The Procedural Texture and Material Editor

Copyright 2001-2013 by Peter Eastman

Last Modified: Dec. 22, 2013
Modified For: v3.0
Original Release Date: Jan. 15, 2001
Originally Written For: v0.7


  1. Overview
  2. A First Texture
  3. Value Modules
  4. Operator Modules
  5. Function Modules
  6. Color Function Modules
  7. Transform Modules
  8. Pattern Modules
  9. The Properties Window
  10. Example Textures
  11. Example Materials

1. Overview

Art of Illusion provides two different methods for creating procedural textures and materials. The Procedure Editor allows you to define procedures quickly and easily by "wiring together" a variety of modules, each representing a different value, pattern, or mathematical function. Alternatively, the plugin API allows you to write Java classes which define entirely new types of textures and materials. This is significantly more work than using the Procedure Editor, but it provides virtually unlimited power for defining procedures. This tutorial describes how to use the Procedure Editor. The plugin API is described in a separate document.

This tutorial does not attempt to teach you how to design algorithms for generating procedural textures. That is a huge subject in itself, and an ongoing field of research to this day. If you want to learn more about this subject, I highly recommend

The organization of the rest of this tutorial is as follows:

Chapter 2 introduces the main concepts of the Procedure Editor, and walks you through the creation of a variety of simple textures.

Chapters 3-8 describe in detail all the features of the editor, including the full set of modules available for use in your procedures (over 50 in all).

Chapters 9 and 10 give some examples of the complex textures and materials that can be created with the Procedure Editor.

Next: A First Texture