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Materialize, a free and open source texture creator

kobaltkween

Brilliant
Contributing Artist
Materialize is a tool that will help you generate displacement/height, normal, roughness, metallicity, and other maps from a diffuse map. I haven't tried it out yet, but it looks really promising.

Here's it's tutorial page. It looks pretty straight-forward. The main drawback it seems to have is that it's only for Windows.
 

Ken1171

Renowned
Contributing Artist
Oh yeah, I have seen it being mentioned at CG Society, and it looks promising considering it's 100% free! I already use B2M, but I wonder if I would had bought it if Materialize had existed back then. I was MAD when Allegorithmic cancelled my permanent license when they decided to switch to the monthly subscription model, AFTER I had already paid for it. Their solution was to "convert" my permanent license to a "1-year Indy subscription", which I consider backstabbing. They should had honored the agreement for customers who had already paid for a "permanent" license. I know of at least 2 other companies who did the same. That has become the "normal" nowadays, after Adobe got away with it.
 
D

Deleted member 325

Guest
Looks impressive...bet it would work well combined with Filter-forge (If I can ever find my license/POP).
 

Miss B

Drawing Life 1 Pixel at a Time
CV-BEE
Oh, now that's a thought Kage. The only question I have is, from what I read on their site, it's basically for creating materials for use with Unity and Unreal, but I'm not into gaming at all. Can these materials be used for Poser, DS, Bryce, Vue, etc.?
 

Ken1171

Renowned
Contributing Artist
Oh, now that's a thought Kage. The only question I have is, from what I read on their site, it's basically for creating materials for use with Unity and Unreal, but I'm not into gaming at all. Can these materials be used for Poser, DS, Bryce, Vue, etc.?
All 3D applications need the same kind of maps. Poser is no exception. :)
 

Miss B

Drawing Life 1 Pixel at a Time
CV-BEE
I was thinking that objects in Unreal and Unity would be lower poly count than anything we would create/use in Poser, which is why I was wondering if materials created with Materialize could be used in Poser, etc.
 

Ken1171

Renowned
Contributing Artist
I was thinking that objects in Unreal and Unity would be lower poly count than anything we would create/use in Poser, which is why I was wondering if materials created with Materialize could be used in Poser, etc.
Materials are independent of poly count, so yes, they can be used in Poser, DS, or iClone all the same. ^^
 

kobaltkween

Brilliant
Contributing Artist
I was thinking that objects in Unreal and Unity would be lower poly count than anything we would create/use in Poser, which is why I was wondering if materials created with Materialize could be used in Poser, etc.
We can use low poly items in Poser, and probably should now that we have subdiv.
 

kobaltkween

Brilliant
Contributing Artist
I was thinking that objects in Unreal and Unity would be lower poly count than anything we would create/use in Poser, which is why I was wondering if materials created with Materialize could be used in Poser, etc.
I'm addressing this separately because I've encountered a lot of misunderstandings about PBRs.

Quixel, the Substance suite, and other tools have touted PBRs as a revolution in realism, but that's only true for games, which had long required fakes. Most PBR materials, and certainly the Quixel, Allegorithmic, and Toolbag Marmoset ones, are a whole lot less realistic than, for instance, the unbiased Reality/Luxrender and Octane materials that preceeded them. Also, while they used actual lab results (which is so awesome), they focused on the materials important to games: metals, plain glossy materials, and grungy matte materials. They didn't even support refraction to begin with. So we have "metallicity" maps and settings for clear coat on top of already shiny paint, but no maps that account for SSS, anisotropy, or the sigma of velvet.

But that's OK, because metals and non-scattering dielectrics are a big portion of materials. And the big thing all PBR-based shading systems work hard to get right is Fresnel and its relationship to roughness, so you can use a PBR node/shader for both car paint and plaster and have it look great.

Still, if you were already using something unbiased and spectral like Octane, you're probably not seeing any advances in realism. What's useful for you is the standard.

PBRs standardized maps and what they do. Since games are _the_ biggest, broadest, and most consistent market in 3D, the two industry standard game systems are the ones everyone else is judging against. For instance, Blender 2.8 has a real time rendering engine Eevee. Given an object with a set of PBR-based maps, its performance is being compared to Unity.

The PBR standard has done for renderers what HTML/CSS have done for documents: made them portable, quasi-universal, and blessedly consistent.

So while Unity and Unreal are the standard to judge maps against and where most 3D artists intend their maps to render, those maps can be used in every system that supports PBRs. Which is at this point most rendering systems, including Poser and DS, for the same reason browsers support HTML and not some unique hypertext standard.

But even if your renderer doesn't have a built in way to make using PBR standard maps useful, you can still use them. By far most material systems use diffuse/color/albedo, specular, bump/normal, and displacement. But while a good PBR-based system is designed to take maps and approximate the same performance as in Unity or Unreal given the same maps/values, you will probably have to adjust how your control maps work in a non-PBR system. For instance, one of the _big_ things that Blender's Physical node did was handle the complex math involved in handling Fresnel and reflection properly from low to with high roughness/glossiness. Lots of people made their own PBR UberShader compound nodes before it came out, but none of them handled that math as well.

PBR maps are pretty much universally useful, because all maps are pretty much universally useful. But it's probably worth it to use whatever tools your renderer has supporting PBR shaders, because it's just so very much easier and more consistent with other people's work.
 

Miss B

Drawing Life 1 Pixel at a Time
CV-BEE
So while Unity and Unreal are the standard to judge maps against and where most 3D artists intend their maps to render, those maps can be used in every system that supports PBRs. Which is at this point most rendering systems, including Poser and DS, for the same reason browsers support HTML and not some unique hypertext standard.
Thanks for the lengthy explanation KK, as I always think of low poly characters when I think of gaming software, so wasn't sure if maps made for use with creating games would be useful for Poser, DS, Vue, Bryce, et al., so good to know materials created with Materialize will work.

While I'm at it, maybe you can answer a question for me which I've always wondered about. I've been using Filter Forge since version 1, and a number of times I've downloaded a filter that will include several maps, and one of them is usually albedo, but I'm always sitting here scratching my head wondering where would I plug that in. Since you mention it above with color and diffuse, am I correct in assuming an albedo map/texture would be plugged into the Diffuse, or Alternate Diffuse, node of the PoserSurface root, or would it be plugged into a Blender node, that would then be plugged into the Diffuse, or Alternate Diffuse, node?

I have yet to figure out what its purpose is, so any hints/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. :)
 

kobaltkween

Brilliant
Contributing Artist
Thanks for the lengthy explanation KK, as I always think of low poly characters when I think of gaming software, so wasn't sure if maps made for use with creating games would be useful for Poser, DS, Vue, Bryce, et al., so good to know materials created with Materialize will work.

While I'm at it, maybe you can answer a question for me which I've always wondered about. I've been using Filter Forge since version 1, and a number of times I've downloaded a filter that will include several maps, and one of them is usually albedo, but I'm always sitting here scratching my head wondering where would I plug that in. Since you mention it above with color and diffuse, am I correct in assuming an albedo map/texture would be plugged into the Diffuse, or Alternate Diffuse, node of the PoserSurface root, or would it be plugged into a Blender node, that would then be plugged into the Diffuse, or Alternate Diffuse, node?

I have yet to figure out what its purpose is, so any hints/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. :)
Oh, no problem!

Albedo is a physics term for the light a body reflects, usually a planet. In materials, it's essentially the color of the object.

Generally speaking, sure, it's your diffuse color. But if you're talking about a metal, there's essentially no diffuse component, and the albedo color is the color of reflections. To make a metal with an albedo map in Poser you'd have to either
  • Plug it in to the color a PhysicalSurface root with a metallicity of 1 and use Superfly. For some reason, Firefly renders PhysicalSurface metals as black, as if to force you to keep using the Poser root.
  • Use a color math node to multiply it by a reflection node, then plug the result into Reflection_Color. Frankly, this process shouldn't be necessary any longer, and that it is implies that the someone on the team was fighting adopting the PBR standard and moving to Cycles.
If you want it to be your glass or translucent color, then you should either:
  • Plug it into the color of a PhysicalSurface root with a transparency > 0 and ColoredTransparency checked. This will only give you transparency, though, not proper glass.
  • Use a color math node to multiply it by a refraction node, then plug the result into Refraction_Color.
  • Plug it into the color of a Cycles Glass node.
The Poser root node is a messy, tricky beast. Where the Poser root node internally applies the Diffuse_Color to a diffuse shader, Alternate_Diffuse doesn't. Same goes with Specular and Alternate_Specular. Technically, Alternate_Diffuse, Alternate_Specular, Ambient_Color, and Translucence_Color should all do the same thing: add shading without applying another shader. But I've done testing that showed only Alternate_Diffuse worked with any of the SSS nodes properly. In general, you want to plug diffuse and SSS shaders into Alternate_Diffuse, specular shaders (like Anisotropic) into Alternate_Specular, color with no shading (though you can do some neat stuff with Blenders and EdgeBlends) into Ambient_Color, and leave Translucence entirely alone because it's wonky and behaves weird.

You only need a Blender node if you're mixing something. So you _could_ mix multiple diffuse maps with a Blender node, but you don't have to.
 
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Miss B

Drawing Life 1 Pixel at a Time
CV-BEE
Ohhhhh, great explanation KK. Thank you muchly!! I'll be copying this and saving it to a file of notes I make when I hit something interesting, and yes I always plug Anisotropic, or Blinn, or Glossy (though not as often on those last 2) into the Alternate Spec node.
 

kobaltkween

Brilliant
Contributing Artist
You're welcome! Oh! Two things about glass and transparency. One is that the Poser root node handles transparency kind of oddly, and doesn't apply it by default to Specular or Alternate_Specular. I figure you know that, but since this is becoming a kind of reference thread, I figure it's good to include some info for people searching. The other is that if you want real glass or liquid, such that it gets darker where it's thicker, use a Cycles root, a white Glass shading node on its Surface input, then plug an Absorption node into its Volume input and set its color and density as you need.
cycles glass.jpg
 

Miss B

Drawing Life 1 Pixel at a Time
CV-BEE
Thanks for that tidbit as well. Bagginsbill has a whole thread on the SM Poser forum about this sort of thing, so what you mention does sound familiar, so I'm sure I've read it before.

BTW, if you aren't already hanging out in the SM Poser forum, you should join us. There are some very knowledgeable folks there, and I'm sure your expertise would be welcome. ;)
 
I remember looking for a freebie to do this back in 2016, and I found a GIMP plugin. So I'll definitely have to try this Materialize thingy out. (Just downloaded it and I'm delighted to see it doesn't require installation, just unzipping. But I don't like the UI - it's very slow and I don't see any 'I'm impatient - let me load an image and create all the maps' button... ;)
 
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kobaltkween

Brilliant
Contributing Artist
I remember looking for a freebie to do this back in 2016, and I found a GIMP plugin. So I'll definitely have to try this Materialize thingy out. (Just downloaded it and I'm delighted to see it doesn't require installation, just unzipping. But I don't like the UI - it's very slow and I don't see any 'I'm impatient - let me load an image and create all the maps' button... ;)
I haven't found the UI slow at all. I mean, not even a tiny, tiny bit. You might want to look into what's causing that.

It wouldn't make sense to "create all the maps" without any adjustment. If you look at their tutorials first, especially the one on brick, you might understand why. Or just think a little more about how maps should work.

One of the reasons professional texture artists have _long_ said that the best approach was to paint or sculpt all textures from scratch is the effect of burned in artifacts. 95% of skin textures in our community are unusable for me because they've burned flat details like freckles and small discolorations and protruding details like moles into the bump map as depressions. And don't get me started on how nipples are handled. But even when you don't have diffuse value problems, you need to play around. I just used Materialize to make a plain off-white linen texture into something with spec/rough and normal maps. My base needed no adjustment for the diffuse/color map, but I still needed to play around to get my normal and roughness maps right.

A huge reason my textures take _much_ longer to make than my models is coming up with the right adjustments for various layers/elements when they become bump, spec, and even displacement maps. I've _never_ just greyscaled a diffuse map, because when I've tried, my results have been unacceptably inaccurate, inconsistent, and/or full of artifacts.

Materialize will force you to take about 10 extra seconds to click the various "create" buttons by if you want to just use the defaults. Just speaking personally, if that means that texture artists have to actually take a second and consider whether their bump/normal or displacement map is correct, I'm all for it. I'm really tired of loading items, having to replace every single material because they don't work properly at all, then finding that the textures are so bad I can't use them either. At which point I wonder whether it's even worth it to use the item, since it would take me no more than an hour or to model _exactly_ what I wanted. And I'm talking about expensive items by top artists.

Please, please, _please_, if you make textures at all, try to make them not useless with generally correct shading, such as those PBRs provide.
 
I think it's probably my crappy old Dell Inspiron laptop with the 'built-in additional nVidia graphics card' that's to blame...
Tutorials ? I don't generally look at them. In my worldview ( :alien: ) if software needs a tutorial it's badly designed. ;) Like GIMP, Blender, Poser, DAZ Studio, etc. IrfanView's probably the best designed software I've ever seen...
But my main problem is that I see no way to actually get started ! Is there any way to simply open a JPG image as a starrting point ?
The 'Create' buttons are all disabled, the 'Load Project' button opens a window (that I can't close) listing no files and giving no indication of valid extensions...
 
Found out how to open a file - 'O' is for 'Open' (I tried this before but nothing happened - I think I closed the program before it got round to showing me the open file window!)
Materialize.jpg
Unfortunately it slows everything else I have running unbelievably (a browser).
Apart from that (i.e. being unuseable ;) ) it does look really good and easy to use.
Maybe I do need to find out what's up with my crappy laptop.
 
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