Using imagine manipulation software, such as Photoshop, a 3D artist can import a UV template, and create a texture for the 3D model. The 3D model already has shape, but no color, and there is no information about the material it is made from. Adding texture to the model will help to give it character, inform the viewer of it’s materials and will give it a more pleasing and complete look, but a texture alone does not make for a complete material.
6) Creating Normal, Specular, and other maps.
At this point, our low poly model has been created, UVed, and textured, but color alone does not sell the illusion of reality. All surfaces have micro details that are all but impossible to capture in a low poly model on their own, as well as different levels of reflectiveness, also known as specularity.
Normal Maps, which allow micro-amounts of detail and smoothing from the high poly model to be projected on to the low poly model via UV space, are a common way to “fake” detail on to a model. Since every part of the model is represented both in 2D UV space, and 3D XYZ space, these details can be “projected” on to the low poly model to give the illusion of detail.
Similarly, specular maps, as well as maps that can control emissiveness, displacement, and other details can be created to add more realism and detail to the model.