Abstract Interesting textures form on the surfaces of objects as the result of external chemical, mechanical,and biological agents. Simulating these textures is necessary to generate models for realistic image synthesis. The textures formed are progressively variant, with the variations depending on the global and local geometric context. We present a method for capturing progressively varying textures and the relevant context parameters that control them. By relating textures and context parameters, we are able to transfer the textures to novel synthetic objects. We present examples of capturing chemical effects, such as rusting; mechanical effects, such as paint cracking; and biological effects, such as the growth of mold on a surface. We demonstrate a user interface that provides a method for specifying where an object is exposed to external agents. We show the results of complex, geometry-dependent textures evolving on synthetic objects.