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How an AI-assisted workflow fast-tracks material creation

October 12, 2020 in Technology | 2 min. read

Powered by NVIDIA GPUs, Unity ArtEngine’s AI has simplified workflow, and helped create vMaterials – a free library of over 2,000 high-quality real-world materials. 

Creating realistic materials can be a time-consuming process. Even when working from high-quality references, it can take days of work to achieve impressive results. So when a team at NVIDIA was building up their vMaterials library, comprising more than 2,000 real-world materials, they looked to an AI-based solution in Unity ArtEngine. Powered by NVIDIA GPUs, ArtEngine became an indispensable tool in the pipeline that raised the quality of the produced textures while speeding up turnaround times for texture creation.

Real-world textures, ready to use

NVIDIA’s vMaterials library includes essential textures for visualization and can be used with renderers that support Material Definition Language. To build this free catalog with a robust offering of ready-to-use materials, the team at NVIDIA used both photogrammetry and photometric techniques. 

While these workflows ensure hyperrealistic results, they also come with a host of challenges. Removing seams or artifacts when tiling materials for large surfaces is a time-consuming process, and working with wrinkled fabrics or shadowy images can add days of tedious work to a project. While the final results are good, the workflow was not always efficient and the output was limited. 

ArtEngine’s AI-assisted artistry offered a solution by using an example-based workflow to automate some parts of the material-building process. Automatically removing seams, artifacts, and shadows allowed for more efficient material creation – even if the source material wasn’t top quality. “If you take a picture and it’s not what you want,” says Maik Rohland, texture artist for vMaterials, “the tools can get it where it needs to be.” While some materials had previously taken days to create, the AI-based solution brought that down to a few hours

Automation, artist-friendly

While automating parts of the workflow gave the NVIDIA team more time for creativity, the tools also gave the artists flexibility while allowing them to retain complete control over the final output. Material Mutation made it easy to create variations quickly, turning one material into many and bringing more realistic variety to objects in a scene. ArtEngine’s intuitive user interface also eliminated any guesswork The team ramped up on the software easily and made it an essential part of their workflow. 

From the beginning, the goal for the vMaterials library was to showcase materials exactly as they appear in the real world. Using NVIDIA GPUs, ArtEngine’s AI allowed the team to develop a pipeline for creating ultrarealistic real-world materials efficiently and increase their output. It has become an integral part of their process, allowing artists to spend less time on tedious tasks and more time on creativity.

Accelerate your productivity

ArtEngine has tools to help almost any artist increase their productivity and improve their workflow. If you’re interested in learning more, why not try a 30-day free trial or explore the vMaterials library.

October 12, 2020 in Technology | 2 min. read