Tiling A Map On A Ground Plane
By Neil Blevins
Mar 12th 2007

Have you ever needed a large surface of something, and every time you apply a texture map to it, you see the tiling? Here's a trick to help reduce the problem of tiling textures.

For example, you need a concrete floor. You have a photo of concrete that you take with your camera.

Figure 1

Now lets apply it to your ground plane. It's a good start, but it's too large...

Figure 2

Adjust the tiling of your bitmap, now it's the right size, but you can see the edges of your bitmap tiling into infinity...

Figure 3

Lets bring the image into photoshop, and make the edges tilable using the technique outlined in my tutorials: Removing Brightness Variation To Make Tileable Textures and Offset Filter To Make Tileable Textures.

Here's the result in 3d, looks better, but you're still seeing a repeating pattern...

Figure 4

This is because the texture has a large feature (the dark grey blotchy stain) that repeats again and again. Now you could just remove parts of the texture until you no longer have any obvious features like this one, but that will make the texture boring and uneventful. So instead, here's a way to mix between maps to avoid tiling. First, take 2 more photos of cement. Color correct them and make them tilable to they match with the first image...

Figure 5aFigure 5b

Now turn your bitmap in 3d into a mix map, slot 1 should be your original bitmap, slot 2 should be your second bitmap, and the mix amount slot should be a noise...

Figure 6

Figure 7

Now look at the result in 3d. A lot of the tiling has gone away.

Figure 8

That's because the noise is randomly mixing between the two bitmaps, hence, sometime you're seeing the first bitmap, sometimes the second, and the obvious repeated pattern is broken. You may need to adjust the size of the noise larger or smaller to help hide the tiling...

Figure 9

Now lets add the 3rd bitmap. Make a new mix map, place in slot1 your first mix map, slot 2 should be your 3rd bitmap, and the mask slot should be another noise using a different phase value, so you get a different noise.

Figure 10

Figure 11

Now look at the 3d results. The tiling is even better hidden, because you're now blending between 3 bitmaps.

Figure 12

If you can't take more than 1 photo, you can also try using the same bitmap 3 times, just change the tiling or offset of the bitmap to manually make 2 "new bitmaps" using the same source image.

Also, play with the size of the noises you use, the phase of the noise, and the high and low threshold to achieve better results. Here's a test file in max8 format to play with.

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