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Tile Array


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I have a simple question that no one can seem to answer. I suppose this can go for any 3D modeling software. I'm designing the interior of a hospital using Blender 3d and am up to the part where I'm supposed to make the tiles for the floor. The easiest way would be to make a texture, put it on the floor and add the different maps to it right? (Normal map, specularity map, etc) The problem is that it doesn't seem to give me much control over each individual tile. Like if I want to remove a few of them at a certain location. Now, I found away around it by making an array of tiles which look great...but takes up a lot of space. I get to pick and choose which tiles I want to discard but it slows done my computer. One person said that I should use a texture and mess with the normals. How would I go about doing that or is there a better way of going about this without all those expensive vertices? Any body know how the pros do it?

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