttons down, change the type from the default “Bands” to “Ring Noise”.
  • Increase the Noise Size to 1.0.

Now the texture sample should show something resembling wavy tree-rings. If you hit F12 to render now, you will see these rings covering your cube, except a) the colour is wrong, and b) normal wood patterns aren’t so nearly circular.

To make the pattern more elongated:

  • In the “Textures” tab,
  • Scroll to the “Mapping” properties panel,
  • Change the Size X value to 2.0 and Y to 0.4. This squishes the pattern down along the X-axis, and stretches it out along the Y-axis, giving the elliptical tree-ring shapes you commonly see on wood planks and boards.

Hit F12 to render again, and the shape of the texture should be looking a lot more woody now.

The final step is to color the highlights in the texture:

  • In the “Textures” tab,
  • Scroll to the “Influence” properties panel further down,
  • Click on the color swatch, and choose a nice brown colour.

For a nicer effect, I chose a very light brown e.g. #DEB887.

The result should look very woody indeed!

Blender259WoodTextureSample.png

  • Remember that you need to Render to see the wood grain on your object.