A modular environment generally consist of reusable models or textures which can save huge amounts of time depending on your environment. Normally you would create the level with individual unique pieces, rather than just reusing bits and pieces from different assets. Generally a modular workflow is more efficient if you are working on a larger scale, lets say that they were fifteen different buildings in the background, each could have reused assets and textures which could save time because we do not need to create a unique one each time. So how do we use the same assets without making them looking the same? Typically you can scale, rotate or change the shape slightly to make it seem like a different variation of that thing, this could apply for car tyres for example, we could make one and instance it, then rotate and repeat which will look like different car tyres piled onto each other. Another way it could be used is if you look at a building and break it down to primitive shapes, then build it in modular chunks which can be more time efficient then building it all from one shape. Modular textures can also be used in order to texture faster. To do this you have to use a texture atlas, this uses multiple textures put together which is more efficient in the engine.
By using a vertex method it allows you to manipulate the textures tint in order to create new textures. One benefit to this, is you can quickly paint damage and grunge onto a texture immediately creating a more realistic look. This allows bland and plain walls to have history and details which adds interest to the scene, but also could make two assets seamless such as a cave wall and the floor. A video created by Unitycookie(video above) shows how you can paint a damaged texture onto a road which amazes me at the speed you can achieve it.
Another advantage to vertex colours is how you can change the texture you have into another by manipulating it into something else.
Vertex colouring on unreal
Here you can see the effects of vertex colouring on unreal above. By painting the texture on you can see in realtime how it looks which is a huge advantage to traditional texturing. After researching into vertex colouring I am impressed at the speed of which you can add detail, so I am going to try and practice this technique and apply it to my texture process.
Youtube video by Unitycookie
Image credit –
Texture atlas – http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/2530/practical_texture_atlases.php?print=1