Revisiting Old Work: Having A Taste Of My Own Medicine

General / 20 February 2018

Opening Remarks

My goal with this post is to share an honest self critique about my work and what I did to improve it, which I hope will help other artists out there.
Recently re-visited a ceramic roof texture I made some months back. I did this as an exercise to apply what I have learned about both better texture creation and better workflows within Substance Designer.

You want to invite the viewer in, to let them find little moments in the texture, rather than bombard them with so much they can't focus.

A Look At The Old Version

  • Eye Rest & Noise - I am known to always preach "eye rest" and "control your noise". In this case I could have done a lot better. There is very little opportunity for eye rest, the viewer is bombarded with noise at every turn. An attempt to add layering and lived in detail of a wet environment turned into a lot of lichen and moss noise.
  • Height / Normal - Very heavy on damage and pocks. With mostly equal amount of perceived depth.
  • Albedo - Has quite a bit going on in terms of information to digest. Lichen and moss which I previously pointed out is a lot. The dirt is also very thick feeling and not faded.
  • Directionality - There is very little information here with respect to directionality. No streaking or drips.
  • Construction - How is this held together? I am giving zero information for you to feel anything here.

Updated Version

  • Eye Rest & Noise - Across the board I greatly reduced the noise here and pushed for eye rest. Removing the moss almost entirely and keeping the lichen helped immensely. Additionally, keeping the newly added mortar to the edge of the tiles gives a tucked in feeling.
  • Height / Normal - Dialing back the surface damage and pocks help a lot here. Also raising and lowering some of the plates adds a nice depth variety.
  • Albedo - The dirt and staining here has been given a more faded feeling compared to the thick caked on dirt from the original pass. Adding some local stains to the mortar helps a lot as well. The lichen is varying shades of gray instead of a constant gray value from before.
  • Directionality - Adding some drips to the mortar areas along with streaking dirt gives the viewer a much strong sense of gravity affecting the surface.
  • Construction - For me personally, outside of a more relaxed read, this is my favorite part of the update. Adding the oozing mortar goes a long way to lending believable through a sense of construction.

Comparing The Textures

Height / Normal


Albedo Value

Closing Remarks

This was a great exercise that I would recommend to an artist at any level. Very satisfying to push harder on an already existing piece applying new techniques, specifically the addition of the mortar, and a new artistic touch with respect to balance and eye rest, which I think shows through the most in the updated albedo.