The post where I try to make vinyl siding interesting

After touching up the bench and picnic table, Eric listed a bunch of surfaces and objects all around the island that needed an overhaul. The first of these was the siding on the buildings.

This siding texture is one of several out-of-the-box materials from the asset pack that Eric used to make the house. It has the full set of PBR maps you expect from modern material (normal, height, etc.). But the resolution is only 1K, so I started looking into photosourcing siding textures from the same places that I’ve collected reference shots. For example, there is this storage shed at the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad.

After a few days of figuring out the distance at which to take the shot, waiting until the weather was overcast (so I have as few lighting artifacts as possible), and learning how to make tileable textures in GIMP, I wound up with the texture that is currently on the local newspaper office.

This building is not a single mesh with a couple UV mapped materials. Eric put them together in editor with pieces from the aforementioned asset pack. That’s fine for now, but I’ll have to come back to most of these houses and clean them up. There is some very clear z-fighting on these buildings as is. The main focus in this stage is improving the texturing while preserving the unique look of a fictionalized Peaks Island.

I liked the new texture, but making it involved creating a 2048×2048 square from the photo. I’d like to have something at a higher resolution like 4096×4096. A DSLR camera is out of my budget right now, so I started to look at photostitching apps to see if I could combine several photos and grab a chunk from that. Most solutions are for panoramas and not texture creation, but I did look at Lightroom Classic’s photo merge functionality. I had the problem several people have posted about on Adobe’s support site, where the merge will stop at 60%. When I try to update Lightroom, the install hangs at around 47%. I hear you can contact Adobe support and ask for download links to the installers, but this was taking too long, so I went back to Substance Share for something I could tweak to my liking.

There’s aren’t many siding materials on Substance Share, but Substance Source (“Wood Siding White Painted”) and proved to be very helpful. Eric told me that the siding on Peaks Island is about 50/50 wood and vinyl. While the Substance Source material handled the wood siding, the material, while not including any ends of boards where one piece of siding would have been cut off in the real world, worked well enough for the vinyl.

With these two materials picked out, it was a pretty straightforward process to pick a house to retouch, grab the color of the siding from the original texture, decide on the amount of wear, grunge, and how bumpy I wanted the wood grain, get the final texture maps into Unity, and replace the material.

Fortunately for my hardware store hallucinations, I’ve replaced nearly all of the wooden/vinyl siding. and I’m done with brick siding too. I’m going to switch back to objects with UV maps that I can edit in Blender in future posts.

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