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[GTA:DE] - How PBR Textures Work


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Posted (edited)

In this extra tutorial, we will see a little more about the PBR textures used in GTA:DE. First of all, you need to understand what PBR is, I've put together this super explanatory article, so if you don't know how the textures work, read it before proceeding.

Unlike what we had in classic GTAs, the Unreal Engine uses a modern rendering workflow based on physically accurate materials. This means that models and textures use physical calculations to look good in any environment, time of day, brightness, etc. You can notice that the Diffuse/Albedo textures on these models are much flatter, they have no shading, because this is done by the engine itself. So when we convert a model for the game, it is essential that we also convert the appropriate texture maps.
We currently know that most textures in the game use the extensions "_BC", "_N" and "_P".



_BC are Diffuse textures, also commonly called Albedo. They contain the color information of the model, it is the most basic texture of the material. The "BC" is believed to refer to the compression method of the DXT textures (also known as Block Compression).


_N as you might imagine, are Normal Maps. They generate a shading on the model at no additional performance cost.




_P is a special kind of map, we don't know where the P came from, but we do know that it is composed of Metallic Map, Roughness Map and another kind of texture map that we don't know the name of yet, but it seems to be for delimiting the shader of the windows with false background on the map (Shader Map?). These 3 maps are separated in the RGB channels of the image, we can easily edit these channels with Photoshop or another image editor like GIMP.


Usually when you are going to convert a model that you didn't model (just ripped from some game or downloaded from the internet), it might not come with a Metallic Map or Roughness Map, so to generate these maps I use Materialize. It is a free program and very intuitive, it can generate all these texture maps I mentioned from the diffuse map.


But how do I create these textures _P?
It is quite simple really. As said before, each RGB channel is responsible for one of the texture maps, you simply isolate this material in Photoshop to edit it. Import your Metallic Map into Photoshop, press Ctrl+A to select everything and Ctrl+C to copy. Now open the diffuse map also in Photoshop and go to Channels, and select the Red channel (R) to isolate it (you will see that the eye icon has become active only in this channel) and Ctrl+V to paste! Now do the same for the Roughness Map on the green channel (G). And finally in the blue channel (B), just take a brush and paint everything white (#ffffff). Now just export your texture, it should look like the one in the image above, depending on how much metalness you have in it, it will be more pink or more blue.

If your model is too bright ingame, increase the brightness of the Roughness Map in the green (G) channel, this will make the texture less reflective.

Next Tutorial: How to Change the Colors of Materials

Back to the Tutorials Index

Edited by ThePedro004
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