When put next to each other horizontally or vertically, these textures provide the illusion of one continuous pattern. Very good tiling textures are those that do not appear to be multiplied over a surface. One texture by itself provides so much randomness that even when tiled multiple times, it still looks as if it one, big, unique texture pattern.
I will be attempting to learn how to create these properly and make them look very appealing at the same time.
I've chosen 3DMotive's Tileable Textures with ZBrush tutorial package to help me understand the very basics. The good thing about these tutorials is that they not only touch the 3DSMax side of the work, but the very artistic, ZBrush/scultping phase as well.
My goal was to create a tileable brick pattern. This is the blockout I have created + showing it tiled:
Some people would say that this is far too much attention being invested into a task that can be achieved much much faster through Photoshop and some various other tools... and they would be right. Creating tiling textures can be done from pure real life photos in a matter of minutes, but I have a different goal.
What I have noticed is that there is only a handful of artists whose work really stand out. There is an "elite" group of people who make their art look a bit more than what is expected. They are regarded as very talented people and this can be true to a certain degree, but I believe their is more to it. I see these artists invest crazy amount of time in tasks that other resolve through "shortcuts".
This extra attention and detail you add to the very building blocks of your scenes in the end makes your work stand out from the rest, plus it might even make you finish faster, because you won't have to be doing a lot of polishing and clean up work, because you've built everything perfectly from the get go.
This is the mentality I've chosen to follow and believe in, hence I do not regret spending 1-2 days on a tiling texture as in the end, I might be saving up headaches and time.. plus.. its fun!
When the bricks were set up in a random manner and also to tile, I've imported them into ZBrush for sculpting + basic paint.
The goal here was not to spend days on perfecting colors and other significant details to texturing, but to understand the workflow and the important aspects of tileable texture creation.
All this detail eventually ends up as a 2D texture, which will be applied to a simple plane. Once the color and the normal map is applied as well, the plane will look like a bunch of bricks that actually take up 3D space.
Here is the texture tiled, the normal map:
The texture applied to a plane in Marmoset game engine: