How to make a specular map effect

Hello everyone,
Here’s a super-cool trick. Specular map…faking…?

Before & After

Example #1

Example #2


(Note: both specular map and normal map fakes are used here. If you wanna learn how to do the normal map/depth faking trick, then go here)

Each part of the texture (base, specular, normal) is a different part.

Quick Breakdown of how each part works

Base - Just the base part and the base texture.
Normal - A part with it’s material set to Air, transparency = 1. Explanation is in the post linked above.
Specular - A part that’s above the base part, transparency = 1 and material is Glass. The way it works is you put an isolated texture of the specular map itself, and give it that glow by setting the material to glass.

I know of 2 different options to create the specular map texture off of another one. (SELECT ONE)

Option A

You need:

  • The base texture. I will be using this one
  • Photoshop. I am not aware if other software is capable of doing Color Range (see below).
    (If I’m correct, this only works if the texture is basically just 1 color. See option B for multicolored textures.)

So, open the texture in photoshop.
You might notice that there is a lot of noise/roughness in the texture itself (not smooth).

What I do is select one of the less-used tones -

Then go to Select > Color Range, and adjust the fuzziness until you get something like this
So, press OK and then press CTRL+ALT+I (inverse selection) and press Del. You should be left with something like this:

Now just export this texture as a png.

Option B

You need:

Now, If you went to this website,
Select “Specular” in the middle window
Now adjust the settings until you get something close to what we got in Option A with Color Range

Now download it and open it in any image editing software.
Get rid of the black
And export it as a png.

Now that you have an isolated specular map texture, let’s do the magic!

As I mentioned above, make a base part with the original/base texture.
Make another part, make sure it renders above the base part, set it’s material to Glass and transparency to 1, and set it’s texture to the isolated specular map you made. Make the StudsPerTileU and V match the original, however it’s really up to you, as well as matching the color of both textures.

I’m pretty sure there’s a less dumb way to do this, but for now have fun with this, I guess.
So now you can fake both normal and specular maps! Awesome!
Hopefully I gave you some cool new knowledge to experiment with and create even better looking stuff!

And yes, I do know that custom materials are coming out in 999 years and it will be much more easier and efficient.