ScarT wrote:So I've pretty much read through the entire thread, and it made me jealous of you guys' talents. Any chance you could point in the direction of a great learning source for creating textures?
I personally don't think I'm good at making textures at all. Pretty much all I do is find a really a good photo on CGTextures. I download the highest res version available to free users. I open it in Photoshop, and I make a marquee selection of 1024x1024 or 2048x2048 pxiels - depending on how big the source image is - then I crop out the best looking area of the image and work with that. You generally want to crop out an area of the image that has the least variation in coloration and noise. For example, if you crop out an area of a cliff photo and there's a big dark spot on the cliff that contrasts with the rest of the image, it'll obviously repeat horribly when it tiles. So you want to avoid big, noticeable details like that as much as possible when you go to crop.
To get it to tile seamlessly, I just offset the newly-cropped image by 50%, vertically and horizontally, so the seams create a cross at the dead center of the image. Then I go through the painstaking process of patching that via the patch tool and healing brush. It doesn't just involve patching the seams to make them appear seamless, because it usually tiles very noticeably afterward. To avoid that, I use areas of the source image that were cropped out originally to create variation within the texture that will make the details look inconspicuous but unique when it tiles. Basically make it look consistent and patternless when it tiles. It's not a really complicated process, it's just long.
And as for creating normal maps, I just generate them with Crazybump and play around with the settings until I get something that looks relatively decent. It's pretty difficult to create a super accurate bump map from a photo texture anyway.