Just recently however Multitexture and Bercon Tiles were updated to work with eachother meaning you can now use multitexture to randomly select bitmaps and Bercon Tiles to arrange them in whatever pattern suits. Essentially this is the same as the commercial plugins "brix" and "mighty tiles" though perhaps an ever so slightly more convoluted workflow.
To any of you not in-the-know about these plugins and wondering what the benefits are over using decent high-res maps:
- The textures are generated procedurally, meaning there will never be any visible tiling artefacts.
- The plugin allows randomisation of Gamma, Hue & Saturation of individual bricks/tiles.
- The base textures can be of a higher resolution than a standard bitmap meaning no reduction in quality at close proximity
- It is considerably easier to go out and take pictures of a dozen individual bricks/tiles close up than it is to find a whole, flat pristine wall to photograph and then make seamless.
- Used in conjunction with the composite map and UV Unwrapping, very complex and believable textures can be achieved with minimal effort.
- Major render farms support Multitexture and Bercon Tiles, whereas they may not support other third party brick/tile plugins.
There are of course a couple of disadvantages too:
- Set up time - for a basic texture it will be much the same as setting up mapping on a normal bitmap image, however if like me you want more complex setups this can start to become a bit of a headache...
- Because it is generated at rendertime, viewing the bricks/tiles in the viewport doesn't work properly.
- More RAM usage (I haven't tested this, but logic dictates that using many high resolution textures will use more RAM than a single high resolution texture)
If there is enough interest in setting up textures using these two plugins, I will happily write a tutorial/walkthrough on it. In the mean time, for those of you that want to give it a go yourself here are a set of textures I shot and used just recently...