Materialize is a free and easy to use (yet, very good) tool to create texture channels from a single image. The basic idea is this: you import your diffuse map (also known as color map in some applications), and then use it to create other various maps, like normal maps, height maps, metallic maps, etc.
Using Materialize is really simple. The first thing you do is import a diffuse image that you plan to use as a texture. One thing you can do is modify the look of the image, changing the color, contrast, and other things.
Next, you can create a height map. The height map generation has a lot of different settings that you can use to modify the look of the height map to fit your needs, so they are worth taking some time.
Then, you can create other maps, like metallic, smoothness, or normal map. All these present different settings that help you with the creation of those maps. You can guess that a wrong height map may result in weird looking normal or metallic maps.
There’s actually a “chain” of processes that you should follow when you create your maps. For example, you have to create a height map before you create a normal or ambient occlusion map. This chain is actually mentioned on their website, but you can also see it in the image below.
After you finish creating all the maps, you can preview the full material inside the application. You can preview the material on different models and see how it behaves. One thing you cannot do (unless I somehow missed it) is import your own model, though.
The quality of the renderer is pretty good. One thing you can do is add some post-processing effects to get a fancier look at your material, which is a really nice touch and can let you see your material in a more professional looking environment. However, it’s not like the post-processing gives you a lot of options like color correction or tone mapping. You only get the basic DOF, bloom and some lens effects.
The app is only 66mb, which I think is very nice. Not only because it results in a small download (maybe not a big issue when you have fast internet connections), but also because it will not consume a lot of disk space. Also, as I said before, the tool is completely free, meaning that you can go get it right now and test it out. If you are into 3d game development and you are not using a more advanced (and paid) application to create your textures (like Substance Designer, for example), you should definitely try out Materialize.
Get Materialize: http://www.boundingboxsoftware.com/materialize/index.php