Software tool - Materialize

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Software tool - Materialize

Post by phkb » Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:08 pm

Just found out about this free tool for Windows 64bit (only Win64 at present, no immediate plans for Linux or Mac) - Materialize. Apparently it helps in creating material files from image files, that sort of thing. I'm downloaded it now to try it out, but given I have such a limited understanding of all the diffuse/normal/height map files anyway, my assessment is likely to be somewhat limited.

I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who tries this tool out in relation to Oolite projects.

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Re: Software tool - Materialize

Post by another_commander » Thu Nov 22, 2018 8:06 am

Looks very interesting. I have not tried it yet, but from what I gather from the link, it looks like it creates textures more suited to the roughness/metalness workflow rather than the gloss/specular one that Oolite uses (see here, second post in the page for brief explanation on differences between the two. A great, more detailed reference can be also found here). This does not mean it can't be used, but things like specular maps seem to be unavailable here and must be created using a different method.

Random observations:
  • The tool creates smoothness maps, which can be used in Oolite as gloss maps. They still need to be inserted in the alpha channel of a specular map first.
  • The metalness maps it generates are of no use to us at this point, because they belong to a different workflow. However, given that generally dielectrc materials have low specularity and low or zero metalness and metals have high specularity and metalness close to 1, these textures could maybe be used as a starting point for specular maps. Be aware that they are not the same as specular maps though.
  • Ambient Occlusion maps can be generated by the tool but are not currently used by our default shader. It would be quite easy to adapt the shader for them, but unfortunately AO maps usually go into the alpha channel of the diffuse maps and right now we use this channel for emission maps in the default set. Fixing this would be a bit of work either for core coders (coding one more texture as a uniform input to the default shader) or for artists (separating the emission maps from the diffuse maps and substituting them with AO maps for all core models).

Still, it looks like this little tool can be very helpful, just need to know how to use its results the right way. I'll have a test run at some point. Thanks for finding it.

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