For a modeling software to apply bitmap textures to a model, it must know where the textures are located. The location of a texture is called a texture path, and this path can be either absolute or relative. An absolute texture path is a string of text that points to a specific location on a user’s computer. At right is an example of the naming structure of an absolute path.
Absolute texture paths can be problematic for customers. When customers download models to their computers, their software will not be able to find the textures because the original texture paths do not correspond to any location on their computers. For example, if the absolute path is C:\Users\Artist\Pictures\texture.jpg, the customer’s software will look for the texture in C:\Users\Customer\Pictures. But since the bitmap texture file does not exist in that specific location on the customer’s computer, a missing file error will occur upon opening the file and attempts to render the model will fail.
Fortunately, you can easily prevent this from happening by using relative texture paths. A relative texture path will either have no path specified or it will simply be the name of the texture (texture.jpg for example). Relative texture paths instruct the software to search for bitmap textures files in the same location where the customer saved the model. At right is an example of a relative texture path.
The best way to achieve this is by zipping your files into a flat file structure. By including your bitmap textures with your model and using relative file paths, customers will not have to do any extra work to load and render the model properly. This can also prevent refunds since customers with tight deadlines will not have to sacrifice job time to contact support for assistance.