Editing Materials on 3D Scans
Exploring possible options for changing and improving your 3D scan's textures.
Scenario—you have an amazing 3D scan with applied texture, but you'd like to take the materials up a level to really bring it to life. Where to start? In this post, we'll be walking you through a few possible options for two free software, Blender and Quixel Mixer.
We'll be starting with this 4K textured scan of a memorial Hot Wheels belt buckle in Blender 3.0. If you'd like to follow along with our example model, you can download it free on our Sketchfab.
Tip #1 - Adjusting Material in Blender 3.0
If you're just interested in making quick, simple changes to your scan's material— e.g. adjusting roughness, metallic, and specular properties— we recommend playing with the material settings in Blender.
Import your model into Blender with File > Import > select your model's file type > select your model. Make sure your model is selected in the Outliner (located in the upper right corner of the screen).
With your mouse hovering over the model in your 3D Viewport, hit 'z' and then '2' on your keyboard to change the shading view to Material Preview. You should see your 3D scan with its applied texture now. If the texture is missing, follow the instructions here to import it.
To edit the Material Properties, click on the orange checkered ball icon in the Properties Editor (lower right corner of the screen). From here you can adjust the sliders until your scan's material is to your liking!
In the example below, we've increased the metallic properties and decreased the roughness to produce a shinier metal texture for our belt buckle.
Tip #2 - Painting New Texture In Blender 3.0
If you're interested in 'hand painting' parts of your 3D scan, Blender's Texture Paint tool is a good option.
Switch from the Layout tab to the Texture Paint tab (located in the tabs at the very top of your screen). Make sure the object interaction mode is set to "Texture Paint" after switching tabs.
Under Properties Editor (Lower right of your screen) > Active Tool > Texture Slots, make sure your 3D scan's texture is selected.
Scroll down to Brushes, Brush Settings, and Color Picker to select the type, size, and color of your paintbrush. To apply texture paint, simply click and drag your mouse over your scan in the 3D Viewport. The new texture should appear over the model as you paint (pictured below).
Cleaning Up With Clone Tool
If you notice your new texture paint is being applied to areas you don't want it, you can use the clone tool to clean it up (pictured left).
With the clone tool active (Shortcut Shift - Spacebar, 4), hit 'Ctrl' and left-click to select the area on your model you'd like to clone. Then, simply draw the new cloned texture over any previous painting mistakes to disguise them! Try to select an area near (but not too close) to your mistake for the best color match.
When you are finished with your painting don't forget to hit Save All Images back in Texture Slots. This is a very important step to remember as without it you would lose all the work you did painting!
Pictured above are the results of our texture paint on top of our material adjustments from the previous example!
Tip #3 - Applying Smart Materials in Quixel Mixer
If you're looking to completely replace or change the texture of your 3D scan, Quixel's Smart Materials are an easy way to give your model a realistic texture bursting with detail— all by dragging and dropping! Attributes of smart materials like noise, texture, opacity, ambient occlusion, etc can also be edited for a fit that's unique to your 3D scan.
To start, open up Mixer and click "New Mix" in the upper right. Set your mix name and working resolution in the pop-up window.
2. Click on Type (pictured below) and change it from "Plane" to "Custom Model."
3. Once imported your model should resemble the photo below. To add a smart material, click on the 'S' icon under the layers tab (highlighted in the photo).
4. Select the smart material you'd like to apply to your 3D scan, then click on the material to apply it.
5. You'll see that each smart material is made of many layers. Each layer is able to be adjusted by clicking on it. Adjust the layers to your liking or leave them as is— easy!
Using Paintbrush Stamps
If you'd like to add another layer of dimension to your texture inside Mixer, you can create a paint layer and use a special brush to 'stamp' on texture.
Click on the paintbrush icon in the layers tab to add a paint layer.
To download a special 'stamp' brush, navigate to the Online tab (located in the upper left of your screen) and change the search type in the dropdown to "Brush." Here you can browse through brush designs until you find one you like! To download a brush, simply click on it and hit download. It will now appear in your brush library back under the Viewport tab.
After you select your brush, you can customize its settings by scrolling down a little under the brush library. We recommend you set the color to something similar to your model's smart material and lower the opacity a bit for optimum blending and realism. We also recommend that you set the displacement to 0 before painting (pictured below).
You can set your preferred export settings in the Export tab (uppermost right tab on your screen). To actually export your work, select File > Quick Export. The files you've chosen to export will save to the destination you set in the Export tab.
Below is our final result for our Quixel Mixer texture. By using free tools within Blender or other software, like Mixer, you can quickly and easily adjust the fine details of a scan's texture— or remake its texture completely! Did you find this article helpful? Consider subscribing to our mailing list in the footer below for more info! We'll send you an email whenever we post a new article. Happy texturing!