Wood ends up in a lot of different scenes and models. Knowing that we may need a wood material quite often how exactly do we create one in Blender?
To create a wood material in Blender, we can use premade wood image textures that we can find on several material libraries on the internet. We then use Blenders shader editor to setup the textures correctly.
In short, these are the steps we can take to create a wooden floor material.
If you are interested in creating a procedural wooden texture you can also take a look at this article.
Related content: How do you make procedural wood texture in Blender
In this guide we'll go over the process of setting up the material as well as a scene to view it. We will also go over a few ways of setting it up.
To easily visualize our material we will need an object to put the material on and lighting to get a better idea of how our material will look.
First we will create a plane that we can put our material on to visualize. This can be done by pressing Shift + A and go to Mesh -> Plane. We can also go to the add menu at the top of the 3D viewport and find Mesh -> Plane.
You may notice that by default our scene is a bit dark. We can make the scene more bright by either increasing the background brightness or add a light.
Related content: Setup a skybox using the sky texture in Blender
In our example we add a light object.
Related content: Blender: lighting basics tutorial
To add a light to the scene press Shift + A or go to the Add Menu then select Light -> Point. You can choose the Sun Light if you'd like to light the whole scene.
Select the Light and go to Properties -> Light Data and Increase the point light's intensity. Make the light bright enough so that we can see our plane.
We can also adjust the position of the light by tapping G and moving our cursor to give the light a better spread.
There are a few sources we can get textures from but for this guide we will be using AmbientCG.
External Content: AmbientCG - Wood Floor
Unzip the file using your favorite unzipping software and place the content in your project folder or in a local library.
You can find additional material libraries in this article.
Related content: Top 10 material libraries for Blender artists
The resolution you should choose will depend on your needs.
It's important to note that texture resolutions 4K and upwards can get very memory intensive and take longer to load. Unless you need the higher resolution I recommend sticking to 1K-2K.
You can also download the lower resolutions first and use them while working. When you plan to render your scene you can swap them out with the higher resolutions textures where needed.
To setup the wood shader we will need to import our textures into Blender and connect them to the inputs of the Principled BSDF shader.
First we will import our textures, to do this select the object that we are going to add the material to and add a material if you have not already.
Go the Shading Workspace and then press Shift + A or go to Add -> Search and type in Image Texture. With an image texture added we can press open on the new node and then use the file dialog to browse to one of our textures.
Add an Image Texture for the Color, Roughness, and Normal and set the Roughness Color Space to linear and the Normal Color Space to Non-Color. Note that Normal texture come in DirectX and OpenGL Formats. For Blender use the OpenGL format.
The difference here is that the green channel is flipped, so if you ever have the wrong normal map, flip the green color channel to convert between the two.
Connect the Color texture to the Principled BSDF Base Color Input and Connect the Roughness Texture to the Principled BSDF Roughness Input.
For the Normal Texture add a normal map node and connect the Normal Texture to the Normal Map Color and the Normal Map output to the Principled BSDF Normal input.
For a more In-depth explanation of PBR materials check out this article.
Related content: What is PBR and how do we use it in Blender?
We can also add a few nodes to adjust the scale of a texture without having to adjust the UV Maps.
First we will add a texture coordinate node as well as a mapping node. Connect the Texture Coordinate UV output to the Mapping node vector input and connect the vector output to the vector input of the color, roughness and normal.
We can now use the scale values to adjust the scale of our texture. This can be handy for the example texture used as it does not come in a square aspect ratio. We could adjust the UVs directly.
Related content: The definitive tutorial to UV mapping in Blender
Depending on the material we may want to give it a more weathered or worn look. For our wood material we could add smudges or scratches or both.
While we could download a texture that has these details baked in we won't get as much customizability and the underlying wood material may not be the one we'd like to use.
AmbientCG has a couple of these textures so we'll be using them for our examples.
External Content: AmbientCG - Surface Imperfections
External Content: AmbientCG - Scratches
Add an Image Texture for both the Smudges and Scratches and use the file browser to set the images for each.
For the Scratches Normal Maps use the OpenGL version. For the Roughness Image Texture set the Color Space to Linear and for the Normal Image Texture set the Color Space to Non Color.
Now we will mix these texture with our wood textures. Create two mixRGB nodes and for the first connect the wood roughness to input 1 and the smudge roughness to input 2. On the second mix node connect the wood normal to input 1 and the scratches normal to input 2.
Connect the roughness mix to the Principled BSDF roughness input and connect the normal mix to the Normal Map node color input. For the roughness mix set the blending mode to lighten. For the normal mix set the blending mode to soft light.
We can now use the mix factors of each mix node to control how scratched or smudged the wood material is.
Now that we have our wood material we can adjust it until we're happy with it. Since the underlying wood texture, smudges, and scratches are all separate we can replace each one and mix and match whatever textures we would like.
With our basic example we can already adjust how scratched and dirty the wood looks. With a few more nodes we can make our wood material heavily customizable.
Having an example of how to setup a basic wood shader is a helpful starting point for building a wide range of materials that suite our needs. Knowing the basic node setup is also handy when we just need a quick and easy wood material.
Thanks for your time.