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Procedural Texturing With Weightmaps

12 June 2003 45,367 views No Comment

Lightwave’s procedural surfacing features have dramatically improved since version 5, and they now provide a powerful alternative to using image maps. Although sometimes slower, they generally use less memory and provide a level of detail that can undergo close scrutiny.

The finished result

This tutorial attempts to show some of the techniques available to users for creating realistic surfaces. It shows the creation of a large metal anvil; chosen because it is a simple model to create and a good candidate for procedural texturing. Instead of taking you through every surface setting, I will provide an overview of each stage and present images for reference. The final model and scene are available for download at the end of this tutorial.


The first step is to create your model using subdivision surfaces (alternatively download the model on the next page). By using subdivision surfaces (i.e. hitting the "Tab" key), it gives greater adjustability when we use displacement maps later on. For reference I’d suggest using Google Image search; there’s plenty of images out there that should be useful. Try to get as many as possible as it’ll help when it comes to getting ideas on creating your procedural textures.

Anvil model

This model would be fine if we simply wanted to use image maps, but we need to make some adjustments to make it work better with the weight maps we’ll be creating.

By subdividing certain areas (using a combination of Bandsaw and Smooth Shift), it will give us greater detail and control in making the weight map.

Subdividing the mesh

Here I’ve subdivided two specific areas where I’ll want to add a bit more detail in the weight map on the next page. Give the entire model a surface called "Anvil".

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