Photographing the Forest for Custom Textures

Custom Textures

Hello and howdy, readers and lookers.

This week Torje, Stian and myself went on a bit of an adventure through a forest not far from Oslo to get some photos to use for custom textures. This is a very fun thing to do and is also great exercise!

The beautiful woods and the lake at Sognsvann lie only a few tube stops from the centre of Oslo and is a perfect place to walk around collecting reference images, ground and rock textures, etc.


We have left it way too long before using our own custom textures and have been mostly using ones we made from stolen Google images. It’s incredible and very rewarding to see pictures we took on our hike covering the ground of the forest in the game. Incredible may be a bit of a strong word, actually; ‘nice’ is probably closer.

We also took the opportunity to gather some new reference images as we are making some new areas and sections of the game. The woods are very varied and filled with random roots, plants and rocks, and the forest in Through the Woods will reflect this.


When we put the new textures in the game to test them, it made a huge difference to the overall aesthetic quality. With the normal maps and height maps, the ground is more alive and responds really nicely to moon and torch light, creating shadows under the rocks in the texture, for example.

Images of tree stumps, roots, streams and paths also help us to create a better sense of the natural randomness of the forest. It’s actually pretty difficult to create something truly random in a game world, so this kind of research really helps.


That’s it from us for today. If you are interested in this kind of stuff and game development in general, please check back here often, or you can even sign up for our Antagonist newsletter at the top right of this page. It will have videos, links to development blogs and other useful pieces you might enjoy!

Thanks for reading! The woods are lovely, dark and deep…

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2 comments on “Photographing the Forest for Custom Textures

  1. Those are som fine looking textures (fin trollskog)! I loved the prototype and can’t wait to take on the whole ambience.

    (Kan jeg spørre, bruker dere Substance/Quixel?)

  2. Hei Thomas!

    Vi bruker Quixel OG Substance-programmene ja :) Vi er ganske ferske i Substance tho, så det er fortsatt en del å sette seg inn i, men anbefaler det på det sterkeste til hvem enn som måtte vurdere det!

    Character Artist

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