3D art tutorials and much more!

How to create tileable and seamless Textures (with gimp)

In this short tutorial i will explain how i create my own tile able textures with gimp.

Lets get started! First you need mediocre weather (ideally found in England or Germany 😉 ). No sunshine, no rain, an overcast sky is needed for great shade less textures. Take your camera with you and when seeing a nice texture.. erm.. wall, make sure you keep a distance to the surface of at least 10 meter to make sure, that you don’t get any barrel distortion with your camera.

Here are two examples how not to take source images for your textures:

Direct sunlight creates harsh shadows

Sun is shining on the rocks and is creating a strong shadow, when using such a texture the surface won’t match with the lights of the rendered scene.

Distorted image

Here i was to close to the surface and my camera produced a strong barrel distortion. We could remove it later with some manipulation but i prefer shooting undistorted images.

So here is my photo i took for this tutorial, you will notice, that the white balance is off, i just did not noticed that when I was shooting. No worries, this is easy to fix!

Wrong white balance

1. So in the first step we correct the wrong white balance with the colour balance tool in Gimp.

Corrected white balance

2. Cool, done that. Looks way better now. In our second step we will now create a 2048×2048 image with Gimp.

3. Copy the corrected large image in that smaller squared empty image.
Move the bigger layer around, til you found a nice looking spot and then apply the image size to the layer size, that both are 2048×2048 big.

4. Now we will offset this layer with the “offset layer” tool on both axis 1024 pixels, there is a button “(x/2),(y/2)” so you don’t have to type in the number 🙂
Now we can see the seams of the texture, if we would tile it now.

Offset added

5. To get rid of the tiling i will use now the clone tool and the heal tool. Just pick nice spots of the texture and paint over the Seams. In our example it is pretty hard to close the seams with the predefined brick pattern. Dont be afraid to move stones or to change their shape.
This was the first removal of the seams.

Removed obvious seams

6. Now we want to even the brightness on our texture, there are larger areas which are way to bright/dark and it will become obvious when tiling the textures. My standard procedure for that with gimp is following:

-duplicate the layer

-use Gaussian blur (size 100px)

-invert colours

this will produce this kind of look:

Inverted, blurred texture

7. Use the layermode “overlay” on this layer. The inverted image will now brighten up dark areas and will tone down bright ones. Perfect for tiling of textures.

Flat lighting now

8. Now we have to correct the contrast and saturation a bit, to match the original texture again. How strong you have to correct the texture depends on the texture. Compare the layers to see easily if the correction works.

Contras, saturation corrected

9. Now I create a .blend file and apply the texture to a surface to test the newly created texture.

Tiling test

10. Not bad, but we still see the seams pretty well, we have a big bright stone creating a pattern and there is some dark mortar creating a visible tiling. So we have now to correct the texture again. Repeat step 5. I used the clone tool to break up the big bright stone into 3 smaller ones, this will make the tiling less obvious.

11. To get rid of the smaller brightness differences create a new layer with the layer mode “overlay” and paint to bright areas with a dark grey colour and brighten up to dark areas with a bright grey on the new overlay layer. In this way i got rid of the dark mortar and the bright stone.

Corrected the brightness and seams

Here is the tiling test with the modified texture. Looks great! we are done here 🙂

Tiling test successful

The final texture can be downloaded here! (CC-zero license)

Here is my own tiled textures album, i share them via the CC-Zero license, feel free to use them for whatever you want!
I would love to see more CC-Zero textures, you would do me a favour with sharing your own free textures via the usual channels! You are great, thanks! 🙂

6 responses

  1. Lol, yesterday I have downloaded your texture pack. Your tutorial is even better than Ben Simonds well known video. 🙂 Thx for posting this. 🙂

    February 17, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    • I dont even know that video, will check it out! 🙂

      February 17, 2014 at 8:57 pm

  2. What would you consider to be “the usual channels”?

    February 18, 2014 at 7:51 am

    • The forum of your choice, reddit, cg textures (they sadly dont offe ar cc0 license), deviantart and facbook.

      February 19, 2014 at 6:07 pm

  3. Thanks, cool tutorial! 🙂

    February 19, 2014 at 2:38 pm

  4. this does look great, but i will be picky and say the curved bit gives me an obvious visual clue and i see notice it immediately when repeated

    i don’t even have these skills personally though so sorry to point that out. I think the best textures gravitate towards as much visual neutrality while looking very random. To trick my eyes I would try to keep things more straight, then we have decals over the top in the modern game design, so we like neutral textures

    May 15, 2015 at 2:40 pm

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