Reality makes it easy to create special texture effects without having to use complex node systems or Photoshop. If you have even a moderate amount of experience using DAZ Studio or Poser you can use this tutorial and benefit from the techniques shown in here.
A texture is a graphic pattern applied to a surface. You need to really understand this concept. If you thought that a texture is an image file then you need to drop that definition and re-read what I wrote at the beginning of this paragraph. A texture is a graphic pattern applied to a surface. Nowhere in that definition we see the word “image” or file. It does not matter how you create the pattern, as long as you are able to paint pixels on 3D geometry. Think of a texture as a square of a given resolution–512×512 20 2048×2048 for example–with RGB pixels in it.
In the simplest case, a solid color is a texture, where all pixels in the square have the exact same RGB value. A jpeg image can indeed be a texture. In that case it’s called an “image map.” But we can also have textures that are generated on the fly, by software, following some special mathematical model. If you ever heard of fractals, that’s the idea behind procedural textures. A procedural texture is a software-generated image that can be adjusted via parameters, instead of being the same fixed image every time that you use it.
Reality provides several procedural textures and they are often used to drive the Mix texture. The idea behind texture mixing is that we can mix two textures together and we can determine where each texture shows and where there will be a mix of the two. The Mix texture has three main components:
- An input for the first texture
- An input for the second texture
- An input that determines how two mix the two textures
The third parameter can either be a number or another texture. If we use a number then we can set it at 0 to show only the first texture, or to 1.0 to show only the second texture. Obviously, these two extremes are are not very useful. But, if we set the number, for example, to 0.5 then we will obtain a texture that is has a perfectly equal mix of the two input textures. The mix will be 50% of the first plus a 50% of the second texture. While using a fixed numeric value can help in several situations, it’s clear that mixing texture with a single number has limitations.
That’s why the texture mixing can be driven by a texture. Wherever this texture is black the first texture will show. Wherever the mix texture is white, the second texture will show. And grey values will cause a mix of the two texture proportionally to the darkness of the color. Let’s see this in action.
Practical example: sick skin
Let’s add a Genesis 2 Female figure to a scene, and call Reality. We will work on the Face material, which is, by default, like this:
- Let’s click on the gear icon next to the Diffuse texture and select Edit to edit the texture. You should see the same situation shown in the image above.
- Now, let’s click on the Texture type dropdown list and select Mix.
- The Mix texture will show and the image map originally assigned tot he face material should be in the slot for Texture A. An off-white color should be in the slot for Texture B.
- Let’s click on the color in Texture B and select a dark red tint. In my case I used 207:000:014
- Now, let’s click on the gear for the Mixer texture, just at the end of the Mix texture pane, and select New | Fractal noise from the menu.
- A new fractal noise procedural texture is been created and the texture editor switches to editing this new texture.
- Let’s leave all the parameters as they are but change the scale to 10%
- The result should be immediately visible in the material preview
That’s all there is to it! Congratulations, you have created a “sick skin” procedural texture without using nodes and without Photoshop. Think of the possibilities that you can have by using this approach with other materials like Metal or Glass.
This technique can be used to create many texture effects, like lava, by using red and orange Color textures, or to create interesting fabrics by using the Distorted Noise or Clouds textures for the mixing. This example shows how simple is to create this kind of effects with the Reality material editor.