World Surface Scans (WSS) guide

The world surface scan (WSS) library is designed to provide the most valuable PBR resources for making Character props / assets and small environment assets.

With this library, everything is almost ready to go. You don't need to clean all the maps before starting your work.This helps you be more efficient with your time, be more flexible and highly accurate since all the maps you need such as Albedo, Specular, Roughness (derivated), Cavity, Bump, Height and Normal maps are captured / provided.

Because most Artists have their own workflows/approaches/preferred tools for doing texturing work, we came up with the idea to provide the most complete material packages ever.

There aren't workflow or tool dependant, we provide texture maps in image format tif, not binary/locked files. No subscription required.

What's inside a pack?

Raw scan : The cleaned raw surface, ready to project. Best to use those maps for a projection workflow.

Mutation* :  These are new maps automatically generated / synthesized from the raw scan data using Artomatix software; the AI based art creation platform. These maps are seamless and contains features from the raw scan data but re-imagined.

Seamless : This is simply a tileable version of the raw scan data, created using Artomatix software. Great to use as a base on your software, Adobe Substance Painter/Designer, Quixel Suite, Foundry Mari, Adobe Photoshop or even inside your renderer (Procedural Shading Network approach).

Alpha : 32bit height alphas for sculptors, with maps size from 2k to 4k. To use the maps properly inside of Zbrush, please follow the instructions.

*Available in some packages, please read carefully the description before making a purchase.

To summarize, what you get in a pack is a new generation of scanned textures, ready to go, with many ways to use them and for everyone.

Like any images, you could edit them using your 2D software packages such as Photoshop or Affinity Photo before use if you want. Then you can go ahead and start working with the maps, using your preferred workflow.

Zbrush Alpha Import :

  • Open the Alpha Tab and press Import
  • Select the alphas, press open.
  • Expand the modify tab (under alpha and create tabs)
  • Set the MidValue to 50 (without this setting, the alphas won't work)
  • Select the stroke "DragRect" from the left menu
  • Tweak the Z Intensity slider (depends on the scan), the size and so on..
  • Start sculpting with endless possibilities and flexibility!

If you are a sculptor the alphas will give you the freedom to sculpt things quickly that would be almost impossible to recreate by hand. As you can see in the video, everything is transitioning smoothly, It even becomes really hard to see where the starting point was.

Working with Adobe Substance Painter :

Adobe Substance Painter is the recommended software if you want to project "all" maps at once as a material onto your 3d model. Even more, you can project multi-materials and layered materials. It takes a minute to setup and you are ready to go!

Please refer to their tutorial section if you want to know more about Substance Painter :

Working with Mari :

Mari isn't (at the moment) a material painting software. It handles only a projection at a time. There is actually a small (but limited) workaround depending on what you are looking for and what you want to achieve. The next major version of Mari will allow the material projection.

Here is a short video showing how to use the Tri-planar function when working with seamless textures with multiple maps :

  • Mostly like a procedural workflow, simply create a triplanar layer (add procedural layer -> projection -> triplanar projection) for the textures you want to apply onto your model.
  • Drag and drop the same texture for each triplanar on all component (top, side, bottom view..).
  • Play with the world scale to change the texture scale, you can also change the "front angle" for rotating the projection. Make sure that all triplanar have the same settings, so everything will 100% match.

  • To go just a bit further, you can "Art direct" the projections by grouping the triplanars and add a mask stack layer.
  • You can start to add into the mask stack a paint layer to decide where you want the material to be visible or not.
  • Also, you can play with all the procedural layers available inside of Mari.

If you are interested to project only relief information, then you can use the Cavity, Bump and Height using the RGB (also known as channel packing) map workflow.

All you have to do is prepare your RGB map before the projection : 

Download this Action script for Photoshop 2017 and above.

Download the Nuke script. 

Then simply project the exported map like any image in Mari.

Tips :

Be open-minded!

When you look at a material like this, you are probably wondering what you could do with it :

This is where you have to be open-minded, look at what we could do in a minute inside of Zbrush :

 As you can see, we simply took this destroyed plaster scan (yes, it's not a tree bark !) and turned it into something that could be used for a terrain, but also as an impressive organic/alienish thing.

Surprisingly this is appearing with many of our scans when sorted from their context, which makes the library even more versatile and powerful.

Re-Colour any albedo image

Depending on the final look you want to achieve for your project, sometimes you really need to change the Albedo by adding variations or simply tweak the palette. Most leather, fabrics, winkles, wood could benefit of this trick, really powerful and easy to setup:

  • First, open an albedo map inside of Photoshop
  • Duplicate the background layer
  • Desaturate the image (ctrl+shift+u)
  • Apply an high pass with a high value (150-200)
  • Then create a Solid Color in Hard light mode
  • Start tweaking the color to get a uniform palette
  • For more control and flexibility, create a gradient map instead of the Solid Color
  • Change the two color options for the black/white point, and if you want even more variations, simply add more colors in between.
  • Download this Action script for photoshop 2017 and above.

If you are working in VFX and don't have access to Photoshop because you're on Linux, then we ported the same workflow inside of nuke :

Download the Nuke script.

Combining the Cavity, Bump and Height in Maya / Arnold :

More and more users having an access to this library are using the packs directly inside the renderer for the lookdev stage.

This shading network-based approach is by far the most flexible and versatile one when it comes to get something quickly and visually appealing. Like any nodal based system, you could add other nodes on top to get the results you want.

To combine the three relief maps available in a pack directly into your object displacement :

  • Download and Import this file.
  • Connect the displacementShader to your material shading group
  • Replace the texture files path, Image Name (cavity, bump & height)
  • Make sure to set the Color Space on all maps to Raw
  • On your objectShape / Displacement Attributes, set the Scalar Zero Value to 0 (should be the default) and tick on the Auto Bump
  • Make sure to set the Type to Catclark with some iterations in the objectShape / Subdivision tab, so the primary and secondary can fully rely on the polys displacement.
  • You are ready to go ! Now you can tweak the Cavity,Bump,Height weight on the fly !
  • If you want to add more depth (if your height blend is already set to 1), you can increase the Height value directly inside the object shape / Displacement Attributes.

This guide is updated from time to time, we do not intend to provide support on it as we only provide maps and not software. However, if you want to add your contribution to help the community with a video showing a workflow or tip(s), feel free to contact us!

Like any other packages on website, you could make an order for a personal use or commercial business use. Please read our Terms of Service for more information.