Before coming to Big Immersive (or working for a company with a massive art department, in-house), I had barely any idea of who a texturing artist is, what do they do, why is their job so important, at what stage do they add all the depth and detail to the 3D models, and so on. I’ve, however, always noticed this bunch of people in our art department, two huge screens in front of them, and they are always engrossed in doing what they do. So I started digging!
In this blog, I’ll stick to Texturing in Game design which is what we do here at Big Immersive. According to my findings on this subject, Texturing is this magical step where the assets gain their personality, and in the case of a character, a breath of life is breathed into it. Texturing gives an asset a coat of paint that defines each of its surfaces, telling everyone what it looks and feels like and what it is made out of. The entirety of a 3D model’s color and surface attributes is often the result of this process.
To make a 3D model appear life-like or to give it its real-world characteristics is texturing. And the job of a Texturing Artist is “to make the end product look more believable and realistic through texturing” in the words of Maria Hussain – Senior Texture Artist – Big Immersive. “We receive 3D models in their default gray color. There are generally two main properties we intend to display in a 3D model by texturing: material and some surface details. A Texture Artist, in simple terms, takes a 3D Model, takes off its top layer, flattens it, works on it, and then puts it back on the 3D model. Over here at Big Immersive, a 3D modeler sends us an unwrapped model, so we don’t have to do that”
Learning how to make or apply texture to a 3D object can be quite a challenge. For that, Maria was nice enough to explain and show us the step-by-step process of texturing, UV unwrapping of the 3D model, and how to make it look like its original counterpart/or real materials and texturing.
Other than the textures that already exist, there are times when a Texture Artist is required to create custom textures (rooted in reality, of course).
“For detailed texturing, we make our own materials and work on multiple maps. In order to achieve the best possible results” adds Maria.
To start work on the texturing end of a 3D model, a UV map is created. A UV map is the flat representation of the surface of a 3D model used to easily wrap textures.
The process of creating a UV map is called UV unwrapping. The U and V refer to the horizontal and vertical axes of the 2D space, as X, Y, and Z are already being used in the 3D space.
So why is UV unwrapping important?
UVs are vital because they provide the link between a surface mesh and how an image texture gets applied onto that surface. They are basically marker points that control which pixels on the texture correspond to which vertex on the 3D mesh.
Last but not the least, I got an opportunity to ask Asad some questions. Asad Shams, is our former Head of Art & current CCO of the company.
Which tools are our texturing artists using currently, and why?
Asad: “Choosing a tool is a matter of compatibility and/or preference for some. In game design, we have a different set of preferences. We use Substance Painter, but we are also using Photoshop alongside. Where Substance Painter enables us to perform procedural texturing, Photoshop is there for manual painting.”
I’m sure some of the people reading this post might be interested in knowing the requirements for applying for a Texturing Artist, would you tell us what skills are important to apply in Big Immersive as a Texture Artist?
Asad: “Mainly a good grip on the tools. Some experience, knowledge, and practice with the tools is mandatory. Rest you learn on the job. We will train you, teach you all the creativity, but you really need to know the tools very well.
We are always looking for Texturing Artists with good attention to detail, which is important if you’re applying. Knowledge of materials, knowledge of textures, they go without saying. But yes, we are always hiring, if you think you have what it takes, don’t hesitate, do apply.”
The Texturing Artists over at Big Immersive are experienced professionals who, over the span of 6 years here at Big Immersive, worked on famous international IPs and are now working on the Virtua Metaverse.