Hardware

What kind of hardware and software you need is based on the target resolution and which kind of workflow you want to use. Here are some general suggestions:

Camera

The resolution and sharpness of the photos is obviously a huge factor, it is essentially the upper limit for the quality of your materials. You should therefore use a decent DSLR, SLR or something similar whenever possible. But there is no need to worry if you don’t have access to these kinds of cameras. Technology is catching up rapidly (although it must be noted that most smartphone post-processing algorithms don’t help you as much for texture creation as they do for normal photography) and Allegorithmic even released a blog post focused on smartphone-based texture creation. At the moment I shoot all textures on a Nikon D5100 with a stock 18-105mm lens which I trigger using a simple IR Remote from Amazon Basics or an app called ”DSLR Remote”. Triggering the camera this way is especially convenient if it is not on a comfortable height on the tripod. It also eliminates another source of blur as I don’t have to touch the camera while taking a picture.

If you are using a zoom lens make sure its focal length doesn’t change. It can happen very slowly over time due to the movement of the tripod and if it goes uncaught it can make processing more difficult, if it keeps happening just add some duct tape to the side of your lens. It looks dodgy but it helps to keep things consistent.

Tripod or Monopod

Textures are best shot on a tripod as the reduced blur and the constant distance simplifies the reconstruction and increases texture quality. This applies to all workflows. For floors this does not present a special challenge as you can just move the tripod by a few centimeters between every shot. Walls, however, can be quite challenging when using a tripod, because regardless of whether you place it on the ground and move it in parallel to the wall or lift it up and lean its feet against the wall - you will either end up having to do a lot of adjustments on the tripod to which can be tricky if the ground is uneven or you will get sore arms from holding it up against the wall. For that reason I recommend using a monopod (single-legged tripod) for walls instead. It combines the best of both worlds: You can lean against the wall for sharpness, but without constant adjustments and without getting sore arms.

Polarization filter + polarization foil

If you have a strong light source attached to your camera you can drastically increase your texture quality by applying a combination of a polarized filter to your lens and a special polarization foil to your light source. I followed the excellent tutorial by ”Classy Dog Studios” when building my setup. The foil mentioned in the video can be purchased online via ebay (I found that more convenient than ordering on polarization.com), a fitting lens filter is easy to find on amazon.

List of my current tools

CameraNikon D5100
LensAF-S NIKKOR 15-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
Camera RCAmazonBasics Wireless Remote Control Shutter Release for Nikon Digital SLR Cameera
LightNanguang Luxpad 23
Polarization filterHoya 67mm HD Digital Circualre Polarizing Screw-in Filter
TripodRollei C6i Carbon
ComputerAMD Ryzen 7 2700X / 64GB RAM / Nvidia GTX 1080ti

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