Terrain texture is very important to make a good-looking and elegant terrain. Before we jump into Unity terrain textures, we will take some time to learn about what exactly are textures and how they can be used. In this post, we will cover how to make your own texture to use in your Unity terrain. We have also listed out the best terrain texture assets available in the Unity asset store.
What is a texture?
A texture is the look and feel of the surface of any material. For example, if you take a red ball with white dots then, the texture is the red color with white dots on it. That is a simple example of texture. But, in games, the texture is more complex. The materials used in games use multi-layered textures. By multi-layer, it means different information is held in each layer like color details are in one layer and height details are in another. Let’s the different layers used in a Unity terrain texture.
Different layers of a Unity Terrain Texture
- Diffuse map: Contains the color information
- Bump map or Normal Map: Contains the depth/height information. There is a small difference between a bump map and a normal map. A bump map uses white and black to define depth whereas a normal map uses RBG. A normal map gives better quality results than a simple bump map.
- Displacement map: Adds geometry details to the texture.
- Reflectivity map: This contains the details about the reflective nature of the texture.
- Transparency map: Contains the transparency detail.
These 5 are the most used terrain texture layers in games. Most games use only the diffuse map and bump map as adding more layers to the texture will require high processing during graphics render and might affect the performance. You can make all these yourselves using the image editing tools like photoshop or gimp. Before we see how to make Unity terrain texture let’s see the top assets that you can just import and use in your game.
Best unity Terrain Textures in asset store
You can find a lot of terrain texture assets in the asset store. The free ones offer a single texture at most and if it suits your requirement you can use them. In the post we have listed only the texture package that can be used in all terrains and is a one time investment.
If you have CTS you will not require any other terrain shader in your game development career. It has all types of textures for that are requires for your game. Even though it does cost a little more than regular terrain texture assets, its worth the money as its more easier to use and contains all the textures for your future need. CTS is like that one time investment you can make that you will not regret. CTS is constantly updated and is getting better by the day. So if you are some one who makes lot of terrains then you must definitely get CTS.
This is the next best terrain asset in the asset store if you cannot afford CTS. This assets has all the textures needed to make a beautiful terrain. It contains materials for grass, mud, rocks, sand, stones along with the bump map, occlusion map, height map and normal for each of these. The textures are already applied to materials that can be used directly to paint on terrains.
TGS terrain texture is the best cheapest option to get a terrain texture pack. It has got 16 Dirt textures 13 Grass textures, 06 Grass & Other textures, 08 Snow textures, 04 Lava textures, 05 Swamp textures, 07 Road textures. It also includes the normal map for these textures, so you can add the depth effect for the same.
Cartoon terrain textures are really good assets for terrains for games with cartoon themes. It contains 17 Grass Splat Textures, 41 Ground Splat Textures, 6 Sand Splat Textures, 16 Stone Splat Textures, 13 Wall Splat Textures. These textures are 512X512 and are good for low poly style games. These textures don’t look good for high quality realistic terrains. Cartoon terrain textures have three version. Version 2 is the best among them as it contains normal textures along with splat textures.
How to make your own Unity terrain texture
Sometimes it’s very hard to find the exact textures you are looking for in your game. Don’t worry, with the world around us we can make our own texture using the simple steps below. We will discuss two methods of making Unity terrain texture and normal maps. One is with image editors and the other using the Unity asset called normal map maker.
Method1: with photoshop or Gimp
- Take a photo of the place that looks like the texture you are looking for. You can also download an image from google that is marked as reusable(option available in google advance search).
- Crop the photo to square using paint or photoshop(paint is installed in all computers running Windows).
- Use photoshop to generate a normal map. (Choose Filter → 3D → Generate Normal Map)
- Create a new material in Unity and add the image and normal map. Your new Unity terrain texture is ready.
Method2: No photoshop required.
- Follow step 1 and step 2 of method 1.
- Get Normal map maker from Unity asset store for free.
- Import you picture and normal map maker into your Unity project.
- Use normal map maker to make normal map.
- Create material in Unity and add the image and generated normal map.
unity terrain textures can be created very easily as you can see above, but is a little time-consuming. You can spend a little on the Unity asset store to get the textures you want, saving your time to focus on game development. Some terrain tools also have textures inbuilt, so you can make beautiful looking terrain in minutes with worrying about textures. Check out over other post on best terrain generators for more details.