Photoshop Magic: Seamless Textures
by Adam Felchner 19 Apr 01

Adam Felchner is a practicing architect in New York City with multi-office experience. He also spends time as a principal of the new media design firm Studio2a, working in architectural visualization as well as web design.


Photoshop Magic
Photoshop is one of the most powerful tools in the renderer’s arsenal. With it, the line between reality and fiction quickly can blur. In this series of tutorials, we are going to learn a simple and effective ways to help making striking 3d images.

Seamless Textures
A common problem for novice 3d artists is to create convincing materials and texture maps. Often, textures will need to repeat across a surface to maintain an appropriate scale in the image. However, if you are using a texture map that wasn’t prepared properly in Photoshop, the seams of the tiling will appear. In almost all cases, this is a highly undesirable result.

As you can see, the seams in the texture have a quite a negative effect on the image. To remedy this, open your map up in Photoshop. Using the filters, click ‘Others’ then ‘Offset’. In the dialog box that launches, be sure to set your Undefined Areas to “Wrap Around.” Then, set the offset values for horizontal and vertical to exactly half the image dimensions.

The seams in your texture should now be visible. Because you can see the seams, you can now hide them rather easily. The Rubber Stamp tool was made for operations like these. Set your Rubber Stamp to a medium-sized soft brush. Then sample from an area you would like to clone over the seams, and go to work. Be sure to try to maintain a pattern to your work. For instance, if your material has a grain… then go with it on the seams. It seems like common sense, and it is. Just work your cloning in same patterns that your texture has.

You may have to offset your image again, this time at a quarter of the image dimensions. This will allow you to pick up any seams you may have missed at the edges. Also, it is a good idea to just look over your image several times to make sure no harsh seams remain.

When you have finished cleaning up the seams, save your image (always a good tip to save it as a different name should you not like the results). Reapply the texture in your 3d program and view the results. You will notice the seams are gone. However, patterns will still repeat. Unfortunately, this cannot be avoided when using a single texture map.

This technique will work for any circumstance when seamless textures are needed. Some images will obviously be more difficult than others. Experiment with different size brushes if you run in to any difficulties. Just remember, patience is the key to success on any image. The technique will always remain the same.

Good Luck!

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