Genetica by Spiral Graphics is a standalone texture editor with rendering and mapping capabilities that is quite powerful after a little bit of a learning curve. It utilizes node methods to allow you to apply effects, transforms,filters, and much more to your source image or texture. The software also comes with many textures and ways to generate procedural textures, but for my first guide with Genetica, let's use it to make a seamless texture from a photograph of some grass. Not too hard, but often hard to make look good.
Open up Genetica and you are greeted with the typical blank screen for a new texture. The first thing we need is our source image. The best way I have found to import an image into Genetica is to go to File - Open... and select the drop down to allow image extensions and browse for your image. You should now have your imported image as a node:
Importing our Stock Image into Genetica
This photograph of grass did not have the most even lighting conditions, so lets run the image through an Equalize filter. Right-click the image node and navigate to Insert Below - Color - Equalize. This will add a node in series below the source node with the equalization performed:
Adding an Equalize Node to Even Out the Image
To fine-tune any node, click on it for its associated settings and adjustments. At this point, I felt my grass source image was too bright, so I right-clicked my equalize node and inserted a Change HSB (Hue, Saturation, and Brightness) under the Color menu. I used this node to darken the image and increase the color saturation a little:
Adjusting the Image's Hue, Saturation, and Intensity
Performing image processing to clean up the image is nice, but now let's make it seamless. Genetica has a few different ways to do this. So far, the best method I've found (maybe not the best) is to right-click your node, click Insert Below - Advanced - Synthesis. The Texture Synthesis dialog will pop up with an assortment of settings. The first thing to do is to select 'Use Input' so that we use our input node for this tool. The grass now pops in, ready to be made seamless. The Layer Type can be changed between a few methods: Patches, Blend Synthesis, Repeating Pattern, and Color. For our grass, we will use Patches since Blend Synthesis' blending techniques seem to make our sharp blades too blurry in areas. Using the patch method, patches can be added and removed to different areas of the image. Here I used it to cover some prominent blades of grass that were too noticeable with some from another part of the image:
Using Texture Synthesis to Make our Texture Seamless
When satisfied, click OK. Now you can right-click your final node and select Render Branch. It may take a few seconds but in the results tab, you should now have a rendering of your seamless texture. Click Export in the top right to save your texture as a Jpeg or other image format:
Exporting our Finished Seamless Texture to a Jpeg
All done! We can do some fine tuning in Adobe Photoshop or Gimp with the Clone brush to remove dirt or grass that stands out too much if needed. Genetica seems to be a great little piece of software that I plan to continue learning!
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