Hiding seams with tilable textures

Tutorial / 14 November 2021


So I've been going through techniques to hide seams on tree trunks and roots during using tilable textures on my art-streams (Tuesdays 8pm CET).

Here below is a snippet of what I'm doing in my own scene:
(you can find the progress videos on my patreon:  http://www.patreon.com/chrisradsby)

I thought it would be useful to write these techniques down for you guys so you could have a look and learn from it.

So usually the issue when you're working with tilable textures on organic shapes such as roots or trees you always end up with seams wherever the branches end up connecting to the main trunk.

Solution 01 - Adjusting the UVs to create a seamless look from particular angles

This technique is probably the most straight forward one.

Essentially it just means that you would have to strategically place the seams in and weld the UV shells together in areas so that the seam become less visible from certain angles. In this particular example above, the seams are actually above and below the branch, but the its perfectly seamless from the side, since the UVs are welded to the trunk UVs and then skewed in the direction of the bark (upwards) to slowly transition from the bark going upwards to the bark going up along the branch. 

Solution 02 - 2 UV sets and material blending

This technique uses two UV-sets. One main one which would be a regular unwrap of the whole trunk, adding seams where the branches connects to the trunk.

Then you do a second UV-set where the seams aren't placed in the same area as the first and vertex blend between the two to create a seamless result.

- where its black its using UV0 (where there are seams on your original unwrap)
- ie where red is painted its using UV1 (where there are no seams)

Here is a simple shader-graph to set this thinking up.

Solution 03 - Mesh Shell around the seams to hide the transition:

This technique requires that you first to the proper UVing and uwrapping of your mesh. Then after its done, you create a shell around the seams you want to hide.  Align the UVs of the Shell Mesh to go in a similar direction as your branch and vertex paint the edges of the mesh where you want the blend to happen.

This is a very straight forward technique and potentially easier to wrap your head around. Here above in the graph you can see the Mesh Shell Material, which is using the same Bark Material but also blends the result on the edges using vertex color (could be any color).

 I hope this was helpful and if you wish to support me in future tutorials or my art/game dev streams then you can do so here for 5-6 USD.