Taking lighting into account in texture art
Question and answer regarding the nature of lighting in texture art:
>>Student question: I guess I’ve always had the impression you need to consider the interplay of light with your texture during the process of creating the texture. For example, if I’m developing a texture in PhotoShop, and cast the shadow incorrectly, then I would think the texture would be bad if I later cast the light from a different direction?
Answer: Yes, absolutely, in that case you do need to take lighting into consideration. But that is only important if you are making textures that have “dimensional quality”, that is, that have a lot of depth to them. In fact, “dimensionality” is one important decision one needs to take into account when creating textures. If your textures are rather flat, then the lighting is independent of texture creation. Of course you would want to imagine in your mind how you are going to work the lighting, so maybe a colored or dappled effect will add another extra layer of interesting features over the texture work.
Generally speaking, the amount of dimensionality is directly dependent of the amount of independent lighting you are able to use: for projects which can rely on real, 3D software created lighting, there is no need to create such dimensional textures. For projects which have little or no true 3D lighting, it’s advisable to paint in some of the effects.
Above you see an example of a very dimensional texture created for a wall. Notice how it includes painting of the lighting effect, with deep shadows and dappled effects. Generally speaking, we have the impression that most of the light is focused on the bottom portion of the wall, however, it's not specific -- it's BEST to keep painted lighting effects non-specific as to not conflict too much with any truly 3D lighting existent in the final project.