7 Easy Ways to Change a Textures Color by Tweaking Bitmap Materials

September 27, 2019

Here are seven quick ways you can change a textures color in Redshift, Arnold, or Octane renderers.

In this tutorial, Chad Ashley will show you seven quick and easy ways to tweak bitmap materials. From color correct nodes to ramps, you’re sure to find a quick way to change a materials color.

These tips work in Redshift, Arnold, and Octane on bitmap materials like the ones in the Everyday Material Collection or Modern Surface Material Collection.

Let’s dive in.

Tutorial Breakdown

So the easiest way to tweak the color of a bitmap based material is probably going to be through the actual base color, the texture itself.

In our case we’re using Redshift, but you should be able to follow along with just about any renderer that supports these sorts of workflows. So I’ve got, one of the materials from the Modern Surface Material Collection by Greyscalegorilla.

1. Color Multiplier

We’ve got a concrete loaded onto our object right now. I’m just got this shader ball going and we want to tint the color of this concrete. The easiest way to do that, and the way that I do it most of the time is by grabbing that image texture and jumping over to the adjust tab.

7 Easy Ways to Change a Textures Color by Tweaking Bitmap Materials - One

And under the color multiplier, you’re going to see we have a white color here. So whatever is in this color swatch is going to be multiplied onto the texture here. So let’s go ahead and isolate that guy so we can actually see what’s going on here. Grab our color multiplier under our image texture, and let’s just maybe find a color that we want to tint and just slowly start to bring in some of this, this green color, maybe a little bit more blue in there. All right? And that is literally the simplest way to do it.

And like if you’re not familiar with this workflow, this will definitely help you tint to or add a little bit of color to any bitmap based material. But there’s other ways, there’s lots of other ways to do this. And I’m going to show you another way that I like to do it, which is going to be using a color correct node in between our base color texture and the material.

2. Color Correct Node

So let’s just grab that material and we’re going to throw that onto our shader ball. And you can see I’ve already got one set up here. We’ve just got our base color texture going into our color correct node and then that’s going out to my material. But I want to actually look at this out to the surface first so I can just see what it’s doing.

So the color correct node, if you’re not familiar with it, I highly recommend playing around with. It’s very powerful, very, very nice. In fact, a lot of the renders have these. So from here we can adjust the gamma, the contrast, the hue shift, saturation scale. In our case we want to play around with the hue shift and the saturation scale. We have a fairly, well, it doesn’t look like it has any color actually. So let’s go ahead and change that.

7 Easy Ways to Change a Textures Color by Tweaking Bitmap Materials - Two

Let’s give it like a saturation scale of maybe like three and then we’ll start to bring in some of this hue shifting to find maybe that same sort of color that we were after before. Maybe a little bit more blue. There we go. Maybe bring out saturation scale up to like four, maybe up to like eight even. And this is just yet another way to be able to control the look and color of that, of that base color. So again, we can just mess around with the gamma here we have just a little bit more control than the other method. And of course we’re adjust the contrast. Maybe you want to bring that gamma level down a little bit. And now let’s take a look at all of that out to our material. And there we go. We have something that started off like this and let’s go back here and just tweak that back to normal.

So we can just have an A/B here. All right, so that’s where we started and that’s where we ended up. So again, it’s just another way to to tweak and I’m not done yet. There’s one more method that I think is actually a really cool method that I recommend everybody trying out.

3. Color Gradient

So we’re gonna try this other method for tweaking the color, which is going to be using a gradient. So let’s grab that material. We’re going to throw that onto the, onto the thing here. You can see I’ve already got it set up. So let’s just jump into the color gradient. Now what am I doing here? I’m actually piping my base color texture into a ramp. And in that ramp is going to be driving the diffuse color. So let’s just build this from scratch ramp. Let’s grab a ramp here.

Drag that down through our bitmap material or a bitmap texture into the ramp input. Let’s look at the output of that ramp. Immediately you can see that it’s automatically given it a source of auto. So it basically is using the alt is basically what it’s doing. So what this is doing is it’s remapping the values of this texture into a ramp. So black to white, right? So that’s what we’re getting here. In fact, if I’d just like bring that knot up, we’re actually increasing the black level, bringing that black level up. We can do the same thing with the white. So basically we’re in it right now, we’re clamping it, we’re just clamping this material or this texture rather. So let’s just bring that back down to a normal state. But what’s interesting about this is now you can start to remap these values. You can add other colors.

7 Easy Ways to Change a Textures Color by Tweaking Bitmap Materials - Three

So if we wanted to come in here, let’s say, and dive down into this ramp and let’s just bring this up so we could see a little bit better load preset. Let’s grab a rainbow and maybe we want to double those knots and then maybe double them again. And now all of a sudden you can see that we’ve got this crazy rainbow color being remapped onto our concrete. So what makes the why that’s useful is because now you can start to introduce other colors. You can start to introduce other values. So here on the ramp that I had up here before, it’s just a simple kind of a Brown to like a dark Brown to get this kind of mud look. Let’s go and look at this. So now this starts to look a little bit more like dirt, a little bit more like clay, like some sort of like dry lake bed material.

So, yeah, that’s just another interesting way of doing a manipulating your base texture, your base color into something else without having to get really crazy with all the nodes and without having to do a whole lot. These are nice simple techniques that you can use throughout your workflow.

4. Ambient Occlusion Diffuse Color

All right. In the next part I’m going to show you some other interesting ways of manipulating your image based textures to get more out of bitmap based materials. So we talked a little bit about using the adjust color multiplier on your bitmap based material. But we can go a little step further. We can actually put some AO in here without having to like create another shader or maybe add AO through like a layer note or something like that. We can do that directly into our diffuse color. So how do we do that? Let’s grab an AO, dropped that in.

Let’s go ahead and look at the output of that AO just so we can see it a little bit better. I do like to sometimes put the AO into a ramp so that I have a more visual sort of way of manipulating that AO. Let’s go ahead and look at that. And now just the ramp is just going to allow me to be able to clamp it down and maybe adjust some of these values in a more friendly way.

7 Easy Ways to Change a Textures Color by Tweaking Bitmap Materials - Four

So let’s throw this ramp into that color multiplier. Okay. So we’ll look at the output of that and now you can see we’ve got AO being multiplied onto our shader ball. And this is great, a great way to add a ambient occlusion to your material without having to dive in too heavily to the other aspects of your shader. Maybe you don’t have to use like a layered material.

You don’t have to do a layered RGB texture. It’s just an easier way of of getting that look. And of course, because I have it in a ramp, I can come over here and just the, just the black level up if I want to just like bring this black level up here, maybe something like this. Yeah, that’s pretty good. And remember, you can tint this too. You can actually start to put in a little bit of color in here just to kind of make it feel maybe a little bit dirty. There you go. Maybe a little bit like sand or something. Maybe it’s a little bit more in the reds. So that’s just another way to add a little bit more interest to your diffuse color.

5. Color Offset

So another thing that you can do, and this is kind of a cool technique that I use quite a bit. If I want to add like a sheen to something, I’ll just drag this material up. We’re gonna look at that. So let’s say this, this concrete material is very rough and it has a really nice fresnel sheen to it, right? And the way that we’re doing that is a bit different. The way that we’re doing that with our diffuse color is that we’re going into that adjust tab, but we’re not messing with color multiplier. We’re messing with color offset, which is essentially gonna lift the black.

So we’re using a fresnel node in Redshift here to give us that fresnel angle of incidence ramp. So let’s just go ahead and make one really quickly. Let’s grab a fresnel drop that in. Let’s go and look at the output of that fresnel. And the fresnel’s going to be using the index of refraction, which is totally fine if we we’re, if we decrease this, we’re going to, I’m not that far down.

If we do like a 1.1 you’re going to see that it’s a, it’s sort of clamp there. And if we kind of increase that, we’re going to get more of that, of that white color creeping over to the front of our object. I want to probably keep this like a 1.4 or something like that cause I’m just trying to get like a sheen. Like there’s a thin layer of dust or maybe there’s just some particulate on the surface that’s like breaking up. The, the angle of incidence here. Okay. So what do we deal? We could put this into a ramp to make it more easy to control. In fact, I think I will do that. Actually no I won’t. I’ll keep it simple. So let’s throw this for now right into the color multiplier but the color offset. So we’ve already got one plugged in here.

7 Easy Ways to Change a Textures Color by Tweaking Bitmap Materials - Five

Let’s just drag that right down into there. Let’s look at this color the base color out to our surface here. Okay, cool. So now we can adjust how much this is affecting our object. We can come over to that, the front facing angle. So now it’s kind of like basically turning this whole front a little bit whiter and we wanna bring that down. But now here’s this perpendicular color. This is where we’re going to start to have some fun. We could add like a, a tint to that if we wanted to. Maybe something a little bit warm to make it look like there’s a little bit of dirt on there. Maybe bring the intensity down, something in here. And now we’re adding a little bit of a sheen to this and we didn’t have to do anything. We didn’t have to like create another material.

We didn’t have to do any sort of layering the with like a layer material or layer node. So let’s just jump that into the into the surface here. Perfect. Okay. So that is working pretty well. So that’s just another way to start to manipulate your, your bitmap-based material, diffuse color, using the adjust tab. And like I said, this is going to be possible in, in Arnold, in Octane other renders that support the image based textures with the color multiplier and color offset. Okay. So we can go one step further. Now that we’ve seen what we can do with the color multiplier and the color offset, we can go one step further to create maybe a bit more of an aged look, a bit more of a, of an older kind of concrete look.

6. Curvature Ramp Color Offset

So if I jump into this material and let’s go ahead and look at that one. You can see I’m using a very similar technique that I did with the fresnel. I’m using this time a curvature that’s being piped into a ramp that’s now driving the color offset. And what’s that’s doing is it’s taking the edges of our concrete and making them a little bit more white. And this is gonna make it look like the concrete has aged a little bit more and you can get more crazy with the curvature. In fact, I have a lot of videos on YouTube talking about how to add wear and tear to your materials using curvature. But we’re not gonna dive into that. Let’s just start from scratch here. Let’s grab a curvature. Let’s go ahead and look at the output of that. And there we go. I’m not going to get too crazy with the settings, but obviously you would want to mess around with the radius.

I’m going to put this into a ramp so that it’s easier to control and see. All right, this is drag that right in. Let’s look at the output of that. All right, so now I can come over to this ramp and I can tweak it’s it’s clamping. I’d actually want to just bring the white down. Perfect. Something like that. Now if we just put this right into the color offset, let’s look at the output of our base color. All right, we’ve got our ramp here. We can start to adjust maybe how harsh that is. That’s good. We can even tint this. Although I don’t think we need to because it’s just not something that, you know, I don’t, it’s just not something that I would do a, the other thing that you can do here with the curvature, if you want to get crazy, you could actually just, let’s just peel off a copy of this.

7 Easy Ways to Change a Textures Color by Tweaking Bitmap Materials - Six

I’m just holding down control and let’s look at the output of this and maybe we want to change this from a convex to concave and there we go. And now maybe we want to increase the radius to maybe like 0.8 something like that. Maybe it’s like 1.2 somewhere in there. So just so that we’re getting a little bit more of that. And I think I want to spread it even more than that. So let’s just bring this up to like two. There we go. So now if we take this ramp and we just inverted, Nope, not inverted, we want to invert the colors. I don’t know if I can do that actually. Well there’s a, there’s a feature request for Maxon. All right, we’ll just do it manually really quickly here. Now I’m just going to clamp this black down. We’re going to throw this into the color multiplier and look at the output of that.

And now we’re just creating a little bit of dirt inside of the crevices of our concrete and maybe we want to bring this up to like four, something like that. Now if we look at the output of that material, we’ve got a little bit more interest here based on where we were before, which is going to be, I’ll just throw this original material on and where we ended up, it’s just a little bit more visual interest and we didn’t have to do a whole lot. In fact, it’s pretty simple right now we’re just piping everything into our base color texture that’s going out to our diffuse color. And of course you can use these things to do crazy combinations. I’m not going to get too crazy, but I do have one here where I do a combination and let’s just go ahead and throw that up on here.

So this is using the exact same material and other MSMC concrete. And all I’ve done here is through a little bit of AO into the color multiplier. I threw a curvature and a ramp like we did before into the color offset. And then I used an AO to color multiply the roughness because it’s not just the, the diffuse color you can mess with. You can put these techniques into use anywhere that’s using a bitmap. Obviously not for the the normal map. You don’t want to be throwing curvatures into your normal map. So again, we started with something simple like a concrete like this and you can very easily manipulate it into something like this without having to do a ton of work. And without having to create some crazy spaghetti nodes. Oh, and also I forgot to mention there’s a ramp that’s actually changing the entire color of our concrete to give us this look.

And that roughness started off pretty rough. But if you notice here, here’s another quick tip. This isn’t necessarily about diffuse color, but these techniques can apply to roughness as well. So if the roughness material that let’s just go ahead and tweak this back down. I’m going to actually take the AO out of here just for a second just so I can show you this. All right, so this is the, the a a, the roughness as it comes in with this concrete material. And if you’re not familiar with this technique this is the best way to sort of adjust the roughness level of a bitmap base material, whether it’s Everyday Material Collection or Modern Surface Material Collection. In this case, you can actually just come down to the color multiplier and start to push this down, which is essentially going to make the entire roughness value lower, which is gonna make our materials shinier.

So if we wanted to like, you know, make it a very sort of shiny concrete, we could do that very easily right there. So that’s just an another way to drive that. In our case, I’m using the AO so that it’s actually bringing a lot of roughness into the, the sort of, the crevices of our object here and lowering the roughness on, on these like outer parts here. So it kind of makes it look a little bit more worn.

7. Color Multiplier and Color Correct

All right. So last but not least, I just wanted to show you one other example. Let’s go ahead and throw this last example on here. We’ve been looking a lot at concrete, but it actually, these techniques work in areas or materials that already have a significant amount of color in them. So if I like take off this color correct node and pipe that directly into my material and I bring all these values back down to normal, this is where this plywood material starts in the MSMC.

And let’s say we want to make it look like it’s stained like a stained wood. Well, I would start with maybe adding a color multiplier to sort of get me somewhere close where you’re doing like a yellow stain here that looks pretty good. And then what I would probably do is throw it into a color correct node and sort of take it the rest of the way. And that would be to adjust the gamma a little bit, maybe bringing a the level scaled down somewhere darkening up a little bit there just to kind of play around and get what I get, what I want out of it.

7 Easy Ways to Change a Textures Color by Tweaking Bitmap Materials - Seven

And again, we started off with something that already had color in it and we just use some of these same techniques to, to tweak those colors. All right, let’s get back out here. Okay.

So in summary, Oh and also one last tip, if you haven’t figured this one out, this is a nice way to organize the node inputs and outputs of your of your, of your materials and nodes in red shift. Or you can just drag anything up to reposition it. So if it’s not a sitting where you want, you can just drag that up to make it look nicer. Okay. So that about does it.

We covered lots of different ways to manipulate image-based, a bitmap-based materials in Redshift. A lot of these techniques will carry over into other renders. If you have a specific way that you like to manipulate a colors, a bitmap based materials, and I didn’t show it, let me know in the comments. I’d like to hear what you guys do and how, how you guys tweak your, your bitmap based materials. All right, thanks again and I’ll see you next time.


Want to learn more about the materials used in this tutorial? Check out the Modern Surface Material Collection, available now in the store or included with active Greyscalegorilla Plus memberships.

2 Comments
  • Spectacular tutorial, Chad! Thank you so much for sharing these useful techniques.

  • Sound Great !! Thanks for sharing such a great blog with us 🙂

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.