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How to create realistic textures
So your probably wondering, how do most games and mods, manage to get their textures so realistic?
Through hard work and determination!
Before we begin, firstly lets go over (my) basic principles of working with Photoshop.
1. Think logically. Although texturing does need a degree of good art skills, it is also very logical. What I mean by this is thinking about what way the light is coming from and which areas of the texture it will hit. It wont look realistic if the shadows are in the wrong place to other areas of the texture! Also when it comes to adding in scratches, don’t just add them here there and everywhere. Think firstly, which parts of the texture is raised. Areas which are raised tend to undergo a larger degree of wear and tear.
2. Never use clipped pictures on your textures. Although you may think this is the easy way out, it isn’t! I hate people who do this. Number one its cutting corners and two the chances are, is that picture will be subject to a completely different light source, and when used on top of your texture, will not look right!
Use photos for reference by all means, but believe me, spend that bit more time creating an extra image. Not only will you gain that bit more experience, but the results will pay off.
3. Never use to heavy a brush. When using the paint, burn or dodge tool for shadows, highlights or scratches, use a low opacity and build it up from there. It will take a bit longer, but the results always look better and much more realistic!
Beginings of a texture
In this first tutorial, I will discuss how I begin my textures. When working with a texture, I firstly create a base layer. Wither this be for metal, clothes, buildings etc, and design my texture upon this.
For this first tutorial I will discuss how to create a base metal.
(Ignore most of the images, they are only rough for the purposes for this tutorial)
1. Begin by choosing two similar colours, one a bit lighter and the other a tiny bit darker. Don’t go too over the top when choosing your colours. Make them variate ever so slightly! Then click on the filter > Render > Clouds
2. filter > Artistic > Sponge
3. Change the brightness and contrast to whatever you feel appropriate. Then merge the two layers together.
After this, begin to add basic highlights with the dodge tool and shades with the burn tool, accommodate raises or depressions in the texture. Remember remain on a low exposure when using the brushes. Anything higher than 8%, I would not use. It may take longer but the results look much nicer.
And that is the base for our texture!
Scratches and General Wear
Now to begin adding in the details. You can add scratches to your texture to help improve the realism of it. Bare in mind my first principle! Always think logically. Scratches will mainly occur along raised areas, this is where most wear and tear will take place, so keep this in mind. Always refer back to your Uvs and your model, as this is a great way to see which bits are effected the most.
1. Once you have decided where your scratches will go, create a new layer, get your paintbrush and set it to a size of 1. Lower the opacity to 20 and the flow to 20. Begin rubbing it along the area where you want the scratch to appear. Remember the highest point will take the most impact, so build up this point with the paint!
2. Don’t worry it may look a bit messy right now, but this is where it gets good. Add some noise to the layer, usually around 20-40 dependant. Do not go too over the top. You can if you wish after you have gave it some noise blur it, but I only do this in certain circumstances. It just all comes down to personal opinion and thinking logically. After this reduce the layers opacity to whatever you feel to be correct and you should end up with something like this…
Once this has been done, create another layer and just add abit more paint to the parts of the scratches that need it most.
If you put a bit more time in than what I have on this tutorial, then you will reap the benefits. And when you stop and think, you can end up having the texture look like this..
I will be adding more tutorials in the coming future, and expanding upon this one. So keep an eye out for future updates.
Thank you and best of luck with your texturing!