Software index

This list features all the software products mentioned in the “Making Textures” section of this wiki.

"Bitmap to Material" tools

Substance B2M

Allegorithmic (Adobe) | $99 (once via Steam) or $19.90/month | substance3d.com

Substance B2M is primarily designed to approximate displacement, roughness, ambient occlusion and other maps from just a color map, but it also allows for scanned heightmaps to be imported, I therefore use it for delighting and to create the final normal and roughness maps. Please note that Substance B2M is currently being phased out, there is no mention of it on the official Substance website but you can still purchase it via Steam. I will make the switch to Substance Alchemist once it receives support for 8K textures.

Substance Alchemist

Allegorithmic (Adobe) | $19.90/month | substance3d.com

Substance Alchemist is Alloegorithmic’s latest addition to the Substance ecosystem. It offers tools for merging several Substance Materials (SBSARs) as well as some options for PBR map approximation. The software is only available as part of the Substance Subscription ($19.90/month). It should also be noted that Substance Alchemist presently (0.8.0) only supports resolutions of up to 4096px.

Materialize

BoundingBoxSoftware | free | boundingboxsoftware.com/materialize

Materialize can be used as a free open source alternative to Substance B2M and Substance Alchemist. It offers a similar featureset to B2M and Alchemist while being a bit more bloated and harder to understand, but in some other areas it even exceeds its commercial competitors: the height map approximation offers more granular control than both Substance solutions.

Image editors

Photoshop

Adobe | $11.99/month | adobe.com/products/photoshop

The obvious choice for anything related to image editing. I tried using it for a while, but at that point I was already very familiar with Affinity Photo. If you have it already you can obviously use it.

Affinity Photo

Serif | $54.99 (once) | affinity.serif.com/photo

You don’t need to commit to a Creative Cloud subscription just to edit textures. Affinity Photo offers everything required for texture editing and can compete with Photoshop in terms of stability when it comes to opening very large images (though this can vary drastically based on the hardware setup).

GIMP

GNOME Foundation | free | gimp.org

If you don’t want to spend any money you can also use GIMP as it also handles large image files gracefully. But be aware that my workflow for photogrammetry makes use of macros which are not supported in GIMP. You will have to make a few more clicks by hand.

Krita

Krita Foundation | free | krita.org

You might be surprised to find a drawing software in this lineup. But there is a very good reason: Krita has an amazing tiled viewport. Together with the clone brush it is perfect for making textures seamless. Performance on the other hand is not always ideal, I would consider it to be the software with the worst features/ressource usage ratio.

Other

Metashape (Standard)

Agisoft LLC | $179 | agisoft.com

A very powerfull photogrammetry tool. For $179 it is a reasonable middle ground between free tools such as VisualSFM which I found to be somewhat tedious to use at times and more expensive photogrammetry suites such as (Metashape PRO or RealityCapture) priced at $2000+. Note: This software used to be called ”Agisoft Photoscan”. You will find a lot of tutorials using its old name.

ICE

Microsoft | free |research.microsoft.com/ice

Version 2.0 of Microsoft’s panorama creation software is also a great tool for texture creation. It automatically connects overlapping photos into a (potentially huge) image file.

xNormal

S. Orgaz | free | xnormal.net

xNormal is a tool for baking normal- and displacement maps from one 3D model to another. I chose xNormal because even though its UI looks like straight out of 2005 (because it is) it has been more stable when processing extremely large scans (20+ GB) than any of the other (free or paid) tools I have tried. And it’s free!


User Tools