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What does a texture artist do?

What does a texture artist do?

Texture artists are amazing artists who specialize in creating the textures of 3D models. They have an in-depth understanding of skin properties in humans and animals, as well as knowledge of textiles, geographic elements, architectural finishes, landscapes, and more. These talented professionals work tirelessly to bring life to virtual worlds.

With games now requiring more photo-realistic finishes these days the role of the Texture Artist is increasing in importance. In line with this trend, some of the work of the Texture Artist involves scanning photographs and then applying them to objects and environments created by the 3D Modelers.

Custom textures are designed for fantasy environments, objects, and creatures, but their creation is based on reality. Adding a variety of surfaces to gaming worlds prevents boredom and enhances gameplay.

Gaming Texture Artists work closely with modelers and shading/lighting technical directors to create the best possible elements for the game universe.

Texture Artists in live-action film and 3D animation features create textures for the elements of the productions that require complex texturing. In live-action productions, this will be more photo-realistic as it must integrate seamlessly with the footage, and sometimes replicate surfaces that exist in real life.

Texture artist job description

The role of a Texture Artist in the gaming industry is to create textures and surfaces that are realistic or fantastical for objects or characters in 3D computer models. This is a specialized field requiring a thorough knowledge of surface qualities such as skins, flesh, textiles, armor, fur, hair, scales, metallic finishes, nails, claws, membranes, and more. The Texture Artist must have a comprehensive understanding of the skeletal framework and rigging that supports and operates the models. It is essential to ensure that the texturing works as a layer on top of the moving parts. Thus, the Texture Artist must ensure the texture layers are compatible with the model's motion. In conclusion, a Texture Artist must possess a diverse skill set, including knowledge of texturing techniques, 3D modeling, and animation, to achieve a high-quality output.

Textures are created from scratch or from real-world references using scans which are imported and fashioned into graphics elements. With gaming graphics becoming ever more sophisticated the Texture Artist must deliver increasingly real and dynamic results.

The role of the Texture Artist in live-action and animation is to create textures for 3D modeling throughout the production. Realism is the goal in live-action sequences, while animation projects require a consistent visual style.

Role & responsibilities of a texture artist in film and games:

  • Liaising with designers and developers regarding the design brief

  • Liaising with the director, cinematographer, and design department on the finishes of the texturing

  • Researching reference materials for aesthetics and genre of game, film, or animation

  • Working with post-production and visual effects teams for seamless integration with footage

  • Develop and refine textures during the production process

  • Collaborate with animators and modelers on the best textures for each object and character

  • Create a diverse and compelling range of textures that will engage the player and enhance gameplay

  • UV mapping

  • Maintain a high level of design and photorealism throughout

  • Curate a consistent look of all the elements of the game or film

Skills required to become a texture artist

Any Texture Artist worth their salt will be constantly looking for textures in the real world to bring into their work. They need to have a keen eye for detail as everything that surrounds them could be a reference point for a surface or character skin.

Video game and film studios may look for the following skills in a texture artist:

  • Training in computer graphics, 3D animation, or graphic design

  • Experience in texturing 3D models, knowledge of modeling rigs

  • Ability to consistently draw inspiration from real-world references

  • Solid understanding of visual language - texture, color, dimension, scale, perspective, shade, composition depth of field, proportion, lighting, spatial awareness, etc

  • Fundamental understanding of anatomy

  • Familiarity with geographical and botanical elements, architectural finishes, textile movement, skin and hair behavior, metallic sheens, etc

What software and tools do texture use?

Texture artists must know their way around the software used by 3D modelers, but also have more texture-specific programs that they work with.

Texture artists may need knowledge of a combination of the following software:

  • Mari

  • Substance Painter

  • Adobe Photoshop

  • Mudbox

  • Maya

  • Zbrush

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