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How to Create REALISTIC Materials

How to Create REALISTIC Materials

What’s happening ladies and gentlemen, this is Minh from Architecture Inspirations. Today I’m going to show you have to create realistic materials in Vray 3.4 for Sketchup. Let’s get started. First go to and download some free textures. I’ll leave the links in the description box below as well. Now choose a material that you’d like to use. I think I’ll use this wood material. And here I can download the maps, I’ll go for the highest resolution possible. Once you’ve downloaded it, it will come as a ZIP file. Just unzip the file, and you will get a folder with a set of pictures. You can look at the name of each picture to see what type of map they are. Now go to sketchup, open up the asset editor and go to the material tab. Click on this button to add a Generic Material. If you don’t have the advanced options tab open then click this arrow to open it up. This window will give you more options to customize your material. Let’s start by first adding a diffuse map. A diffuse map is a map that contains color information. You can add a diffuse map by clicking on this button here. Now choose bitmap, and a window will pop up. From there, just locate and select your diffuse map. This material pack comes with 2 color variations of the diffuse map, So I’ll just choose one of them. Now hit the back button and there we go now we can use the paint bucket to apply the material. You see how it’s a little small, the width of each wood plank is not even half an inch. So I want to scale it up I can go to the material window, and on the edit tab, I can increase this number from 10″ to, say, 12′. There we go, now I can measure it again, and it’s around 6″, that’s better! Now we can test render it! As you can see, it looks decent but it’s kinda flat. To make it more realistic, let’s move on to the second step, which is adding a bump map. A bump map is a black and white map that is used to create an illusion of depth on the surface of an object. A normal is similar to a bump map but instead of using black and white, it uses RGB values If you want to learn more about these types of maps, I’ll leave some useful links in the description box below. Now before I add a bump map, let’s turn on the history window by clicking this button, then click here to enable it. Now you save this image so we can use it as reference later. Now to add the bump map, you can scroll down to the Maps roll-out, click on Bump, and turn it on. Now you can click on this button here, and again, select Bitmap and locate your Bump Map. Since Poliigon’s materials don’t have bump maps, I can just use the Normal map. There we go, we don’t see a lot of changes here in the preview but let’s do a test render. I will use this region render tool to test render a small area like so. There we go, you can see that it add some fine details to the rendering. I can go over here, and set this as image A, and the other one as image B. Then I can use this slider to compare the two images to see the differences clearer. Here is a closer render. As you can see, the normal map added some fine details to surface of the wood and make it look a lot more realistic. If you want to take a better look at the bumps of the materials, you can turn of the diffuse texture, and set the color to a gray color like so. Then render it again. Now you can clearly see how the normal map is affecting your render, and I think it’s a little too much. So I can go to the Bump roll-out again, and change the multiplier from 1 to 0.2. This will reduce the bumps and also reduce the render time. If I think it’s not enough texture then I can increase it to 0.5. And that’s the Bump only at 0.5 And here is the render of the diffuse map and bump map Once you’re happy with the bump and diffuse map, let’s move on to step 3. which is adding the displacement map Similar to a bump map, the displacement map is a black and white image that tells the computer how and where to displace a surface. The difference between a bump and displacement map is a bump map only changes the way the light affect the surface, giving it an illusion of depth, while a displacement map actually affect the geometry. Now to add a displacement map, scroll down to the displacement rollout below the bump map. Turn it on and click here, select bitmap, and locate your displacement map. Now let’s render it. Well it doesn’t look like much has changed so to give you a better look, I will turn off the diffuse and bump map then only render the displacement to show you how it affects your geometry. As you can see, the white area of the map will raise your geometry, while the black area will push it down. Usually, displacement maps are better when used on materials such as rock and brick. For example, this is a rendered image of a texture with no displacement. And this is the same material with a displacement map. As you can see, displacement maps changes the geometry so that it has more depth and thus more realistic. Also, a change of light direction can affect the shadows, this is also true with the bump maps as well. Now on to the last step Adding the reflection or specular map A reflection map is a black a white image that tells the computer where light should or should not be reflected. The darker area means less reflection, and the lighter area means more reflection. I will use this model to demonstrate it. Here I have a room with a wood material for the floor. Let’s test render it to see the reflection. As you can see, there is reflection on the material, but it seems too uniform that it becomes unrealistic. So let’s add a bump map here. Then to add a reflection map, go to the reflection roll-out which is located right under the diffuse section, click on this button and load a reflection map. There is not much reflection in the preview so I can use this slider to increase the reflectivity. Now let’s render it! There you go, with the bump and reflection map, it looks wayy more realistic. And that is all for today guys, I will leave some useful links below to show you where you can download the materials and also learn more about these types of maps. If you found the video useful, please leave a like. And as always, stay inspired guys, and I will see you, Next time.

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100 thoughts on “How to Create REALISTIC Materials

  1. Hi, you have shown us how to use the blend feature for dirt maps which is great, could you show us how to create velvet style materials with a few maps on top of each other, also a wrinkle displacement map.
    Every time I add a wrinkle map layer in sketchup, I want to make the map bigger but it makes my diffuse bitmap (fabric weave) bigger with it.
    Thanks in advance.

  2. Hi I have a question. How do I get a bump/displacement map? Or I can use the same normal as a bump/displacement map?

  3. Where should i put Ambient Occlusion map . Cos, i download material package it also include Ambient Occlusion Map….Please,….Can you tell me specifically ?

  4. Hi, do you know how to map reflection on translucent objects? I tried several ways but the results turned out not so good. Subscribed by the way :-3

  5. Nice vid bro! But Poliigon has made some videos of how to set up their maps the right way on vray 3.4 for Sketchup and that's not how they do it,yo should check them out

  6. this was hands down the best tutorial video ive ever seen for any software . You are so clear with your instructions , you saved my submissions xD

  7. I did literally the same exact thin you just did and I still keep getting these super generic single colours no matter what I do. I set everything to the extreme and in the Vray material editor it shows the material changing and becoming textured but when I render it's 1st grade paint bucket. How do I fix that??

  8. Hi Minh, Thanks for wonderful tutorials. I am using CC0textures website recommended by you. When I download a file it contains several other files, like I downloaded paintedmetal it has several files with names Col, disp, mask, met, nrm and rgh. I have an idea to put Col file in diffuse menu, nrm file at bitmap and disp at displacement menu.Can you let me know where to put remaining files ?

  9. Amazing tutorial! Thank you so much.

    P. S. imho no need to put distracting music, I really have the urge to mute the video (because of the music) yet need to hear your explanation.

  10. Very good video thanks! This video is super useful because it teaches the bases of what bump/normal maps are. Thanks man.

  11. so, if i have a displacement map i don't need the normal map or the bump map, but the displacement map costs more computing power? so for a flat plane let's say a floor it's better to only use the normal map or the bump map and for more complex organic geometries like stone i'd use the displacement map? Am i getting it right?

  12. Great! Thanks! NOW, Are there any libraries available where all this is already done? Yes, I'm looking for drag and drop action =) ! THANKS!

  13. Man i was searching about maps on internet but nothing find useful today i watched your video and understand all stuff in just 6 minutes wow… thanks a lot man god bless you…

  14. Hey there. I use vray 3.4 for sketchup, I placed my specular map in the reflective rollout and turned up the reflectivity but nothing changed in my render. Instead it lost its reflections. Please what do I do?

  15. I get here just because I was bored and found the explanation I've been looking for since day one using vray.

  16. hey thnx alot for this great tutorial it really helped
    but iv got an issue idk where to put this file format (Paper03_rgh)
    what does rgh stand 4
    and thnx again 4 your help 🙂

  17. I´ve been learning how to render in Revit but this video just blew my mind! Now i wanna use SketchUp

  18. Maybe one of the most important video tutorials in the series, basically an introduction to PBR materials. Great stuff.

  19. These are the kind of videos I love to watch online. Short and full of information. Now I know what is a normal map!

  20. Sorry, here i only have one image for texturs, how to edit marerial images that only have one then become saveral types, exsemples DIFFUSE1, DIFFUSE2, DISPLACEMENT, GLOSS, NORMAL, and REFLECTION, how to, please

  21. hi admin, I selected history but when I saved the file for comparison, vray next failed to save the image. How do I handle it?

  22. I have a question min. how do you control the size of the refelection map? in the case of adding fingerprints. some times the reflection becomes way too small .. how do you change that? thanks

  23. Thanks for a very clear explanation Can you do some tutorials in Lumion and EU please 🙂 thanks

  24. I just realized how much time I've wasted on SU-VRay courses/tutorials and you explain so much valuable content in a few minutes. A true fan of you my friend, keep it up.

  25. Hi sir Minh , can I ask something? When you're done adding diffuse map in vray from poliigon, is it possible to change the color of that texture from poliigon ? For example, I like the road texture in poliigon, but I don't want its color which is black, I want to make it white.. Is it possible to make it white in vray even if the original color of the diffuse map from poliigon is black? .. Because I tried to maximize the diffuse color in vray to make it white but it didn't work .. The color of the diffuse box is white but the preview in material is still black.

  26. hi I'm using unreal engine and I have a lot of material but can't make them realistic Can you suggest videos to me? I want to make these realistic.

  27. Can you provide information about minimum requirement of computer system for bitmap rendering? P.S really good video tutorial thanks a lot.

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