Introduction to Texture Nodes

Blenders powerful node system now supports textures! In this tutorial you will learn how to create a stunning brick map using nothing but procedural textures.

Length:
Text Only
Software:
2.49
Difficulty:
Advanced
Rate:
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.3/5 (20 votes cast)

In this tutorial we will be creating a brick texture using nothing but procedural textures and Blender’s powerful new texture node system.

teary-nights

Let’s begin…

Start by adding a plane and rotating it to face the camera.

1-plane1

With the plane selected, add a new material and new texture. Those familar with blender will recognize that a new button labelled Nodes has been added. Click it. You will notice that doing so, disables the standard dropdown texture choices.

2-nodes-button

Now switch to the Node editor.

15-node-editor

Again, you will notice a new button has been added to the header, in the shape of a spotted square. Click it to switch to the Texturing Node system.

1-tex-button

By default you will see a checkboard and output nodes. Go ahead and delete the checkerboard node.

3-delete-checkboard

Creating the brick mask

Add a brick texture by hitting space then selecting, Add>Patterns>Bricks. Change the settings to the picture below and connect it to the Output node.

4-brick-settings

This basic brick texture will be used as the foundation to create our diffuse, bump, pattern and spec maps, so we want to make sure that if we change any of the settings, that all 4 textures update accordingly. So to do this, we need to create a group.

With only the Brick node selected hit Ctrl+G, and click Make Group. To make it easier to identify later, label it ‘Mask’:

5-mask

The new node system allows us to add multiple outputs to the same node screen for each texture map that we need. In this case we are creating 4, so with the Mask and the Output nodes selected, duplicate it three times and label the outputs: Diffuse, Pattern, Spec and Bump.

6-duplicated-nodes

That’s the basic brick mask set up. We will now move on to texturing each map accordingly.

Altering the Pattern Texture

Create two cloud inputs (Add>Textures>Clouds) and give them the following settings:

7-clouds

These cloud layers will be used to give the bricks a randomized texture pattern depending on the row and number of the brick. To do this, join each cloud layer to the brick inputs in the mask that is connected to the Pattern output:

8-clouds-connected

The Bias setting can be adjusted from -1.00 to 1.00. This determines how much of Brick 1 and Brick 2 to use. Setting it to 0.00 will use both Brick 1 and Brick 2 evenly, creating a nice random brick texture, which is ideal for what we want.

Altering the Specular Texture

Just like we did with our pattern texture, we are going to be adding a texture that will reflect the light off our bricks. So in this instance the Musgrave texture works best (Add>Texture>Musgrave). Give the Musgrave texture the following settings (making sure you change the colors as shown) then insert it into the Brick 1 slot. Now change the colour of Brick 2 to black:

9-spec

This will create a fine sandy texture that will reflect off the light.

Altering the Bump Map Texture

The bump is slightly different in that we aren’t altering brick slot 1 or 2, but instead converting the resulting texture to a normal map. To do this, add a Value to Normal node (Add>Convertor>Value to Normal) and place it in between the mask and the output as shown. Make sure that you change the connection on the output from Color to Normal.

10-bump

This will ensure our bricks have nice bevelled edges.

The node system is now complete!

11-full-nodes

Adding the Node System to the Texture Panel

If you switch to the texture panel in our material settings, you will notice that our texture now has a dropdown list next to it, listing each of our outputs. This allows us to bring the textures from node system into our standard texture panel and change the blending options.

To start with select Diffuse from the drop down list.

12-node-selector

Now swith to the Map To panel and make the following changes.

13-diffuse-multiply

Going back to our Texture Panel, add another texture slot and change the output to Spec:

14-spec-select1

Switch to the Map To panel and make the following changes:

14-spec-settings

Add another texture slot and select Bump for the output:

15-bump-select

Now make the following changes in the Map To panel:

15-bump-settings

Add a final texture slot and select Pattern as the output:

16-pattern-select

Switch to the Map To tab and make the following changes:

16-pattern-settings

That’s it! If you render now, you should get a result similar to this:

1-by-1

I used the default brick size for this tutorial which is quite large. If you want to decrease their size, this can easily be done by altering the size of the texture in the Map Input field.

17-map-input

For example, altering those numbers to 3.00 yields this result:

3-by-3

As you can see the texture node system is incredibly powerful. It can be used to quickly create texture combinations that previously would have required the use of an image editor. This opens the doors to faster workflows, more realistic textures and more artistic license.

download_blend

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial! If you have any questions be sure to ask. I’d love to see your end result, so feel free to post it below!

Introduction to Texture Nodes, 4.3 out of 5 based on 20 ratings

About Andrew Price

User of Blender for 9+ years. I've written tutorials for 3d World Magazine and spoken at three Blender conferences. My goal is to help artists get employed in the industry by making training accessible and easy to understand. I'm an Aussie and I live in South Korea ;)
  • Riad

    I dont know how to read those images(with the various steps) in your tutorials. I get hooked at that point. Can anyone please help out or point out a site that can help

  • Guy Person

    Has anyone found a way to preview your texture without having to render it out? I was going to use some texture node based textures in a project but having to constantly render out test the textures is putting a stop to that.

  • Aytac Guley

    The way of explanation in Tutorials is excellent but the main problem is that when we follow step by step with a different version of Blender, after a point, tutorial starts to be very hard to follow because of high difference between versions. Currently, I am using Blender 2.68a and up to one point, I understand about what to do and after that point, it is impossible to follow the steps and therefore, tutorial stops at that point…

  • shugan

    Hey Andrew ur Tutorials are awesome! i like ur tutorial very much i have learned blender through ur videos Super Like :D (y)

  • Nico

    Hi Andrew, Your tutorials are great. I would like to know if ther’s a way to use this with cycles.
    I’ve to say that i’m pretty new at using blender… and i would like to use it for architecture visualization that is not exactly what blender does better :)
    Till now your advices have been pretty usefull and i’m sure you have a solution for this too.

  • WhiteAndNerdy

    I’ve spent so much time trying to replicate results of this tutorial and kept failing – coundn’t get bump-map to work. After I’ve started from scratch for the 3rd time, I noticed that I kept connecting Bump-Map Color-to-Normal converter incorrectly, whereas it should’ve went to Normals of the output, not color, unlike in other 3 Outputs shown.

    Great tutorial! It could’ve noticed me to pay more attention to the details though :P

  • IVO

    ANDREW, CAN YOU MAKE A TUTORIALS LIKE A TEXT FILE IN BOOK NOT VIDEO BECOUSE ITS SO FAST AND I CAN’T MAKE NOTHING IF TUTORIAL IS LIKE STEP BY STEP OF BEGINING TO ENDING ITS GREAT THANKS

  • Delazouch

    This node basics needs updating to 2.6 blender as i got 100% lost nothing looked the same PLEASE UP DATE

  • Maya

    I can’t figure out how to add the node to the texture panel, could it be that I have a different software of blender?

  • Adam

    Beautiful and very instructive. Andrew, as always, thanks for sharing your time and talent with us.

  • Colin

    Great tutorial, Managed to get it working perfectly in 2.60. thanks :)

  • BlockCop

    I was so happy finding this but, Everything was fine till i came upon adding a brick node, Its all blank within patterns, are the brick textures an add-on?

  • http://Website(optional) liska

    All perfectly done

  • http://blender-helper.webs.com/ Blender Helper

    Hey I’ve been having a problem:

    I add the material, add the texture, create the scene but in the render the object that I applied the texture doesn’t render (it keeps black).

    Can someone help me?

  • http://www.google.com/ Chelsi

    You’ve got it in one. Couldn’t have put it betetr.

  • HG

    Beautifal

  • Reidh

    I finally figured out how to use the “brick” pattern in 2.56a. But I can’t get it if I open a Material First, or at all. But then I don’t know how to get mapped to any object. I think this tute needs an update for v2.56a. Perhaps A.P. is waiting until the developer guys have stopped continually stroking the infrastructure to settle upon One definitive way of implementing Nodes in Blender?

  • http://miked.byethost13.com/ Michael

    Add->Patterns->Bricks
    Be sure to select texture nodes before.
    Here you have a screenshot showing that http://i.imgur.com/m83Ti.jpg

  • Reidh

    @micheal

    I know how to use nodes in v2.56a but where is “bricks” or what sort of input is it?

  • http://miked.byethost13.com/ Michael

    @mcshlik, @Reidh
    Make a new material, new texture (type=none), and go to Node Editor. Select your texture in the dropdown list (window header) and “Use nodes” checkbox will appear on the right. Hope this helps.

  • Reidh

    Dear Andrew,
    I must confess I cannot find the brick pattern node in blender 2.5 node editing menu. Is there one?

  • aldo v

    New to blender,where did this get downloaded on my computer,it’s a mac pro and it didn’t go into my downloads folder first.I’d Just like to know where these files our saved on my computer as i am new to working with blender.

    Thanks aldo

  • mcshlik

    using blender 2.5 and the Nodes selection box won#t appear.. anyone else have this problem? How do I fix it please?

    • John C D

      Its at the bottom of the Graph Editor. Just scroll across a bit.

  • NeedHelp

    To sha:
    Thanks a lot! I haven’t tried it yet but I bet you’re right!

  • sha

    Actually u don’t need a tutorial for 2.5 you can still follow this tutorial on 2.5 aswell I’ve tried it it works really well, just thought I’d mention this.

  • Need Help

    I’m wondering if there’s a tutorial for this in 2.5… thanks

  • Trololololo

    How about an update on this tutorial for 2.5?

  • blendery

    Very good and thank you :)

  • Chris Blue

    How about an update on this tutorial for 2.5?

  • Reidh

    Again, Thank You. It seems to me that you be gifted with a strong faculty of intuition, and/or recollection, because you say that you learned all of this about blender by continuous trial and error? I am but a newbie loser user, comparatively . That Blender itself is GPL is what makes me want to Learn it. I personally have a working history with AutoDeska, and despise how they buy up anything thats any good and turn around and charge thousands of dollars for it, and upgrade Non-transpearantly. ( i don’t know how to spell very well). Anyway, that you are a good presenter, (i am working from your video of the Inception – hallway scene) is evident, because I can follow you in it. The fellow Brux, who said that the problem was with the “do-as-I-do” style tutes, is, I believe mistaken. As in this case one ought to do as you have done because it is how to accomplish the end, which is the point of the tutorial in the first place. I just was using a pdf based tutorial out of Blenderart Magazine number 28, on how to build and use a stereo camera setup, and either english is not his first language, and/or he got distracted by huge amount of details and I lost his thread and its right there in print! But he also gives copious info about why he did what he did, and why the tutee/tutoree should too. And it didn’t help me. I mean I must study it a lot more. If a guy like you could take that guys article/tutorial and give it your (I wan to say) Professional polish, I think that “Stereo Camera” would soon be an Add-on, if not a standard tool. like a key toggled Stereo/Mono setting on all cameras. No? (you’re too modest).

  • Brux

    Thanks for the tut, but couldn’t actually get it to work. Fine up to ‘add a new texture’ and then one unpredictable behaviour after another; eg no drop down list of the four textures, or ‘specular’ coming up repeatedly when I had chosen ‘diffuse’, or all the nodes disappearing. Looks like a bug or a missing crucial component of the tutorial.
    I find a common problem with these “do as I do”-style ‘tutorials’ is often they lack explanation of why you’re doing what you’re doing. I’ve no idea why I got these behaviours, nor where to look.

  • yuri

    A truly brilliant tutorial.

    However, it’s easily applied to flat surfaces, however when I tried to apply it to a cube, it brought me a whole lot of trouble.

    Setting [Map Input -> Cube] did not work.

  • http://www.zrodlo.net.pl/zakupy,on,line/t,shirty,detale,3909.html Valencia Lofland

    Sorry to hear that.

  • Pingback: Daily #8 — Node Editor « David's Projects

  • joe

    great work. since i am using 2.5 and im a beginer, it took me awhile to translate some of the tutorial, but i got it. i am planning on using something similar to this in my RPG game. thank you for the help!

  • Reidh

    Thank You, It almost worked exactly, but I didn’t know what kind of light to use, and I’m using the mac version 2.49a?

  • kurt

    thnx for the great tutorial.
    Is it possible to reproduce this in the BGE using GLSL, but without baking textures. using the texture nodes instead?

  • Macropodmum

    Great tutorial thanks! I’m wondering if it is possible to see what the texture looks like in the 3d View without having to render though? I have tried using the draw type as textured but to no avail…

  • Pat

    My mortar/bricks were inverted. The bricks were recessed; the mortar stuck out. I found the “Nor’ button on the Bump texture “Map to” tab toggles. Just click it once or twice. One way the bricks will be “innies” the other way they will be “outies”.