Texture mapping a wood floor

Hi, I can’t seem to find what I’m looking for so maybe this will help me and others.

What’s the easiest way to create a hardwood floor on a single surface with nice variance between the planks?

My two current methods are to create a nice looking texture in photoshop and apply it to a single surface. The second method is to create a separate surface for each plank, group them all into an overall surface, and use three or four materials and texture mapping to get a nice looking floor.

The problem is it’s time consuming to change the texture when a customer asks or the model starts to become quite cluttered with various tiled surfaces.

Here’s what I want to do. Have a single surface with multiple mapping channels in a nice looking arrangement for the planks. Channel 1 is top left, 2 is below to the right, 3 is top row again only to the right (you get the picture). Then I would be able to apply three or four materials to the single surface on the different channels and voila, a nice looking hardwood floor in a single surface. I’ve realized you can only apply one material to an object which spoils my idea. If this worked, I would have a single surface that didn’t have obvious tiling that would be fast to setup. I could reuse this intricately mapped surface on other jobs and just change the textures to suit. Is this possible? Or is there an easier way and I’m just overthinking this? Thanks

Hi @rkwill

I’ll try to explain one way - not saying it is the easiest. But perhaps something you can try to get the job done.

I made a polysurface and assigned a material to each face - you can do this by sub object selecting (ctrl + shift + left click) the face and then selecting a material on the object properties material tab.

Then I enabled multiple mapping channels for that polysurface and filled channels 1-3 with planar mappings.

Then adjusted the mappings by showing the mapping widget and using gumball to adjust the size and position.

Then from the Materials tab I opened the Color textures and made them use different mapping channel in order to control mapping of each texture independently.


So this is how it looks:

The model is here: PlankTest1.3dm (342.3 KB)

Hope this was helpful. Please, ask if you have any questions.

Best regards,

Thanks Jussi,
That is one of the methods I use to make these surfaces.

My customer consultations are typically live in Rhino and they often ask to change materials to see a comparable. What I do is have a second floor or tiled wall hidden and can show them a difference that way. Changing materials live is slower and doesn’t usually work well in the meeting. I’m too slow to do it impressively.

I wondered if there was a different way but it looks like we are doing it the same way!

If you could set up the floor using a single material then you could make the floor surface use material by layer and quickly switch the floor from one layer to another. But I’m not aware of any way to make this kind of thing possible with multiple materials.

Perhaps @andy can tell if this is somehow possible.

I had a chat with Andy about this and there is probably a better way for you to go. It is material snap shots. You can save multiple snaps shots of your materials and restore then from the Snapshots panel. The limitation here is that it works on model level so you can’t do it separately for example for floor and wall papers.

Here’s an example:
PlankTest_MaterialSnapShots.3dm (4.4 MB)

That’s a good tip! I’ve never used the snapshot panel before. It’s handy for quick switching between different options and much quicker than having multiple model files open. Thanks for that. I’m going to play around with that to see how I can use it in my workflow.

Hi @rkwill
Vray has this cool thing called Multi-sub-texture, which lets you randomly assign multiple textures to a group of objects (based on object ID’s). That way you assign a single material to all your objects (eg. floor boards), and it randomly applies one of any number of variations you have made inside that one material (can be totally different materials or simply variations in hue, saturation, contrast etc). Would love to see Rhino’s materials get a node based editor soon, making things like that possible :pray:

That sounds worth checking out. I want to look into V-Ray but haven’t got to it yet. Thanks!