In This Chapter
Using procedural textures
Unwrapping a mesh to use image-based textures
This chapter serves as a good pairing with Chapter 7. In that chapter, I wrote about adjusting the materials on your objects, but that was in broad strokes. That chapter covered how light reacts with the surface of your material so you could deal with the object's color, how that color spreads across the surface of the object, and how the specular highlights on that object behave. Of course, these are all broad strokes. If you want a more controlled way of adjusting the look of your object, then using material settings alone won't get you there. You could use Vertex paint, but if you're working on a model that you intend to animate, this causes you to have many extraneous vertices just for color. Those vertices end up slowing down the processes of rigging, animating, and even rendering. Also, you may want to have material changes that are independent of the edge flow and topology of your mesh.
For those sorts of scenarios, you're going to want to use textures. Generally speaking, a texture is a kind of image that you stretch or tile over the surface of your object to give it more detail without adding more vertices. Not only can textures influence the color of your object, but they can allow you to make additional adjustments, such as stipulating the specularity of some specific parts of the model. For instance, on a human face skin tends to be shinier across the ...