Basics of Realistic Texturing

I remember getting frustrated when I first started learning Blender. Not because of the user interface (although that certainly didn't help), but at how good everyone else's materials looked online compared to mine. I was downloading the same textures, and making the same type of models, but my materials always looked bad. There was no light interaction, no tiny bumps or shadows, and I had no idea why.

It would take me years of failing before finally discovering the answer: it's all about the texture variations.

I made a tutorial on this topic a year ago, but it was a little long and used Crazybump. So I wanted to put the same lesson into a shorter easier to understand post.

...besides, since Cycles Material Nodes was voted as your #1 struggle for 2015 I figured another tutorial couldn't hurt ;)

Final Result

In this tutorial you'll be taking a texture and creating some variations of it, using Photoshop (or Gimp if you prefer), then putting them into Blender like this: create a much more realistic tutorial.

Download the texture

As mentioned in the video, I’ve been working on a new texture website that provides the normal, spec and displacement maps for you. And it’s now ready! Go to to try it out.

The lessons you learn from this tutorial can be used for any material of your own. So if you make something cool post it in the comments below!