How are various maps such as diffuse, AO, cavity, or displacement imported into Blender?

I saw the Texture tab has import image, would you do this for all maps and connect them somehow?

  • $\begingroup$ For Cycles or BI? $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2014 at 18:18
  • $\begingroup$ it depends on what format you are importing from. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Oct 23, 2014 at 18:21
  • $\begingroup$ @David I'm coming from zbrush to blender. I would have a .obj base mesh with .jpg diffuse, cavity, etc just as image files. How could I apply them to the bash mesh in Blender? $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2014 at 18:29
  • $\begingroup$ @someonewithpc I'm sure sure, I'm new to blender, probably BI since I want to use the model with Freestyle. I heard it isn't compatible with Cycles but I'm not sure if that's true in the current version or not. $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2014 at 18:32
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ As of the latest release, 2.72, cycles now supports freestyle. $\endgroup$
    – PGmath
    Oct 23, 2014 at 18:37

3 Answers 3


For the blender internal render.

Add a material to your imported object (if it does not already have one). Click on the texture tab in the properties window. Then big New Texture button. Set the type to a Image texture. Open your diffuse map. Set the Coordinates to be UV, under the mapping section of the texture tab.
Last set the influence of the texture, for a diffuse map it would be color. For a normal map normal, displacement would be displace. Add a new texture for each type of image your are importing.
texture panel

settings in the texture panel

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks David! That's exactly what I was looking for! Would this be any different for cycles? $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2014 at 18:55
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, very different for cycles. I can add a cycles answer if you want, let me know. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Oct 23, 2014 at 19:03

Cycles is node based, meaning the material is comprised of nodes. Unlike the blender internal where you go to a different tab and add textures, in cycles everything can be done from with in the node editor.

First make sure you are using cycles. To use Cycles, it must be set as the active render engine in the top header. Open the node editor, change the node type to Shader Nodes You should now see something like this.
node editor

You can drag your textures from any file browser in to the node editor. That will create a new Image Texture node for each image.
Here is the whole node tree.
The color or diffuse map would go straight in to the Color socket of the Diffuse BSDF node, but because we are adding a AO map, cavity, or any black and white map to effect the color, that gets multiplied with the diffuse map then plugged in to the Diffuse BSDF.
The normal map gets plugged in to a Normal Map node, witch goes it to the Normal socket on the Diffuse BSDF.
The bump map is plugged in to a Bump node, which is connected between the normal map and the Diffuse BSDF.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ you forgot to change the Normal Map node to non-color. $\endgroup$ Oct 25, 2014 at 7:08

Displacement mapping that truly alters the geometry of the model (as distinct from bump mapping) is something a bit different, but since 2.79 the easiest way would have to be the Principled BSDF shader.

See https://docs.blender.org/manual/fi/dev/render/cycles/nodes/types/shaders/principled.html

That gets you everything in one place without having to build a large node graph around mixing distinct diffuse/glossy shaders.


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