Okay, I said I would shut up and butt out, but I guess I lied…
Keep in mind that seamless, procedural textures of the kind that are generated by software are just that….seamless, but procedural. Which means they are repeating patterns. And they are generally perfect, repeating patterns.
However, in the real world, almost nothing is a perfect, repeating pattern. Brick walls aren’t, wood grains aren’t, leather isn’t, and on and on. And your brain subconsciously realizes that. In the real world, you generally don’t have to worry about “seamless textures”. You can take a camera with a tripod, and take as many photos as you want of a particular texture, and stitch them together when necessary. No need to worry about making stuff seamless, and no need to worry about people recognizing the pattern is repeating.
And most importantly, you are capturing all of the subtlety and variation that exists in real life patterns. Stuff like the subtle variations in brick and grout colors, the wide variation in wood grain and stain colors, the wide variation in metal finish and rusting patterns, the wide variation in weathered exterior walls due to dirt and paint deterioration and peeling, etc. None of that stuff is procedural, and none of it is perfectly repeating. But it all gives life to the texture, and places the viewer in the scene. Yeah, you can throw some random noise in there, but that doesn’t reflect the purposeful variations that are introduced into real textures.
You can have the most perfectly seamless procedural image with the most accurate displacement and bump and normal maps, but your texture won’t even come close to the incredible variation and interest you get in a real life texture.
And another huge benefit of not relying a software-generated textures is that you actually get up out of your chair and go out into the real world and see and touch REAL textures. You study them, and start to realize what the bump/displacement map should REALLY look like, and how the leaf has translucency and subsurface scattering and a certain texture to the touch. And you come away with a much better understanding of the textures, and as a result your surfaces will look 10 times better than if you let some software do the work.
And of course you can save yourself a lot of money, and have a lot of fun in the process.
Yeah, I know that everyone likes to play with software, and just about everyone will say using a camera is a good idea, but never actually use one for textures . (Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but I’m sure it’s not far off….). And everyone will list all of the stuff you can do with software, and yeah, if you really need that stuff it might be useful. But, IMO, most of that stuff you really don’t need.
Anyway, for those who really want to develop your skills in texturing, just consider taking a more hands-on approach, and not let the software do it for you. I guarantee you can spend just a few hours with a camera wandering around inside and outside and build a whole library of great textures. And they’ll probably blow the shorts off anything you can generate with software.