How can you make more realistic 3D Assets?

augmentable gives you all the tools you need to create a photorealistic digital double. And we want to share our wisedom how to do Materialization. So how do you achieve this photorealistic level of detail? It is not just the model itself, but especially it’s materials. Color, Roughness and Metalness all play a part in recreating the subtleties of real life. Everything needs to be thought of - How much light reflects off the surface? Are there visible reflections? If yes, how clear are they? The list goes on. That's when the materialization and 3D assets comes in. The augmentable editor gives you the possibility to adjust and fine tune all of these factors. Subsequently you can use the viewer to check if the rendered result matches your desired look.

What is Physically based rendering (PBR)?

PBR is short for Physically Based Rendering, this principle is a digital approach that attempts to use images in a way that surfaces on models behave as in the real world. Here is the short version. In principle, colors and color values are used to emulate the light flow in the real world. It's about how much light is reflected and how strong is the reflection. In addition, a 360° HDR image is placed around the 3D object, so that any environment can be recreated and used for lighting! The goal of PBR is to design a 3D model as photorealistically as possible. This can be used to discover and encode accurate optical properties of materials. 

For example, take an image of bricks rendered with PBR. Although this is a rough, opaque surface, more than diffuse light is reflected from the lighter side of the material, creating small highlights, as in the physically based rendering model of the real world "everything is shiny". Using an object mesh, a height map and a normal map are generated to create more detail.

Materialization 3D Assets: How to get started

Before even thinking about texturing your 3D model you need to prepare it when it comes to Materialization 3D Assets. Whether you use a photogrammetry asset, a CAD designed or handcrafted model is up to you. In order to use PBR texture images this model needs to have an UV-Map. To grasp the concept of UVs think of a printed papercraft design that you cut out, fold and glue together. You now have a 3D model. Reverse this process and you end up with a paper that you can draw on. Or in this case, a plane that you can project PBR textures onto.

As you can see, preparing a proper UV-Layout for your asset is necessary to achieve realism inside augmentable. After adjusting the UVs and finalizing the to-be materialized asset, you will have to create texture images that suit real time specifications. In this case augmentable is using the .GLB (GLTF-Khronos) and Apple .USDz (based on Pixar's USD) format to visualize photorealistic assets. 

Keep in mind that depending on your final specifications these settings might change.

With Substance Painter you can import your asset into the software and start creating your textures. By creating surface details, textures and masks you can paint a full fledged photorealistic asset.

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