What Makes a Great Texture?

Dust Particle Excercise

Greeting to everyone first time posting here.
So, I recently enrolled myself in a Vfx course. Our first assignment was making some dust particles. One of the observations my mentor had about my work was that I needed to improve my textures. I’ve done some Classically animated Effects son I have a notion about shape and variety but i find it hard to translate that to more realistic translucent textures. That’s why I was wondering:

*** What thought process do Vfx professionals have whenever they are making textures?**
*** What are the parameter that define good from bad?**
*** How can I apply those parameter accordingly to different Game styles?**

That’s it, if you have any comments or observations regarding this post or my work I’ll be glad to read them.

Thank you

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There is no certain creteria. But one thing is true - it is always can be done better, perfection has no limit and can’t be measured.

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Can I add something I found interesting?

Whenever I think about making a texture I have to decide from 3 options outlined here.
-Fluid Sims
-Stock Footage
-Hand Painted (Stylized)

The parameters are often based off the type of game you are going for. At the end of the day, you will need to gather references to base your design off. For your dust texture, can you share where you are getting your inspiration from? It’s good to have a mood board as a frame of reference on paper rather than trying to imagine what you THINK it looks like in your head.

Especially when you are first learning, try to replicate real-world elements rather than expanding into Sci-Fi ideas.

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All the best textures I’ve worked with… have had pixels. Lots of strong, healthy pixels!

Jokes aside, having someone say “Improve your texture” is really vague.

General advice for textures is hard. A texture is just one of many elements in any effect, so I’d say focus on getting all the pieces in place before focusing on any one asset. I usually do my textures and meshes super rough at first just to see if my effect is going the way I want it to, and if I’m happy with it, I’ll go back later and make the textures more crisp and clean. This is especially important if you’re simulating flipbooks, since getting the final, polished result can be a major timesink.

Make sure you’re using full-range masks (by using auto levels in Photoshop or Designer or whatever), if you’re doing a color texture for a PBR game, don’t go too dark or too bright. Make sure you’re exporting at a power of two size (256, 512, 1024, etc), and that the compression settings in-engine are correct. That’s really all I can think of in terms of general advice, after that it starts depending on what it is you’re making and what you’re making it for

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This is a tough question to answer, but let’s take a look at a frame of your video:

This is right after impact, and it doesn’t feel as strong as it could be. You have a cluster of medium size blobby dust and some small fragments flying around. There’s very little scale variation and very little directionality, and I feel that adding more internal detail in the textures won’t really change that. But incorporating the directionality and clustering shapes a bit more, with clusters of smaller fragments following larger chunks.

Here’s an anime screenshot, from One Punch Man, where you can see those principles applied very well, with very little actual internal detail, more focus on silhouette.

That doesn’t apply to cartoony styles only, look at this screenshot from Gears of War 4:

So I’d start by getting the silhouette and motion right, and then moving on to inner shapes and motion. And be careful to not go too overboard with grain and detail, because it can hurt readability. Hope that helps!

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Noise is a big one that is missing. Tileable textures of odd, usually random but cohesive shapes. I find myself making these primarily procedurally in Substance Designer.