A texture is an image applied to a 2D or 3D surface to give it color or additional visual detail. Textures applied to 3D models are frequently called skins. While textures are typically thought of in terms of their application to 3D geometry or models, the images used to create buttons and icons for a GUI are also often referred to as textures.
In the Source engine, a texture comprises the visible aspect of a material. These textures are generally created as TGA files, and then converted to the proprietary Valve Texture Format (VTF) for use in-game.
For a complete material, an additional file, the Valve Material Type (VMT) file, is required. A VMT is a text file which complements the texture (VTF) file and which informs the engine how the material should behave during gameplay. Shaders can also be applied to the texture using materials. For additional information about implementing textures in the Source engine, please refer to the material page.
The term texture map is a more precise term for a texture. Textures must eventually be applied to a surface consisting of pixel coordinates. The process of applying a texture to a surface in this fashion is known as mapping. There are a number of different types of mapping techniques used to produce different kinds of results. One or more of these techniques are typically applied to the same surface to produce the most realistic visual representation of a material possible.
Some of the more common types of texture maps are listed below:
For additional information about texture maps, see the article about Texture mapping at the Wikipedia.
Valid dimensions (in pixels)
Textures, to be valid for the Source engine, must have dimensions in the power of two:
1 2 4 8 16 32 64 128 256 512 1024 2048 4096
Tools and Plugins
- Genetica - A commercial seamless texture editor. Creates tiling textures of all material types.
- VTF Plug-in for Photoshop - adds VTF format support to Photoshop (6.0+).
- Texture mapping article at Wikipedia.