We wanted for a long time to start a series of short articles sharing with you some websites and resources that we have found incredibly useful in our daily practice. Some of them are free and some paid, but full disclosure, we are not getting any sponsorship from them, so they are genuinely good.
Today I want to start with material textures. Textures are very important in our work as designers/architects not only to communicate our projects via renderings and diagrams but also for ourselves to help us figure out the design itself.
From renderings, drawings, diagrams, digital mockups, and sample boards we have spent in the past a great deal of time finding good textures and building up a library for our template
This is my new favorite go-to place for architectural textures. Architextures is a material library for architects and designers. Our web app allows designers to create custom materials compatible with CAD/BIM software and download their design as a seamless texture, bump map, or hatch.
They have a free tier to use for personal and educational use that allows to download the seamless texture and use the online editor.
Pro accounts are available for commercial use and offer access to high-resolution resources and additional features as to download the bump maps, upload your own images, and, one of my favorite features, download the texture hatch, to be able to create the material in your BIM software like Archicad or Revit. This will allow us, BIM users, to coordinate our renderings, diagrams, and technical drawings without much effort.
Even the Pro-account is very reasonably priced for only 5.99 USD a month.
Architextures was developed by the architect, Ryan Canning who is based in Glasgow, Scotland.
Ambient CG is a very interesting PBR material database by Lennart Demes. It is a free and open-source project that contains hundreds of already made PBR materials (Rhino, Unreal, Unity, Twinmotion… can use these materials) and also making available the source textures, so we can effectively create the materials in any other software, like Archicad or Revit.
Check the website and, please support the author if you start using it.
Textures.com is a paid subscription service, focused on visualization and gaming assets. Although is a paid service, the website offers free download of small and medium quality flat-maps (the different layers to create the material). Those can be useful to us, as normally, we don’t want to use very high-quality images inside our BIM models, since that can slow down the performance of the file.
Poliigon is a paid subscription service of very high-quality textures. They have a very large library of textures and models but are not focused only on the AEC industry, so there will be a lot of these textures that we won’t probably use for our Architecture or Interior Desing projects. The price is also a bit higher than Achitextures, a monthly 18 USD per seat, that will enable us to download around 30 textures each month.
Arroway Textures is a supplier of high-res textures, which are used in many areas of digital visualization, e.g. architecture, design, and art. Their collections are amongst the most used by professional renders artists and the ArchiViz community.
They are very high quality and although they’re not cheap, we can buy specific textures that might not be available in other free sources for around 4 to 10 Eur. Probably still affordable if the texture plays an important role in conveying the idea of the design or the render.
BIM Object Websites:
These websites are usually focused on BIM objects but you can find for some of the products, a downloadable folder containing the real material textures, as for example in BIMObject:
Eptar is a Hungarian website, that is known for its Archicad addons and technical construction details, but they have also a quite large range of textures coming from commercial products and building materials
Lastly, we have Epic games, which has released in the past couple of years a whole set of tools to complement their real-time render engine. Two of these tools are relevant for us now talking about texturing, although they are more useful in the context of pure rendering and visualization aspects as they can’t really be applied easily back into our BIM workflow.
Quixel Mixer and Megascans: (Epic Games)
Quixel mixer allows taking different base materials both from our own library or the online Megascan library and modifies them procedurally. At the moment stands as free software, so it’s a great moment to download it and play with it. You can check out the website as well as a short introductory video below.
Hope these links are as useful to you as they have been to us. Stay tuned for the next blog on “resources” that will come out soon.