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How to Texture for Architectural Rendering? 

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The application of 3D rendering in architecture is by far the most efficient and useful. Packing in some of the most useful features and benefits, architectural rendering has become a crucial part of the world of modern architecture. However, everything in architectural rendering starts with adding texture to your 3D model and things that come with it.

Adding textures to your 3D models isn’t as easy as it may sound. Consider this as your guide on adding textures in architectural rendering.

What is Texturing Anyway? 

Texturing is basically adding 2D images to a 3D model. A 3D model is lifeless without the appropriate textures.

Textures can dramatically improve the quality of 3D art; they give life to the boring and lifeless polygons in a 3D model. Simply put, texturing an object is the addition of colour, shininess, grittiness, transparency, etc. on the surface of an object to make it look good. While texturing an object, one needs to remember all the real-world fundamentals to make the 3D object/model look and behave as realistic as possible.

It’s of special importance in the world of architectural rendering, where details and the interaction of the building with the camera is a strong display of the artist’s 3D rendering capabilities. In addition, clients need to get a complete idea of how the construction will look in the real world. It won’t be possible without adding textures to an object.

What is a Material? 

Starting with the most basic component in 3D architectural rendering, a material’s job is to provide the engine with how the object will react to different camera positions. This includes the reaction of the lights, shading, reflections, etc., on the object with respect to the position of the camera.

In architectural rendering, you don’t need to extensively focus on the materials of a building, for example- environmental elements, grunge, wear, etc. You just have to make them as realistic as possible to give the clients the most accurate idea of the appearance of the building in the real world.

Material is not a single entity but consists of multiple components. Miss a single attribute and your material will look unrealistic and faded. Not very pleasing when it comes to attracting clients and getting approvals for your projects, isn’t it? These attributes include colour, shininess, refractive index, transparency, etc.

Creating Textures for Architectural Rendering

When it comes to creating textures for your 3D model, it needs to be a seamless repeating texture. Failing to do so will only display your lack of experience and question your expertise in this field. The trick of creating a seamless texture depends on how you play with the UV mapping. These tips for UV mapping might come in handy for just that.

UV Mapping Tips to Create a Seamless Texture 

  • Evenly distribute the scale of UV across the object.
  • Face the UVs in the same direction.
  • Layout all UVs logically to avoid overlapping, do it before duplicating to save time and effort.
  • If the UV somehow has to overlap, make sure to either hide or align the seam.

Creating Seamless Texture 

As said before, creating a seamless texture is crucial. You have to play around with UV mapping and ensure to hide or align all the seams in the texture in case the UVs overlap. Follow these steps to create a repeating seamless texture using photoshop.

  • Capture the texture: Take a photograph of the surface you want to add as a texture even in lighting conditions. The photograph must be well-lit and should cover a large area of the texture to hide any obvious repetitions.
  • Load the image into Photoshop: You can’t use the raw photograph directly as texture for your 3D model. Take the image into Photoshop to process it further.
  • Crop: Crop the photo to get rid of uniform patterns in the texture (if there are any). Crop it in such a way that the seams become visible after offsetting. This will prevent seams and obvious repetitions of the texture.
  • Offset: In Photoshop, go to Filter>Others>Offset. Set the offset to a value that makes the seams visible so that you can remove them through the healing brush tool in Photoshop.
  • Mask the visible seams: Use the healing brush tool on seams to mask them. Alternative tools like patch tools are also available in Photoshop for more effective results, and you can use them if the healing brush tool fails.
  • Offset again: Offset the blended and seamless image again to ensure the visibility of no distinct endpoints in the middle of the image.
  • Save: Your texture is now ready to be added to your 3D model. Go to File>Save as> Texture, or just press the shortcut keys ctrl+S on your keyboard.


3D Texturing Tutorial: A Simple Brick Wall

Producing high-quality textures is easy when you know the necessary steps. Follow these steps to set up a simple scene. They will give you a thorough idea of how to do it.

Step 1: Start with a Basic Idea

To save time and energy on creating 3D models, avoid starting from scratch. Instead, visualize the basic and rough appearance of the final render and start with that. This will make you figure out the areas of the scene that will be hidden in the final render so that you can save time by not putting too much energy into such areas.

Step 2: Unwrap the UVs 

To avoid issues, unwrap the UVs before performing any duplication. Using a simple colour-checkered texture will help you visualize the UV size and seams.

Step 3: Duplicate

After unwrapping, duplicate the texture until you feel comfortable. If the texture doesn’t work out for the unwrap you’ve chosen, go back to the previous step and try choosing a different unwrap.

Step 4: Set Up the Lighting

Coming to one of the most important parts in texturing, lighting can either ruin your texture or make it look like a charm, depending on how you tackle it. Lighting and texture must be set precisely for the most realistic and practical results.

Step 5: Bump and Normal Maps

Bump and normal maps have a direct influence over the look of the object. These maps will make you figure out how the light will bounce off of the object with respect to different camera angles. Also, this will determine the look of the object under different lighting conditions.

Step 6: Create a Specular Map

Specularity maps decide the intensity of reflected light from different areas in the scene. For example- A brick isn’t a good reflector of light compared to a piece of metal. If you mismatch the specularity of such objects, your final render will look highly unrealistic. It’s not something you desire when it comes to presenting your work to clients, isn’t it?

Step 7: Final Touches

At last, follow the hit and trial method. Keep tweaking the colours, bump maps, and specular maps to get the best results. There will always be different settings for different objects and scenes. There are no universal and ideal preset settings available, it’s something you have to find out on your own for different scenes.


7 Best Texture Resources for Architects

Knowing the steps and tricks to add texture to your object, you may now come to wonder where to find pre-made textures. As creating textures by yourself can be tedious and time-consuming at times, we’ve filtered out some of the best websites and resources to get textures that you can add to your architectural rendering models.


Although packs over a whopping 100,000 images, navigating this website is a piece of cake, thanks to the better organization of textures and a streamlined interface. Moreover, this robust website allows you to choose between paid and free textures. What’s more? You can test the textures on your architectural rendering before putting in the money, giving you complete assurance of your investment.

  • SW Texture 

You may already be aware that making your renders as photo-realistic as possible requires you to ensure zero traces of tiling in your textures. Thankfully, SW Texture is one of the best free sites that promote such textures for free. There is no registration required, you can access and download tile-able textures from the website directly and for free.

  • TextureHub

With an ever-growing array of downloadable textures, TextureHub is one free resource that won’t disappoint you. Moreover, you can even contribute your own images to the stock of TextureHub to support your fellow 3D artists.

  • Architextures 

This website has easy-to-download textures that can come in handy for any architect. Moreover, Architextures also has a web app named Create which lets you create materials that you can download as seamless textures and CAD hatches.

  • Flying Architecture

Being one of the best sources for textures, Flying Architecture has the best and streamlined interface for navigating through materials and images. As the name suggests, the sky’s the limit on Flying Architecture, you’ll find almost any architectural texture you can think of.

Moreover, Flying Architecture is primarily focused on architects working on Viz Render for their architectural rendering purposes. If you happen to be one of them, Flying Architecture will serve you the best.

  • SketchUp Texture Club

Powered by Trimble Inc., SketchUp Texture Club has a vast array of textures that requires registration if you wish to access those textures. However, downloading these textures will be restricted to 15 textures per day for free access.


Not only great and nicely cut textures, but also comprises people as well as different animals, vegetations, objects, etc, in its wide selection. Despite offering such a wide variety of textures and objects, has a streamlined interface for easy and convenient navigation.

9 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Textures 

Creating a scene using architectural rendering with perfect lighting and colours can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. The amount of hard work that goes into creating photorealistic images with real-world-like textures is tedious, at least if you don’t know the right tips. These 9 tips will help you achieve a great sense of realism in your 3D renders.

  • Say no to sharp edges

When it comes to creating photorealistic images, you need to implement features of real-world objects. With that said, perfectly sharp edges do not exist in real-world architecture. It’s better to make the edges of your objects slightly rounded to make the overall scene look as realistic as possible.

Meanwhile, rounded corners improve the behaviour of the object with lights and reflections, making the object and the scene look even better. Access the toolkit of your architectural rendering software and go to the chamfer modifier. Tweak the values until you get the desired results.

  • Perfection is not ideal

As crazy as it may sound, perfection is not ideal, not when it comes to texturing for architectural rendering. No matter how good the construction workers are, a building cannot turn out to be a perfect piece of art in every sense. Take the example of a brick wall, for instance, bricks have surface imperfections in the real world.

Making the bricks without such imperfections in their texture will only make your render look highly unrealistic. Not only that, subtle variations and imperfections in the texture will help achieve a greater sense of realism in your renders. Subtle deformation on the edges and changes in sharpness of the reflections on the texture are two of the best ways to introduce subtle imperfections in your renders.

However, make sure not to get carried away while introducing imperfections, a client won’t ever want to see muddy footprints on the beautiful wooden floors of their building, same goes for beautifully painted walls and exterior of the building.

  • Lighting is the key

All your efforts in creating and adding beautiful and realistic textures to your objects will be in vain if you fail to accomplish perfect and real-world lighting in your renders. That’s the part which requires utmost importance as unsuitable lighting conditions surely is a deal-breaker for most clients. Perfect lighting makes the CGI believable and realistic.

Meanwhile, with lighting come the shadows too, you’ve to take care of them too. For that, you have to remember the light source(s) and create shadows accordingly to mimic a real-world scene. Meanwhile, the colour temperatures of the light source(s) also need to be in check to mimic reality.

  • Create an atmosphere 

Not only does an atmosphere around the building make the render look very pleasing to the eye, but it also makes the scene look more realistic. For example- lowering the contrast of the background and adding a thin layer of fog help induce a broad sense of realism in your render. However, such visual tweaks need to be as subtle as possible.

Adding a thick layer of fog over the scene of a bright sunny day is only going to make the situation worse. Also, you can add people, vehicles, animals, vegetation, etc., surrounding the building to make it look more attractive.

  • Scale objects around the building correctly 

Your work doesn’t just end with adding objects and creating an atmosphere, scaling those objects is much more crucial than you may think. Incorrectly scaled objects can be a deal-breaker and can make all your efforts minting the scene go to waste. The situation becomes even worse when it comes to elements we see every day like people, vehicles, animals, etc. Scaling such elements incorrectly will ruin your 3D render as a whole.

So, it’s best to set the dimensions of such objects or elements. You can easily Google the dimensions of the objects you’re adding to your render, set the units in centimetres, and you’re good to go. However, do take note that the camera angle also comes into play while playing with the atmosphere around the building. Make your camera angle suitable for such differently-sized objects.

  • Attention to detail

Before wrapping things up, it’s important to review the render and pay attention to the details. Real-world scenes are never immaculate; implement that in your render. The best way to review your render and to make it look much more realistic is to find imperfections in the real world.

Look around you and pay attention to detail; how many subtle imperfections can you find or imagine? Introduce them in your render. Such attention to detail not only makes your render look realistic, but it’s also a direct and precise display of your experience and expertise in the industry.


Texturing for architectural rendering involves much more work than just downloading and adding textures to the objects. There is much more to it. Fortunately, our detailed guide is enough to make your task of adding textures in architecture rendering as easy as it sounds. After all, when it comes to impressing clients and getting approvals for your projects, putting in more effort will only turn out to be profitable.

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