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I'm an artist and always wanted to make textures for video games recently I made a 4k image texture for skyrim and it looks good when you're close and looking at it from a straight on position. Faraway it looks low res is there anything I can do to fix this. Also can anyone explain how many types of maps there are or a good place to learn about them. Thank you :) I use photoshop and gimp

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  • 2 months later...


I am sorry to be slow responding. this has hung for months so hope u read.


I never had what seems like what you experienced on my game before. Maybe the issue has to do with mipmaps. those are lower resolution textures that are generated from higher resolution original one. Those are automatically swapped in at greater distances for performance.

You can set negative lod bias in enb settings to adjust the threshold. maybe if ur not on enb there is ini setting or gpu setting for this.


Anyway the mipmaps are generated automatically when you choose the option to do so in dds export plugin.


Its probably a good time to learn about the different maps. Cause there is a movement in 2d digital art that is emulating 3d rendering, making different maps and overlaying them.



Anyway i saw some paid courses with youtube videos "digital art with ambient occlusion" (ambient occlusion in game is always procedural btw) the one from "envato tuts" seemed good to me, there was a trailer and it was showing a bunch of different maps that was being used.

It had a 9day trial on it also seems nice.


I think that if ur experienced with the 2d art and learn from this type of way its slower path than foolowing a straight tutorial but they are aimed at the 2d artist so they are using the language that speaks directly to you and also you are understanding the theoretical background of it all.


I am not experienced in the art at all so for me it is totally backward from this.




Also there are things that are not covered that you get with 3d work. You need to download blender. its the greatest thing and its free also. You gotta be able to at least export uv map layouts for the models you want to texture, by all means go in further and explore the modelling stuff.


In the 3d rendering there are shaders that require a texture map and others are procedural so its calculated on the spot.


UV map. This is like if u were going to take cutouts of wallpaper to wrap onto a carved statue what pattern you would cut out of the 2d wallpaper sheet.

Uv map is encoded along with the geometry data and other stuff. U edit that in a 3d program like blender.

Texture resolution sizes are power of 2 cause of math optimizatoin reasons. so its 128x128 or 4096x4096 u can have em rectangles also like 512x2048 or whatever is convenient when setting up your uv map layout.

Ur saving the dds files below as 8 bits per pixel dds images but when you are editing increase the color depth to 16bpp to reduce u from getting banding on ur gradients.


Diffuse Map is the color of the texture. It is supposed to be flat colors with no highlights or shadows on it. but people frequently add that stuff for better or worse.

Diffuse map is stored as "name.dds" It may include an alpha channel for transparency map. So its RGB or RGBA image.


Normal maps. 3d object is made of polygons, Game uses em all as triangles. the normal is the direction each one is facing. polygon is like a mirror for the purpose of bouncing a simulated light ray between the light source and the camera.

smoothed normals is like sanding the corners round and polishing em so that there is a gradual difference in normal direction between the faces of adjacent polys.

The normal map gives an illusion of higher geometric complexity just like smoothed normals, but it does that by an rgb image that contains highlight and shadows from a light sourse shone from each of 3 xyz axes (right, top , front). the 3d model the light is shone upon is sculpted to have greater details. It is possible to paint your own normalmaps (at least tangent space ones). we usually copy the ingame model and sculpt it at higher polycount for details and then bake the normalmap from xnormal program. Game uses 2 different types of normalmap.(skyrim in particular now). object space normalmaps for skin body and tangentspace normalmaps for other stuff. Tangentspace normalmaps in skyrim and fo3 and stuff have alpha channel containing a specular map.

filenames is "name_n.dds" or "name_msn.dds"


Specular maps is the one that adds extra highlights to the model to show where it will be shiny reacting to light. This is a very important effect. Every surface in the real world is having the specular effects on it to a degree or another. it is a greyscale image, stored as "name_s.dds" if not included in alpha channel of normalmap. Tangent space normalmaps should be compressed as dxt5 to alow interpolation on alpha channel cause you want color depth. you may be frustrated what compression does to your specular map tho.


Subsurface scattering map is coloring of light that is viewed after passing through a translucent object. Its on the body models . U gota have enb or is not working like much other shaders are messed up in vanilla. there is a popular mod that just turns it black for people who dont use enb. it can be pretty low res for game purposes. its an rgb image.

Filename is "name_sk.dds"


Reflection mapping for mirrorlike objects would be procedural but for speed requirements in a game we are using environment maps or cube maps. These are usually just greyscale image and low resolution U like to put em on eyeballs and the like. its called "name_em.dds"


glowmaps lets the object emit light in a pattern dictated by the texture. u can use a black and white image for this. "name_g.dds" Maybe thers more fancyer stuff u can do with em but i never messed with em so i dont know. Like animating them .


parallax maps give the illusion of spatial offset from one section of objects surface and another. Its a greyscale image. I seen people doing 3 channel greyscale. I think its for increasing color depth. "name_p.dds"


There is probably some stuff i forgot on the list. but its a good sterting point.


Fallout 4 is using different textures for PBR shader technology. this is new stuff and i never done it all.


Visit 3d artist forums and youtube videos and wiki pages for learning more about the textures. and you might just end up doing 3d modelling also cause why not.


Look at peoples game screenshots. also good to go on enbdev forum. Bigly important to examine the existing assets from vannila and from mods to learn how it is on those.

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