The different PBR maps (Overview)

If you download an archive from CC0 Textures you will see that it contains a variety of different PBR maps. This article lists all maps (commonly) used by CC0 Textures, using Manhole Cover 004 as an example.

Color

The color map of the material. Some programs also call it “Albedo”, “Diffuse”, or “Base Color”.


Roughness

This map describes the roughness of the material. If this image is closer to black that means that the material appears to be very shiny. Consequently an almost white image means that the material has a very diffuse look.


Displacement

It defines the height/displacement of the material. Using this in combination with very-high-poly geometry allows for more detailed surfaces.


Normal

The normal map defines the normal vector of the surface at a given point.

A normal map works by telling the render engine to behave as if the surface had a given normal vector at this point. Through this process your amount of detail on a surface is no longer limited by the amount of geometry but rather by the number of pixels in a texture which is delivers much better performance.

Please note that the normal maps on CC0 Textures are in the DirectX-format. This may require manual changes depending on your softare. See DirectX- vs. OpenGL-Style normal maps for more details.


Ambient Occlusion

Ambient occlusion serves to fake the tiny, soft shadows that the material is throwing onto itself. This causes crevices to be a little bit darker. The ambient occlusion map simply gets multiplied with the color map. Therefore the dark parts of the map also darken the final color map while the white parts leave it untouched.


Metalness (met)

Defines whether a part of the surface is metallic or dielectric.


Opacity/Mask

This is just a generic black and white image, usually used for opacity.

Please note that some older textures use the _mask suffix for otehr purposes. In that case you can ignore them.


Less Common Maps

Emission

This map defines the light that a material emits.

Variants (var1,var2,...)

Some surface imperfection materials use these suffixes to indicate different versions of the map, these are often inverted versions or versions with increased contrast.


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