Just over the last year or so the available texture sites and their quality has just exploded. I used to photograph my own textures and generate the different texture maps that you need for a complete shader.
I find myself doing that less and less since so much is already available on the internet. A lot of it is also completely free and even released under the cc0 license, meaning that you are free to do what you want with them and you don’t even need to give attribution if you don’t want to.
Let’s start with the free resources that I use and then I will list some paid ones that I have found myself using quite a lot as well. Further down are the software recommendations.
Texture sites with free or cc0 textures
Note that I can’t keep up with license changes on these sites so you will have to double check the licensing so that it works with your intended use.
Textures.one – The best place to start at the moment, it is like a texture search engine, searching through a set of the texture sites below as well as some smaller collections.
Texturehaven.com – This site has excellent texture quality made from 3D scans. All cc0 and a historical theme. Searchable through textures.one.
cc0Textures.com – This site is a goldmine for anyone need textures for most kind of scenes and architecture visualization. Searchable through textures.one.
cgbookcase.com – Same as above, a growing texture library of high-quality cc0 textures. Searchable through textures.one.
sharetextures.com – Slightly newer site than the above ones but you can find some good textures here. Some textures require you to join the patreon page for access. Searchable through textures.one.
3Dtextures.me – To me, this is a newer site but has one of the highest quality overall. Searchable through textures.one.
Chocofur – Got high-quality textures only requirement is to create an account to download them. They also have a nice 3D model collection under the cc0 license.
VirtualShade – Varying license between cc0 and cc-by. Even if the collection is quite small, what’s there has excellent quality.
Texture.ninja – A large collection of image textures. Only photos, no texture maps. But the size of the library makes it worth to check out.
Duion.com – This is a library of cc0 textures. Mostly photos that are taken to be used as textures, not properly prepared to be seamless or anything though, so they may need some work depending on how you plan to use them.
3D-wolf.com – just a handful of textures on the page, but at the bottom, they have a link to a larger library of textures on a Google Drive repository.
hdrihaven.com – There is only one hdri resource that I use.
Paid texture libraries
I have found that if you are looking for something very specific, it is often easier and quicker to find it in a paid library for some reason.
Therefore, I have subscribed to multiple paid texture sites during different periods to have quick access to what I need. If you are working on commercial projects it may save you a lot of time.
Textures.com – A true and texted texture site that has been around for ages. Formerly known as cgtextures.com. They have mostly imaged based textures but their library is constantly growing. Today they have a large collection of PBR materials, sculpt brushes and other assets as well. A very complete library.
Poliigon.com – For anyone in the Blender sphere this is probably as well known as textures.com. From the creator of Blenderguru, Andrew Price, this site has a huge collection of very high quality assets and mostly textures. Very good resource and well worth to pay for. There are some free resources that you can try out as well. However, the site has become more and more expensive as time has passed. At the same time more and more cc0 sites pop-up left and right and their quality always increase. Still, at this point I recommend this site.
Most of my texturing work comes from asset libraries and then I tweak the materials inside Blender’s shader editor. However, sometimes you just want or need another tool for the job. For instance, you might have the perfect surface that you just want to photograph and convert to a material. Or the exact material that you are looking for is not available and needs to be created in some way.
Either way, here is a roundup of a few applications that can help with the texture work. I have used all of them at one point or another and sometimes come back to them.
Quixel – Before I used the substance suite quite a bit, but since Quixel released their new lightweight software Mixer, I have started to rely on that for texture work. It is currently in beta and free to use. Once it hits release though, you will need a subscription. But they have revised their subscription not too long ago and is definitely at a competitive price point with Megascans included. My go-to choice for sure.
Substance 3D – Still the most well knows texturing suite out there. It is very capable and nothing really comes close to Substance Designer at this point. For me though, it takes too long to author materials in it. It can turn into a full time job. If you are really into texturing procedural there is no other option right now. I guess the second closest thing is Blender at this point. Quixel still relies on ready-made assets, but for me it is one or the other since they overlap too much.
ArmorPaint – is kind of the runner-up here. It is a texture paint application that is definitely worth your time. It is open source, but you have to build it yourself. You can also support the project by buying download access to the binary files. The price is super low and it gets updated regularly. It is not the software I would turn to for mission critical tasks but for hobby work, it is more than enough, and very fun to work with.
Materialize – This is the app I use for photos that I want to turn into materials. Frankly I don’t know what half the sliders in this program does, but adjusting them turns my photos into pretty decent materials most of the time. It is also open source and free to download. Nothing to lose here.