In the world of 3d modeling seamless textures are important because they allow a small image repeat over a large surface, while keeping a manageable file size. SketchUp comes with a decent set of seamless textures, and you can download others from various sources on the internet. Over the past few months we’ve been able to create a set of custom SketchUp textures for Satori Japanese Wall Finishes and Formica Laminate. The experience allowed us to refine our workflow and pay attention to important details when creating successful seamless textures. Here I will show a couple examples of what we did and how we achieved it.
There are two very important steps to creating seamless textures. The first one is getting the right photograph or image file. A good image for creating a seamless texture needs to have neutral lighting across the whole picture, this means avoiding hard shadows or vignetting which creates uneven shading on the image. If a good photograph is not available, there are ways to solve uneven lighting using digital tools. We found this tutorial by Peter Guthrie of how to solve badly illuminated images. The image should also have a very flat look—this means avoiding any distortion created by perspective. Again, it’s possible to address this using Photoshop, but it’s better to start with a good photo. Here are some examples of how much these issues could affect a final seamless texture.
The second step is cropping and adjusting the image so that it can be tiled seamlessly. This is fairly easy if you did a good job in step one. There are many tutorials online that explain the process. I found this particular one very easy to follow and understand. The basic idea is to offset the image so edges appear in the center, and then use Photoshop’s clone tool with soft and hard brushes to make the edges vanish. Once the texture is looking good, and the file has a manageable size, it is ready to be imported in SketchUp and be used as a material for any surface.