What is Physically Based Rendering?
As part of the Heritage Project that I am we are taking part in, we have been instructed that our final environments must be completed and rendered using a process called Physically Based Rendering (PBR). This new method has modified lighting calculations that more realistically mimic how lighting works in the real world, allowing games to look significantly more realistic. PBR is the new industry standard for creating textures in games, and we will be expected to use this method in the industry.
The first thing to do to create a PBR texture map is to find an image that you would like to use to create the texture. Usually, this would involve taking an image with a camera, cutting out an appropriately sized section, and removing the blemishes to make it suitable for texturing. However, for the purposes of this experiment, I used an image from a royalty free textures website in order to speed things up.
Firstly, I imported the image into the program Bitmap2Material
I then chose to have the texture plane display only the Roughness, Diffuse, Specular, Normal, and Ambient Occlusion maps,
I then clicked the “Export as Bitmap button in the top left corner of the screen, and exported just the Roughness, Diffuse, Specular, Normal, and Ambient Occlusion maps. I saved them as 512×512 jpeg images.
I then opened a new project in Unreal engine 4,
I created a new folder within the project called “Materials” and a new folder inside there called “Rocky”. I imported the five texture maps into this new folder.
Also inside this folder, I created a new material, and click-dragged all of the texture maps into that new material’s window.
I arranged all the textures in order of how they appeared in the new material blueprint section, so they connected more easily.
I connected all of the maps to their appropriate inputs,
Then I clicked save and returned to the editor screen.
I dragged the material file onto one of the physics enabled cubes in the environment to apply it to that object.
Here is a video of the texture in action within gameplay.