Texture References

When another artist opens your model, they expect all of the bitmap textures you used to be present and to load without errors. They also expect all of the bitmap texture files and materials within your model to have meaningful names. Production artists find it very frustrating when they have to search for bitmap texture files or waste time figuring out which bitmap texture goes where and what each material represents. As such, it's important to remember to do the following things:

Meaningful Bitmap Texture Names

Remember that your model will often be merged into another scene with other models. When the bitmap textures and materials are named correctly, it makes it much easier for an artist to find, edit, and replace them as needed.

texturenames.png texturenames2.png
Which textures would you rather work with?

In addition to giving your bitmap textures and materials meaningful names, you also need strip out all bitmap paths referenced within your 3d application. If you don’t do this, error messages will appear when your scene is loaded, stating that your bitmaps can’t be found even when they’re included with the model. See below for more specifics.

No Texture Paths

Your model should contain no explicit bitmap texture paths within them. Instead, the ZIP or RAR file you upload should be set up with a “flat” file structure (no subfolders) so that by default, all the files will extract into a single folder.

The flat file structure is necessary for several reasons. First, customers don’t like sifting through multiple subfolders for bitmap texture files. Second, they don’t like an unfamiliar folder structure being created on their computer that they have to integrate into their own production pipeline. A customer who wants a separate folder structure for bitmap textures prefers to create folders themselves and move the bitmap textures there after opening so they know exactly where they are. 

The video above shows how to create a ZIP or RAR file with a flat folder structure.

Stripping Texture Paths in 3ds Max

Stripping Texture Paths in Maya

Bitmap Textures and Materials Checklist

Make sure your bitmap textures and materials are set up as follows:

  • Your bitmap texture maps have meaningful names
  • Your materials have meaningful names
  • Materials that are not used in the scene are not referenced by the scene. For example, if you use 3ds Max, materials not used in the scene should not be present in the Material Editor.
  • Your bitmap textures do not reference an explicit path or subfolder (no texture paths)
  • Bitmap textures are packaged in “flat” file structure in the ZIP or RAR file with each 3D file format

Most 3D software applications have a tool for packaging bitmap textures with the model, ensuring all required bitmaps are present in the archive file. See your application’s Help for information on how to do this. 

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