A guide on how to properly texture PBR textures in Blender. And also explaining each material.
Explaining Each Material and How to Use It
(The Most Used Ones)
The Base Color
The Base Color map defines the color of a surface. It should be plugged into the Base Color input of the Principled BSDF. Also make sure the image file’s color space is set to sRGB, because the texture needs a sRGB color. Every PBR texture will have this material.
The Roughness map defines how rough a surface is. It should be plugged into the Roughness input of the Principled BSDF. And make sure the image file’s color space is set to Non-Color. The gamma node is an optional Node, you can add it if u want. I usually use it a lot to make the Roughness Map darker or brighter. Every PBR texture will have this material.
The Height Map
The Height map can be used to created detailed shadows and highlights on a material or to actually displace the geometry of an object.
If u want to use it for create detailed shadows and highlights, it should be plugged into the Height input of a Bump node, which the should be plugged into the Normal input of the Principled BSDF. Also make sure the image file’s color space is set to Non-Color. Using the Strength slider of the Bump node, you can control the strength of the effect, really useful to play with the details/lightning.
If you want to use it for actually displacing the geometry of your object, it should be plugged into the Height input if a Displacement node, which then should be plugged into the Displacement input of the material Output node. Make sure the image file’s color space is set to Non-Color here as well. Using the Scale slider of the Bump node, you can control how much the geometry should be displaced.
If for some reason nothing happens, make sure that the Displacement method in the Material Settings is set to either “Displacement” only or “Displacement and Bump”. I always use “Displacement and Bump” if u wonder.
And if for some reason you don’t see the Displacement tab. Make sure to have cycles as a render engine so that the displacement tab pops up in the material settings.
The Normal Map
The Normal map defines in which direction a part of a surface is faced, which is used to created detailed shadows and highlights.
Normally, it should be plugged into the Color input of a Normal map node, which the should be plugged into the Normal input of the Principled BSDF. However, some normal maps are “DirectX” normal maps, but blender uses “OpenGL”, which means we have to invert the Green channel of the normal map. You can do that by adding an RGB Curves Node between the Image node and the Normal node, then changing the curve in the “G” channel to match the curve in the screenshot below. Make sure the image file’s color space is set to Non-Color. This material is in every PBR texture u use.
Theoretically, you can use a normal map combination with a height map. I recommend only using one of them, since in most cases, the effects they create is almost the same or very similar.
The Metallic Map
The Metallic map defines which parts of a material are metallic, and which are not. It should be plugged into the Metallic input of the Principled BSDF. Make sure the image file’s color space is set to Non-Color. Only materials that are both metallic and non-metallic have this map available. If a metallic material doesn’t have this map, change the metallic value in the Principled BSDF to 1. Metallic materials is very common in PBR metallic textures.
The Ambient Occlusion or Also Called AO
The Ambient Occlusion (AO) map can be used to fake soft shadowing in the bumps of a surface. It isn’t really needed to create realistic materials in Blender (especially with Cycles), but you can still use it to darken the tiny shadows in the surface and make it more detailed.
If you want to use this map, it should be multiplied from the Base Color map using a MixRGB node, with the Ambient Occlusion map being the second color input, so you can easily control the strength of it with the slider of the MixRGB node. This material is in every PBR texture u use.
The Final Part / Connecting Everything
If you readed and did the whole guide, you can just connect everything and see the amazing results. I will put mine here, you can see how it looks like.
As you can see in the left i have 2 extra nodes. The reason for this nodes, is to be able to make the texture bigger, smaller or move it around. All you need to add is a “Texture Coordinate Node” and add a “Mapping Node”, connect the UV to the vector of the mapping Node, then later connect the vector to each Material, keep in head, just the materials. Make sure that every material is connected. With the scale you can scale it, and the “Location” and “Rotation” is for moving it and rotating it.