Usually, if you search for texture maps, either on 3Dtextures.me or Sharetextures.com you're probably used to see just 1 image texture, like the one hereunder.
So what are the other images for? What do they do?
Let's explore how these maps help you create better materials.
Albedo (aka BaseColor)
An albedo texture is very similar to a diffuse map, but with one extra benefit: all the shadows and highlights have been removed.
Why to use it? It can actually be more realistic depending on what you need.
Also called a Fullbright Map, Glow Map, Incandescence Map, or Self-Illumination Map. This is used for a glow in the dark effect, but does not emit light onto adjacent surfaces.
Why to use it? Objects using Emissive Materials appear to remain bright even in dark areas of your Scene.
Sometimes you actually want the opposite of the Albedo map: more shadows!
So use the this kind of map together with your Diffuse or Albedo texture.
Why to use it? You want your detail to have more pronounced detail and shadows
Bump (aka Normal)
You can easily recognise it because it's always purple! It might look weird but its actually perfect for your 3D content.
Why to use it? to create the illusion of depth and texture on the surface of your 3D object.
It should be a map composed by either white, grey and/or black texture.
- any area on the opacity map that is white, will make corresponding areas on the map opaque;
- any area on the opacity map that is black, will make corresponding areas on the map transparent;
- any area on the opacity map that is shades of grey, will make corresponding areas on the map translucent, depending on the shade of grey.
Why to use it? to create transparent, translucent and see through effects.