Just wondering where to find good tutorials on making textures for 3D games?

Also, is it common practice to take photographs and convert them into game textures or do designers draw the textures themselves?


To make the situation more specific, I am trying to make a simple game where the game character is in a small building so I would be making textures for computers, tables, chairs, doors, windows, walls, etc... What is outside the building is mostly irrelevant. I don't have any experience in 3D modeling though I'm thinking of using Blender.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think it would really depend on the textures/requirements. There are a lot of free ones out there, too. \$\endgroup\$
    – ashes999
    Oct 14 '11 at 22:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I fear your question is going to be a little too vague to answer.. You may be working on a project where the whole point is to take photos and put them into a game. Next time you might be looking to create the sky for a planet with 2 different colored suns and 3 different colored moons depending on which sun hits it and what their base color are. And none of these examples will help you create the fur for a bear, would need some reference materials that looked furry for that. I am just not sure you can get a specific answer with out a specific target for this. \$\endgroup\$
    – James
    Oct 14 '11 at 22:56

How you should create the textures depends a lot on the visual style of the game.

A lot of texture assets I see from more photorealistic games, (or fantastical games with realistic structures) are indeed retouched photographs. It is mostly just with the diffuse colors that photographs are used. Usually, entire textures for props and smaller details are used, but for entire walls and facades it's not uncommon to combine elements from different photographs of buildings to create an entirely new one for fictional settings. Sky textures are likely going to be taken as photographs too.

Games that have more of a stylized look tend to use more hand-drawn textures from scratch, especially if you're going for a cartoon-like look. In this case you'll need some decent drawing skills to pull off good depth and lighting effects. In last-gen games where normal mapping was much less common, such features had to be drawn in by the artist. It is still useful, though, to use real photographs as a reference.

If you're not very artistically inclined, use existing photos as a base. CG Textures has a large collection of photographs of realistic materials. The best way to start out is picking a texture and in a program like Photoshop, start adding in additional layers or adjustment layers to enhance the colors or shading of the photo.

Gamasutra also has a great article on how to use the high pass filter in Photoshop to improve the look of tiled textures. This filter gives you a finer control over the details of a photograph.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Where can I find out more about normal mapping? \$\endgroup\$
    – ashes999
    Oct 16 '11 at 2:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ As in, the theory behind it, or how to create one? Ben Cloward does a good job at explaining both. \$\endgroup\$
    – ChrisC
    Oct 17 '11 at 19:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nevermind, I just misunderstood what you said. \$\endgroup\$
    – ashes999
    Oct 17 '11 at 19:49

I don't have any experience in 3D modeling though I'm thinking of using Blender.

Just a warning: 3D modelling is hard. That being said, blenderguru is an excellent source of tutorials. Also, blendernation has links to some useful resources as well.

Regarding textures: Using Blender you can bake a high-poly model (including lighting/occlusion/normals) onto a low poly model. You can get really nice results this way without a lot of artistic skills.

Regarding photos: Using a lot of texture stock is common. Experiment with combining textures, clone-painting textures onto your own work etc. Look up tips for seam removal.


I really recommend "Blender" because it integrates Blender Game Engine and can export to WebGL games in the future.

There some good tutorials you can learn on making textures, they aren't saying it is for 3d games but it looks is definetly possible because they don't have high poly may be ideal for 3d games.




Texture can be obtained in countless ways: there are websites which sells or give free textures for various kind of materials. You can use own photos, stock photos, google images, deviant art, hand drawing, possibilities are endless.

If you want to use good tools, learn using tools used by pros, eventually become a pro, I would advise you against Blender.

For modelling and a lot of 3D manipulations I would suggest to try 3DS Max, Maya or Softimage. You can use them for free if you are a student. : http://students.autodesk.com/?nd=download_center

For modelling/sculpting I would suggest Zbrush, it is a wonderful tool, but it's not very cheap. So instead try Autodesk Mudbox (free if you are a student) or Nevercenter Silo.

For 2D I would suggest Photoshop.

You can also use Cinema 4 D and Lightwave but I don't know the price and beside that, Max, Maya and Softimage are the most used pro tools.

You can find a lot of good tutorials online about working with 3D modelers, you just need some patience, work and inspiration.

Good luck!

Giving it a second thought if you are trying to make a simple game, you can use various resources already found on net. It's not a good idea to start learning many things on same time, it can be overwhelming. I think you better focus at one task at a time. So I'd say it's better to start learn making games and use the free resources you can find and worry about 3D modelling later when you are more experienced.


I am an intermediate level game designer and I've been learning whatever I can over the past two years. From my experience to answer your question logically versus saying no you can or can't unlike alot of others out there that seem to dodge this rhetorical question is there is no easy way to do this. You can go about it in several ways. Your first step is to decide what kind of game you will be creating and then the artstyle and coloring involved. Next you will need to create your 3d models and Props. Following this would then be a good point to become more involved in texturing and you're best bet is through research and trial and error. I have yet to see a perfect answer from any single person on this that would be purely beneficial or instructive other than actual photoshop tutorials that I have come across. The trickiest part of it all is removing the seam so that it doesn't tile across the map and creates the illusion that it's one big texture and this too takes time and practice. With this though you have to take into mind how dense you want your game to be so the scaling for it of X by X size will determine if your game is HD or not because the less you use the higher the chances of pixelization that occur but this is also dependant upon the engine that you use so you will want to make sure that it supports this as some are easily scalable so that there is no need to worry about it.

In Addition to what i've mentioned just search for " How to Make Game Textures in Photoshop " and follow that. Some other stuff that can help is these links -

(1) http://www.katsbits.com/tutorials/textures/make-better-textures-correct-size-and-power-of-two.php

(2) http://www.sandboxgamemaker.com/wiki/index.php?title=How_to_make_new_textures

I hope this helps and feel free to visit my website at GameGroove Dot Ucoz Dot Net to get ahold of me quicker if you need more help.

  • Deygus

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