Textures can be a great way to add a high level of detail to a model. With the right combination of textures you can make a standard grey model look true to life as though made from real materials like plastic, metal or even wood.
This detail is accomplished through the use of three texture maps. The Diffuse, Normal and RMA.
A Diffuse Texture (or Albedo) is used to provide the basic Color of an Object.
A Normal map is a texture that helps add in more detail to your model by bending the lighting on your model to simulate height information. These textures are mainly a purple color but also contain many other colors. Below is an example of how a Normal texture adds in extra detail.
You can quickly make your own normal map using a greyscale image with NormalMap-Online:
You can also make more complex Normal textures using many other programs, such as Substance Painter by Adobe:
Breaking down the texture’s name, RMA stands for; Roughness, Metallic and Ambient occlusion. Roughness and Metallic are two important elements for physically based rendering or PBR for short. Both of these properties help define the look of your material. Both roughness and metallic use greyscale values to control their properties.
A roughness value of 0 will look very shiny and a roughness value of 1 will look very rough and have no shine.
For non-metals use a value of 0 and a value of 1 for metallic objects.
Ambient occlusion textures simulate the soft shadows that occur naturally when light rays fail to reach a surface. Baking and adding an ambient occlusion texture will add form to your models making them look more realistic. Without an ambient occlusion texture your model will look ‘flat’, particularly when the model is in a shadow.
Making an RMA texture in Photoshop
Default images in Photoshop are made up of 3 ‘Channels’. Red, Green and Blue.
To make an RMA texture, simply copy and paste each texture type into the correct channel as shown:
- Red = Roughness.
- Green = Metallic.
- Blue = Ambient Occlusion.
The final texture image will look a bit abnormal but it will show up correctly inside Jig Workshop if you upload it to the correct RMA texture slot.
Making RMA textures in Substance Painter
Substance Painter was designed around making textures with the PBR workflow in mind. As you use the program you’ll already be making roughness and metallic textures.
Texture export settings
By default, the texture export settings will export roughness, metallic and ambient occlusion textures separately which is not what we want. Luckily we’re able to create our own export settings to avoid haven’t to manually combine our RMA textures.
To start, press Ctrl + Shift + E to open the Export Settings.
At the top of this window is a tab named OUTPUT TEMPLATES, click on this.
On the next window you’ll see a list of preset templates on the left, above them is a + Icon, press this.
This will add a new preset called new_export_preset double click on this and rename it to JigWorkshop.
In the middle panel, up the top, you can Create different combinations of textures: Grey, RGB, R+G+B, RGB+A, R+G+B+A.
Click on RGB+A twice.
Then click once on R+G+B+A.
You will now have 3 Output maps, name them as:
Output map setup
Next to your 3 Output maps drag the **Input maps** into the slots, show below.
$textureSet_C’s RGB: Base Color (RGB Channel)
$textureSet_C’s A: Base Color (A Channel)
$textureSet_N’s RGB: Normal OpenGL (RGB Channel)
$textureSet_N’s A: Base Color (A Channel)
$textureSet_RMA’s R: Roughness (Grey Channel)
$textureSet_RMA’s G: Metallic (Grey Channel)
$textureSet_RMA’s B: Ambient occlusion (Grey Channel)
$textureSet_RMA’s A: Base Color (A Channel)
The final export settings will look like this:
Note: Colors may differ when you setup the export settings.
With the setup complete, click on the SETTINGS tab.
In this window you can see Output template with a dropdown box to the right. From this box pick JigWorkshop.
You’re RMA textures will now be setup correctly to work within Jig Workshop when exported.
Download this free Jig file to follow along — step by step — with the tutorial.
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