Using Textures and Materials

Textures and materials are the files and settings you use to define the surfaces of an object. Textures are the files that define the detail, texture, and color of an effect while materials are the settings to control the reflectivity and opacity of a texture.

Textures

A texture is a JPEG or PNG file that is used to define the visual appearance of an object in an effect. One or more textures are combined into materials, and materials are applied to objects in the scene.

Image files may be a maximum of 1024x1024 pixels in size. For reasons of memory optimization, upon export images will be resized (though not scaled) to a square with edge length equal to the smallest power of 2 larger than the larger dimension of the texture, for example:

  • A texture of size 1024x1024, 512x512, 256x256, etc., will remain unchanged.
  • A texture of size 512x400 will become 512x512.
  • A 400x400 texture will become 512x512 on export, though the image will still take up only 400x400; this means 39% of the space in the exported version of the texture is wasted. This could be an opportunity to save space by scaling it down to 256x256, or to improve quality without adding to the export size, by scaling up to 512x512.

For animated textures, use a sprite sheet that contains all of the frames of the animation.

Materials

A material defines the optical properties of the associated texture. A texture can appear opaque or reflective depending on the settings of the applied material. You can set the shader properties of a material to diffuse, reflect, or multiply the colors in the a texture. You can also set the Blend mode, Cull mode, and Opacity of a Material in the Render options.

Because the opacity of a material affects the underlying layers, you should test your materials and textures on a variety of skin tones to ensure that you get the intended effect. AR Studio contains several videos so you can test how your effect works on different skin tones.

To change the video

  • Click Video in the middle of the toolbar then click on a skin tone.

Improving Performance

The size of the textures influences the quality and performance of your effect. and materials you use affects the performance of your effect. A high quality texture file gives your effect a lot of detail. However, this high quality file can slow the performance of your effect by using a lot of memory.

To use high quality texture files while maintaining the performance of your effect, you can reduce the size of your texture files. If you are using the smallest texture files, you can compress the texture files when you export your effect prior to submission. You can also compress the texture files using the compression schemes in AR Studio. You can select the following compression schemes:

Uncompressed - textures are exported without any compression. Using this option results in large memory use.

ETC — textures are compressed for use in Android devices. The following options are available for this compression scheme:

  • ETC2_RGB – 4 bits per pixel, no alpha channel
  • ETC2_RGBA – 8 bits per pixel, alpha channel
  • ETC2_RGB (Punch-through alpha) – 4 bits per pixel, including a 1-bit alpha mask (therefore regions are either fully opaque or fully transparent)

PVR — textures are compressed for use in iOS devices. The following options are available for this compression scheme:

  • PVRTC_V1_2_RGB – 2 bits per pixel, no alpha channel
  • PVRTC_V1_2_RGBA – 2 bits per pixel, with alpha channel
  • PVRTC_V1_4_RGB – 4 bits per pixel, no alpha channel
  • PVRTC_V1_4_RGBA – 4 bits per pixel, with alpha channel

In addition to selecting the compression scheme for all textures in an effect, you can override this general compression scheme by setting the compression scheme for each texture. Setting the compression scheme for a texture allows you to further compress or use less compression on that texture.

To compress all textures when exporting an effect

  1. Click Export on the right side of the toolbar.
  2. Select the export option that you want to use. You can select all three options which will create three export files.
  3. To change the export settings, click Export Options.
  4. Click Export to create the export files.

To set the compression scheme for a texture

This procedure overrides the export settings for all textures so that you can specify the compression scheme for that texture.

  1. In the Navigator on the left side, select a texture.
  2. In the Inspector on the right side under Compression, select Override ETC or Override PVR, and then set the compression settings for that texture. When you export the project, AR Studio will use the settings in the Inspector to compress that texture instead of the Export settings.

Test your compression settings on different devices and skin tones in the Editor to ensure that you are making the best decision between quality and performance.