In this article we take a look at the top places to find textures for your 3D art projects that you can use for free.
Here are the top four high quality free texture sites:
Scroll down for a complete list of all the 32 texture libraries.
For top tire paid 3D assets and textures, check out these sites.
In the table below you will find a direct link to each site. You will also find a link to a license page that I found for the site so that you can quickly find out if textures from the site is usable in your project.
The texture type column in the table below refer to the kind of textures available for free. Some sites have all required texture maps for a PBR material available for free while others only have regular image textures.
I have also included sites that are not primarily textures sites, but I have found that pretty often, regular images can also be great to use to texture in 3D scenes.
For regular images, we can use a tool like sandripper to extract flat textures.
External content: Sandripper
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Further below the table you can find additional information about each texture library. You can also check out 3Dassets.one where you can search multiple of the texture sites below at once.
|wdt_ID||Name||Name||Texture types||License||Paid premium options||Notes||Requires account|
|11||Substance 3D||Substance 3D||PBR||License||Yes||Requires processing through Substance player||Yes|
If you are not familiar with how to use textures in Blender, you can start here:
Related content: How to add a texture to an object in Blender
You may also find that some UV mapping can be useful. In that case, you can learn all about it here:
Related content: The definitive tutorial to UV mapping in Blender
With AmbientCG we step into the PBR texture category where we are provided complete 3D materials ready for a PBR workflow in most modern render engines. AmbientCG has been providing great quality textures and materials for years and have a huge variation with everything from the common brick, marble, concrete and wood materials to things like overlays, finger print textures and alpha masked foliage.
A great source for finding textures. AmbientCG is also behind the initiative at 3Dassets.one.
Blenderkit is a Blender add-on. Most if not all materials in their library is either cc0 or royalty free. The add-on used to come bundled with Blender but lately it has been removed. To my understanding this is due to some restrictions put on bundled add-ons that has now been lifted and it is easier for them to develop the service at their own pace.
A great places to quickly get a lot of good quality materials and textures into your 3D scenes.
Together with Blenderkit, Polyhaven, and AmbientCG, CGBookcase is my absolut favorite place to get textures and materials.
They have high quality textures with the most permissive license possible. In the CGBookcase library you will also find a lot of textures that you won't find elsewhere. For example a whole collection of road textures and road markings. They also have an extensive list of alpha masked leaf textures and other foliage.
Polyhaven. The king of textures, hdri images and lately even 3D models. This is a fantastic site that started as hdrihaven and grew into texturehaven and modelhaven. Now all of these are merged into polyhaven.
Greg zaal has made an amazing job with this site together with his team. Rob Tuytel is in charge of the texturehaven part with his amazing dedication to photo scanning.
If you need top tire quality textures, this is the place to go.
A decently sized library of PBR textures with all maps needed for complete materials if you wish. About average quality amont the sites that offer PBR textures on this list. Nothing special but hey, it is free and what is there not to like about that?
Most materials seems to be made from Substance designer and they also offer SBSAR files that you can open using Substance Player. A free software that you can use to open, tweak and export these files to image textures.
3DTextures has some really nice textures in their library, but unfortunately only 1k textures are available in the free tire. To access higher resolution you need to be a patron supporter.
Never the less, it is a small library with some interesting textures available that would fit well in alot of 3D art projects.
This is more of a PBR material library, but that goes hand in hand with textures many times. When you download from their site you get a blend file that contains a Cycles shader node setup.
If you need these material in another software you could bake them to textures and use elsewhere.
Related content: How to bake textures in Blender
A pretty large library that has been around for a while but doesn't seem to get updated a lot. Last blog update was in 2020 at the time of this writing.
But still, textures and materials don't get worse with time even if the world around might run past.
Worth checking out.
This site has about 400 PBR texture sets available free for download. The license is a bit vague, but my interpretation would be that you need to pay a small fee for commercial use. But I am not a lawyer so don't take my word for it.
Anyway, most textures seems to be 2k in size. Completely fine for most projects in my opinion.
Another gem worth checking out for sure.
Icons8 was another new site for me as I set out to research for this article. They have a very convenient one click button to download all of their textures. Something that isn't very common. Most texture sites don't encourage bulk downloading. Instead they want you to come back.
I think Icons8 has a really nice texture library. They also have quite good variation amont the other assets they offer.
Very much worth checking out in my opinion, but there is one caveat. They for a link if you use their assets, not unreasonable at all, but it can still be annoying because there is always some vagueness around how you should link when it is required. Also sometimes it is not feasible to link at all depending on the nature of your project.
Chocofur's texture library is really nice because they take a kind of middle way approach. They have high quality textures but encourage you to generate the PBR maps needed from fewer texture maps to conserve resources on your computer.
I think this is a really smart way of working with textures in larger 3D scenes. You can often get away with much less than you may think.
A highly recommended library that is still quite limited in what kinds of textures it offers.
Link: Substance 3D
As most 3D artists know by now, the Substance suite was acquired by Adobe. The formerly named Substance source library is still available and it is a really high quality set of materials. To get textures from this library though you need at least an account and Substance Player to be able to export textures.
The library is primarily paid and part of Adobes 3D suite offering, But there is also a healthy amount of free substances in the library.
This texture library has been around since forever it seems. They have a huge variety of textures. Both in quality and quantity. It would be hard to not find what you are looking for here.
Their free offering comes in the form of limited daily downloads in low resolution. But the sheer amount of textures available makes it worth checking out.
While this is primarily a paid service, they still provide a good amount of high quality textures for free that you can check out.
If you are going to spend money on textures, I would say that Poliigon is probably one of the best places you can go. Very affordable and high quality. Once you have bought a texture set it is yours forever and you can download it from their site multiple times even if your subscription has expired.
Start by checking out their free collection and create something awesome!
This is a bit of a newcomer. At least for me who didn't know about this site until I did my research for this article. While the website could use some work and a facelift, the content is really nice. It seems like most material are made using Substance Designer. A common theme for a lot of the sites on this list that provide PBR quality textures.
Textureninja is the perfect texture library when you need something quick and simple and you don't want to worry about license problems. All textures on this site is under cc0 license and be used how you like.
There are no PBR materials available here but there is still a lot of variation and unique textures available. Highly recommended if you are not in need for full PBR sets.
Duion has an older interface and some of the textures have problems like being less sharp at the edges or some chromatic aberration. But if you are looking for textures for background props or something that you didn't find elsewhere Duion might just be worth a look.
All textures are cc0 licensed and there are both post-processed textures and raw texture photos available along with a library of more normal photos.
This is another older site but it is easy to navigate and has clear categories to browse through. The available textures are a bit lower resolution than other sites since it is an older library and there are no PBR textures.
The site also doesn't have a cc0 license but still allows both commercial and personal use. Another oddity is that it does not have a SSL certificate and therefore is not considered secure.
But still there are plenty of textures available and the site is snappy to browse with some categories that I couldn't find elsewhere.
As the name suggest this texture site is primarily aimed at Sketchup users, but there is nothing stopping Blender users from getting in on the action. In the free collection they provide primarily diffuse textures or base color textures but there are also other maps available if you pay.
I find the textures here to be most useful when you don't necessarily need realism, but perhaps textures that just show what material a surface should be.
This is one of the sites that I couldn't find any license related information for so it is hard to know what you are allowed to use these textures for. Personally I would not go past personal projects.
The library is probably the one I have used the least on this list since the library mostly consist of low resolution and way zoomed in images.
I am sure that there are uses for it out there but for most 3D projects, this is not the first place on this list that I would visit.
3DXO is the second site on this list that doesn't have a license page that I could find but on each asset it says "free for privat use", so I would assume that no commercial use cases. That still leaves us with a lot of use cases for any personal projects.
In terms of quality I think this site is on par with other texture sites that doesn't offer the full PBR sets. Very much like Textureninja or Texturer for example.
However those sites have more permitting licenses.
The last site in the texture category that primarily offer color maps or raw image textures. This one is a pretty large collection with good variety. You can find a lot of the usual kinds of textures like brick, plaster, wood etc. But also leather textures, wallpaper patterns and art painting textures.
Their license permit personal use only.
From here we are looking at more general stock image services. But using images as textures is as old as texturing itself. At this point, it feels like Pixabay has been around for just as long.
If you haven't heard of Pixabay, it is primarily a free stock photo library. But you can easily find images in their library that could fit awesome into your 3D project. The library is vast, with countless images in all sorts of categories.
Use as background, textures, or perhaps to light a scene?
Unsplash is quite similar to Pixabay, that it offers a huge library of free stock images. If you try to search for textures in their library you will find plenty of images that could be used as masking textures or to create abstract effects.
It can be really inspiring to just search through and look at different textures and think about how they could be used. Another highly recommended source.
Another one of those well known free stock photo sites. Among the stock image kind of libraries this is probably the one I personally use the most. I think the site is easy to navigate and has some really nice quality images.
I have used it for both backgrounds and occasionally texture a background prop.
I think I only used this service once. But it is a nice site with a good library. The free images are marked with a tag so that you can easily distinguish between them and the premium images they offer. You don't need an account if you just want to use the free images. But if you find what you are looking for among the premium images, that is also an option.
At this point, most of these sites offer the same thing. Gratisography however still manages to fill a role no other site does. They have a more funky library with some stuff you wont find anywhere else. While I find it less useful overall it can still be inspirational to just have a look around.
Or for those occasions when you do need something quite different, this is the place to go. You can also tell that it isn't your usual stock photo site by looking at the design of the site.
In terms of finding images for use as textures it is probably one of the least useful sites on this list.
On this site there are a suprising number of images that could be used as textures. Quite a bit of detailed close up shots and scattered around the otherwise quite stock feely images on the site.
For free it is well worth checking out if you can't find what you are looking for on the more well known entries on this list.
While stockvault require you to have an account, it is worth your time to create one because they have some really nice close up, especially of flowers and foliage. There are also some really nice images that could be used as reference or inspiration.
This is more of a travel and nature focused library. Not so much for texturing, but still, if you need a background or similar you might just be able to find it here. There is no requirement to create an account, but there is a premium option for those that are willing to pay or support the site.
They also have a paid option to simply download all pictures.
I found pickwizard to be a bit slower than the average site on this list. They do have an occasional sky image that could be used as a background texture, but in most of their library there is a lot of people in most photos.
For 3D work, I think this is less ideal, but if you need something like that, this is the place to check out. No requirement to create an account.
Visiting this library gives the impression that color is really important. Just by scrolling you can easily find images that fit well together. There are also quite a bit of alpha masked images in here that could be used in a 3D scene. Either as a mask or some detail or other kind of texture.
Rawpixel do require you to create an account and there is also a paid alternative.
This site is a bit too minimalistic for my taste. It seems like you have to search for something in order to start to browse.
Appart from that, they do have some really nice images in their library and a lot of the material can definitely be used in a 3D scene.
They also have quite a bit of icons available. Something that I think is underused by 3D artists.
That is quite a list! But if you still haven't found what you are looking for despite all these free textures, I can suggest that you start to look at paid alternatives or some of the premium alternatives offered by some of the sites above.
All in all I think that we are absolutely spoiled in this day and age with the amount of free digital assets available.
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Thanks for your time