Whether you’re rendering photo-realistic money shots for an architectural competition, or animating the protagonist for the next Pixar movie, your textures - and the application of those textures - are often the difference between resounding success or imminent failure. The textures are the fit and finish that is what will attract everyone’s eye once the dust settles and the final product is available for public consumption.
And while the rendering program you downloaded illegally from the darkest reaches of the file sharing web probably comes stocked with an unmarked folder full of textures, do your work and your career a favor by never going near them.
If you really want to get the most out of rendering textures, the ultimate goal would be to learn how to develop them yourselves. However, that takes a lot of practice and technical knowhow to produce anything better than you’ll get as a pack-in. The good news is there are plenty of online resources where you can download professional grade textures as you learn the ropes of creating them yourselves.
Here are the best texture resources for architects and 3D rendering artists.
Why don’t we start with the most obvious? There are few texture databases that are as robust and well-rounded as this one - with options for free or premium resolutions available to download. This allows for textures to be tested in your 3D renderings or animations before putting down the financial investment for the final product. The site is organized by material type, with several sub-categories within. It’s a hierarchy system that is easy to navigate and can be searched by keyword or tag for convenience.
Signing up with Textures.com allows you to download 15 texture images for free every day. It’s a pretty good deal considering how vast this library is, and gives you cheap access to high-grade textures that will transform how you render.
Texturer is a no-nonsense online texture resource that is specifically useful for architects and interior designers. There are a number of great material images as well as all kinds of people, vegetation, animals, and objects that can help to aid in post-production of rendering images. Having access to a variety of these image types allows for a greater diversity of movement and action which in turn help to explain the possibilities of an architectural space.
Texturer offers it’s textures for free, and has a streamlined interface that never confuses and always lands you on something you can use. It won’t take long to help build out your list of go-to textures with this resource in your back pocket.
If you’re looking for textures that leave zero trace of tiling, look no further than SWTEXTURE. It’s one of the few free sites that promotes such textures, which are vital for ensuring your renderings are as photorealistic as possible. There’s nothing that takes you out of the illusion of a good rendering like when that nasty checkerboard effect rears its ugly head.
SWTEXTURE updates its backlog daily in the form of blog posts that focus on specific types of architectural textures. This format makes checking in every day essential for keeping some of the internet’s best texture images at your fingertips.
If Tony is as good a guy as his textures might indicate, consider me hoping he’s in the market for a new best friend. Tony Textures is a royalty free stock photo site that specializes in procuring high-quality texture files aimed at architects and interior designers. In addition, the site features a regularly updated blog which posts tutorials, news, and freshly available texture packs.
Now, if only I can track down this Tony guy and force him to hang out with me…
This is your one-stop-shop for all things architectural rendering, but also happens to be a top source for textures, material files, and entourage cut-outs. Their materials page is clean and easy to navigate, and comes chock full of just about any architectural texture you can imagine. Also, if you happen to use VIZ Render for a bulk of your rendering work, Flying Architecture is primarily geared towards aiding that particular client base.
With these resources, you can finally bury that pack-in stock image folder deep in the ground where it belongs. The future of your freelance rendering business will surely thank you down the road.