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Wild Textures is a great place to find free high-quality textures for all types of projects – from ads to games. We were lucky enough to talk to the founder of this project and UX Graphic Designer from Opera Software, Tomasz Grabowiecki. The developer discussed the beginning of the project, the way he defines ideas for his textures and his production pipeline.
Hey there! My name is Tomasz Grabowiecki, I’m from Poland. I’m 32 at the moment. Currently full-time father of three, and working for Opera Software as a UX Graphic Designer. My interests have always been somewhere around computer graphics, photography, and music, so all previous projects and jobs were somehow related to these topics. My CGI story started when I was a kid. My grandma gave me my first computer Atari 65XE. Then I met my friend Wojtek, and I was amazed by his work, and what can be done with a simple BASIC language. Then there was the first PC, and some serious software like 3D Studio. That helped me a lot to start my career as a graphic designer. I haven’t been studying any related topic actually and I think I can say I’m a self-taught in what I’m doing.
Wild Textures has been born in 2012 as a little side project to my regular day job. As I’ve said before, my job was always somehow related to the graphic design, and textures were something that I’ve been using in my projects. They always bring a little life to digital artworks. When there was a rush I’ve been looking for free texture resources on the web, but when it was less busy, I’ve been making textures by myself. Some day I decided to give something back to the CGI community. I had some textures made already, so it was easier. These days it’s easy to create website – I’ve used the tools that were available, like WordPress. I designed and coded wildtextures.com template by myself, but I guess any free template would work as well. I promised myself to keep the project simple as it begins, with simple goal – free textures, no more than that. From 2012 website changed a little bit. Mainly from UX point of view. It’s now easier to navigate, mobile friendly (I found a lot of people using textures as mobile wallpaper), and faster.
Ideas for Textures
I’m very scatty person, having a lot of ideas one moment, then moving to another quickly. My inspiration comes from everywhere – I love finding connections between different kinds of of art like looking for an image inside music, and vice versa. I also find a lot of inspiration in the people and city life. You can find my street photography photos on the Instagram.
It’s not a rocket science actually. I always have my little camera in my backpack. I mainly use Sony RX-1 nowadays, which by the way is a fantastic camera. It’s small, and give blazing image quality thanks to the ZEISS lens and full frame sensor. My everyday walk to and from work is where most textures come from. Street is a great place to hunt for great materials. Everything is taken in RAW format, then processed in Adobe Camera Raw. If I have little time, I use Photoshop to make texture seamless. Last thing is tagging, categorizing and uploading, archiving. I don’t find it very time consuming, but you know, it’s hard to count time when you do what you like.
It was funny when I saw my texture first time in the TV production. Told my wife, that there were our chopping board on the TV advertisement – she didn’t believe until I showed her. That was the moment I realized that people actually use my textures a lot. You know, it gives a kick to do some more.
Another one – I’ve been a big fan of famous Greyscalegorilla blog. One day I saw he used one of my texture in his tutorial. That made me happy. They say it goes back when you give something. And it also happened here. Sorensen Leather – a company from Denmark shared it’s own leather textures library with me. All seamless, great quality leather textures that I’m now categorizing and tagging when I have free time.
Unfortunately, not many people share what they’ve done with textures. Hope that will change soon. Still collecting stuff to fill upcoming “inspiration” section.
I promised myself to continue with the project like it is – textures are free and it will stay like that. However, as the traffic grows day by day I had to move the website to professional hosting service that is not free. To keep textures best quality possible I use only good cameras – Sony RX1 mentioned before and Canon 5D Mark II with fixed lenses. Domain is another cost. To cover all that I introduced Google Ads on the website, and it really helped cover most of the costs. There was a couple of donations during there four years that also helped keep Wild Textures alive.