Why bother developing textures for 3D art?

One of my favorite subjects of computer graphics used to be painting and creating textures for 3D models. Working carefully the texture and color of a model is important because:

Textures add intricacy that modeling alone cannot achieve

Consider this model of the interior of a room, which contains a very modest 300 polygons. Without any textures, it is plain and rather pathetic.

However, add a few chosen textures and the modeling acquires another level of intricacy that would practically impossible to create with modeling alone.

Adding textures to it creates such level of detail that would be very impossible with such low amount of geometry or very taxing on the system. Every 3D artist aims to optimize their models, so that they will be faster and easier to manipulate, and therefore more efficient. The image above contains only 7 textures, and no further modeling was done. Here are some of the textures that were used:

Notice the intricacy and level of detail. Even if an artist had the time, it would practically impossible to reproduce all this amount of detail with modeling alone.

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