Friday, 23 March 2012

Dry Mud Terrain Textures Rock

I have quite a few terrain texture sets now and in fact they seem to be consistently the most popular I sell on Second Life Marketplace, in particular, the Lush & Enchanted set. So, exploring the polemic as I like to do, I've been working on a new set which is definitely not lush and unlikely to be enchanted.
I've always been fascinated by the patterns silt and mud make as they bake in the sun. Those classic dry rivers and lakes provide a huge variety of loose geometric shapes and textures as they form - an interesting challenge for a new texture set I would say!

So The Dry Valley set was born! The first challenge was to create a seamless crack pattern with character that could repeat over a large area without any obvious repeats! It's a classic contradiction in seamless texture making - you want that character to give the texture interest  and depth, but as soon as you add a strong feature is is super-obvious when repeated over a larger area. It's less of an issue for things like walls etc where there is more likelihood the area will be broken with an architectural feature of some sort but for terrain you really have to get it spot on! This is the base repeat pattern looks like:

The next step was to build up a 3 three dimensional look that would feel right on a flat terrain surface. This is another balancing act of course! The texture must look tactile, like if you ran your hand accross it it would definitely feel rough. But on the other hand if it looks dimensional then it all start to feel like you are faking it. After a fair old bit of work, here's how it looks. This is a bit of a free sample texture - feel free to use in your project but please don't resell it!

With the pattern sorted out, uploaded to Second Life, tested on a sim, tweaked, retested (over and again!) I now started to work up some variations on the theme. So, we have silty mud, gritty mud, sandy mud, sand overblown for that "been dry for quite a while now" look. I also added a few with a suggestion of vegetation, primarily so they can be blended in to a grassier area.

I think this terrain texture set will be great, not just for the obvious desert scene, but also for post-apocolyptic urban scene, or generally grungy projects. Enjoy!