Ground materials are super important to environments.
When it's good, it improves the environment, and when it's poor it drags it down with it.
The key ingredient to a good ground material? The displacement.
It's all about that displacement
In the real world, grounds are incredibly uneven, with huge differences in the height.
But when ground textures are photographed all this data is lost! Third-party software like Crazybump provides a way to "fake" it, but this is extremely inaccurate and full of mistakes.
Thankfully a better solution appeared: photoscanning.
Photoscanning: A better way
Instead of relying on a single photo texture, Photoscanning uses hundreds of photos of the subject taken at multiple angles. Then photoscanning software calculates the shift in perspective to generate an exact replica of the mesh - accurate right down to the millimeter.
But! There's the huge downside that no one likes to talk about is the amount of time photoscanning requires.
A proper photoscanned material can take an expert 4-7 hours to make, start to finish. Including taking hundreds of photos of the source (1 hour), calculating the mesh with photoscanning software (2-3 hours), then making them seamless (another 2-3 hours).
And honestly, this is wasted time! There's already too much you need to learn as a 3D artist. You should be able to focus on what you do best: making art. Leave the technical field of photogrammetry to others.
The problem with existing scan libraries
While there are lots of scan libraries appearing online nowadays, they often suffer from the same problem: tiny capture sizes.
Along with this we also found lots of artifacts and errors in the tiling process (especially in the normal maps).
The new Photoscanning collection on Poliigon
So set out to create a better scan library, that addressed the problems we found in other libraries.
We captured large scans, then used hand painting techniques to create perfect tiling without seams or artifacts.
We've just updated the library with 30 new grounds, bringing the total photoscanned collection to 61 - with plenty more on the way!
Got any specific requests for future photoscanned materials? Let us know in the comments!