How to BLEND TEXTURES in Blender with NODES

Introduction ‚ÄĒ What are we going to do?

In this arti­cle we are going to see how to com­bine two tex­tures in Blender to apply them to the same mate­r­i­al using nodes, this is going to be a some­what exten­sive arti­cle but with quite inter­est­ing con­tent, we will see step by step how to go from a stan­dard plane as in the image on the left to the result of the image on the right, in which two tex­tures have been com­bined, a rock brick floor with a mud tex­ture that is applied most­ly in the spaces between the rocks, all this in a pro­ce­dur­al way.

3d model of a plane on which a material with combined textures will be applied in blender
two combined textures based on a noise pattern in Blender.

Download .Blend file with implemented nodes

Textures from this example

If you want to fol­low the pro­ce­dure step by step here are the images I used. Right click and save the images.

CHECK OUT THIS CRAZY EXPERIMENT

Initial configuration of the model and material

We start with the stan¬≠dard plane in fig¬≠ure 1 and cre¬≠ate a mate¬≠r¬≠i¬≠al for it.

3d model of a plane on which a material with combined textures will be applied in blender
Fig. 1: To com¬≠bine tex¬≠tures in Blender let's start with a plane.
material creation window for 3D model in blender
Fig. 2: We cre¬≠ate a mate¬≠r¬≠i¬≠al for the 3D model.

Configuration of the textures to be combined

With the object and the mate¬≠r¬≠i¬≠al select¬≠ed we open the Shad¬≠er Edi¬≠tor win¬≠dow to visu¬≠al¬≠ize the mate¬≠r¬≠i¬≠al nodes, we can see it in fig¬≠ure 3, by default a mate¬≠r¬≠i¬≠al in blender is cre¬≠at¬≠ed with the Shad¬≠er Prin¬≠ci¬≠pled BSDF, to have a very basic idea, a Shad¬≠er is like a code frag¬≠ment that will be exe¬≠cut¬≠ed in the graph¬≠ic card and that will deter¬≠mine how the 3D object will be seen on screen, it is not nec¬≠es¬≠sary to go deep¬≠er into the sub¬≠ject, Blender offers us the Shad¬≠er Edi¬≠tor to cre¬≠ate com¬≠plex Shaders in a visu¬≠al and intu¬≠itive way.

shader editor window to edit the shader of a material in blender
Fig. 3: We open a "Shad¬≠er Edi¬≠tor" win¬≠dow to work on the tex¬≠ture mix.

What we are going to do now is to load the two tex¬≠tures that we want to com¬≠bine, for that in the Shad¬≠er Edi¬≠tor win¬≠dow we press SHIFT+A to add a new node and click¬≠ing on "Search" we look for the "Image Tex¬≠ture" node and posi¬≠tion it to the left of the Prin¬≠ci¬≠pled BSDF node, the Image Tex¬≠ture node should look like in fig¬≠ure 5.

Window to add a node to the Shader.
Fig. 4: Win­dow for adding a node to the Shader.
image node for a material in blender
Fig. 5: An image node is added to the material.

As we are going to com¬≠bine two tex¬≠tures we will need two image nodes so we repeat the pre¬≠vi¬≠ous step and place the sec¬≠ond image next to the first one.

Two image nodes to combine textures in Blender
Fig. 6: Two image nodes for com­bin­ing tex­tures in Blender

Now we load both tex¬≠tures, for that we click on Open and in the pop¬≠up win¬≠dow we look for the tex¬≠tures we need.

texture loading on image nodes to combine textures in blender
Fig. 7: Tex¬≠tures are loaded in both nodes
Two image nodes to combine textures in Blender
Fig. 8: Both nodes have their respec­tive textures.

Blend Node Configuration ‚ÄĒ MixRGB

The next step is to add the node that will be in charge of mix¬≠ing the tex¬≠tures, press SHIFT+A and click on Search to look for the "MixRGB" node, which is shown in Fig¬≠ure 10, place it in the mid¬≠dle of the images and the Prin¬≠ci¬≠pled BSDF node.

window to search and add nodes in blender
Fig. 9: The win­dow to search for a node and add it is displayed.
rgb mix node to mix two textures in blender
Fig. 10: Search for the "MixRGB" node that will be used to com­bine the two textures.

The MixRGB node com¬≠bines two col¬≠ors, as in this case we have tex¬≠tures, what it will do is to com¬≠bine the col¬≠ors of each tex¬≠ture pix¬≠el by pix¬≠el accord¬≠ing to a mix¬≠ing fac¬≠tor, this fac¬≠tor can be a con¬≠stant or it can also be a black and white tex¬≠ture in which black rep¬≠re¬≠sents 0 and white rep¬≠re¬≠sents 1, being the grayscale all inter¬≠me¬≠di¬≠ate val¬≠ues. In fig¬≠ure 11 we see how to con¬≠nect the tex¬≠tures that we want to com¬≠bine to the mix node and in this we see the val¬≠ue "Fac" in 0.5, that is the mix fac¬≠tor, by default the tex¬≠tures will be mixed in a fac¬≠tor 50‚Äď50.

As shown in Fig¬≠ure 12 we con¬≠nect the out¬≠put of the MixRGB node to the col¬≠or input of the Shad¬≠er Prin¬≠ci¬≠pled BSDF.

connection of two image nodes to a rgb mix node to combine textures in Blender
Fig. 11: Both images are con¬≠nect¬≠ed to the blend¬≠ing node.
connection of the mix node output to the color input of the bsdf principled node in blender
Fig. 12: The out¬≠put of the mix node is con¬≠nect¬≠ed to the input of the base col¬≠or of the Shad¬≠er Prin¬≠ci¬≠pled BSDF.

First result of the mix of textures

To visu¬≠al¬≠ize the result we go to the View¬≠port and with the Z key we switch to "Mate¬≠r¬≠i¬≠al Pre¬≠view" or "Ren¬≠dered" mode, although for the lat¬≠ter we must take into account the light¬≠ing. As can be seen in Fig¬≠ure 13, the result is a 50‚Äď50 mix between both tex¬≠tures in all points equally.

3d model visualization modes in blender
Fig. 13: Switch to the "Mate­r­i­al Pre­view" view to dis­play the applied material.

If we take the fac¬≠tor to 0 the result is that the tex¬≠ture con¬≠nect¬≠ed to Color1 is com¬≠plete¬≠ly applied, as shown in Fig¬≠ure 15.

rgb mix node to mix two textures in blender
Fig. 14: The fac¬≠tor deter¬≠mines how the tex¬≠tures are com¬≠bined, we set the fac¬≠tor to 0.
mud texture applied to a plane in blender
Fig. 17: With the fac¬≠tor at 0 the mix¬≠ture results in the first image.

If we take the fac¬≠tor to 1 the result is that the tex¬≠ture con¬≠nect¬≠ed to Color2 is ful¬≠ly applied, as shown in Fig¬≠ure 17.

rgb mix node to mix two textures in blender
Fig. 16: We set the fac¬≠tor to 1.
brick texture applied to a plane in blender
Fig. 17: With the fac¬≠tor at 1 the mix¬≠ture results in the sec¬≠ond image.

Mixing textures using noise

Now what we are going to do is that the tex­ture mix is not homo­ge­neous through­out the space, we want that in some parts the brick tex­ture is more vis­i­ble and in oth­ers the mud tex­ture, an alter­na­tive could be to use a noise node, which gen­er­ates a ran­dom grayscale tex­ture to which you can con­trol cer­tain para­me­ters and gen­er­ate dif­fer­ent patterns.

In the Shad¬≠er Edi¬≠tor win¬≠dow press SHIFT+A and click on Search to find the "Noise Tex¬≠ture" node.

window to search and add nodes in blender
Fig. 18: Search¬≠ing for anoth¬≠er node to add.
noise node added in Blender
Fig. 19: We add the "Noise Tex¬≠ture" node.

We place the node in a com¬≠fort¬≠able place that allows us to con¬≠nect it to the mix¬≠ing node, we make the con¬≠nec¬≠tion as shown in fig¬≠ure 20.

connecting the output factor of a noise node to the input factor of an rgb mix node in blender
Fig. 20: The out¬≠put fac¬≠tor of the noise node is con¬≠nect¬≠ed to the input fac¬≠tor of the RGB¬≠Mix node.

In the mate¬≠r¬≠i¬≠al view you will notice the first results, how¬≠ev¬≠er I am going to add an inter¬≠me¬≠di¬≠ate bright¬≠ness and con¬≠trast node so that the grays of the noise tex¬≠ture are shift¬≠ed to white or black.

window to search and add nodes in blender
Fig. 21: Search¬≠ing for anoth¬≠er node to add.
brightness and contrast node added in blender
Fig. 22: We add a bright¬≠ness and con¬≠trast node.

The bright¬≠ness and con¬≠trast node is placed between the noise tex¬≠ture and the MixRGB node (Fig¬≠ure 25 shows how it is con¬≠nect¬≠ed). In this case I am going to increase the con¬≠trast a lot so that there are almost no grays, in fig¬≠ure 23 we see that it has the val¬≠ue 50.

brightness and contrast node in Blender.
Fig. 23: The bright¬≠ness node is placed between the noise and the RGB Mix node and the con¬≠trast is set to 50.

The result is that the mod¬≠el has some parts where the brick tex¬≠ture is applied and oth¬≠ers where the mud tex¬≠ture is applied, as shown in Fig¬≠ure 24, you can play a lit¬≠tle with the tex¬≠ture node para¬≠me¬≠ters shown in Fig¬≠ure 20 to see how the tex¬≠ture mix behaves. You can also com¬≠bine dif¬≠fer¬≠ent noise tex¬≠tures with dif¬≠fer¬≠ent scales to cre¬≠ate large areas of a tex¬≠ture that has micro details. How¬≠ev¬≠er we will leave it here and con¬≠tin¬≠ue with the final step.

two combined textures based on a noise pattern in Blender.
Fig. 24: Both tex­tures are com­bined accord­ing to the noise texture.

Mixing textures using another texture as a factor

What we want to do now is to use the rock brick tex­ture itself to deter­mine how to blend the tex­tures, note that con­ve­nient­ly it is a grayscale tex­ture in which the whiter areas are rock while the dark­er areas are the cracks, we are going to use this infor­ma­tion to make the mud tex­ture blend into the cracks of the brick texture.

For con¬≠ve¬≠nience we can select the brick tex¬≠ture node, dupli¬≠cate it with CTRL+D and posi¬≠tion it where the Noise Tex¬≠ture node was. As we are not going to use this image as if it were the col¬≠or of a mate¬≠r¬≠i¬≠al but as a fac¬≠tor we must change the "Col¬≠or Space" para¬≠me¬≠ter to "Non-Col¬≠or" as shown in Fig¬≠ure 25.

image node for a material in blender
Fig. 25: Now the noise node is changed to an image node with the brick tex­ture and the Col­or Space is marked as "Non-Col­or".

By adjust¬≠ing the val¬≠ues we can get a result like the one in Fig¬≠ure 26, in which the mud tex¬≠ture has been com¬≠bined with the rock tex¬≠ture in such a way that it appears most¬≠ly in the cracks of the rocks.

dos texturas combinadas basadas en un patrón de ruido en Blender.
Fig. 26: The mud tex¬≠ture is com¬≠bined with the brick tex¬≠ture where the brick cracks would be.

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