Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How to Texture Like a Pro Part III

Well, if you thought the past tutorial might have been a tedious job, Let me introduce you to the "Black and White Phase" of the texturing process. This Step places the objects surface anatomy down on a Photoshop File, in a way so that you can use that surface to locate the placement of subsequent Insignia, an allow you to use parts of the surface as "selection masks" for certain effects like Cloth Covering, or slight variation in panel lines for unpainted aircraft, or weathering. The preparation and organization of the Photoshop file following this method, will allow you to create camouflage and marking variations of your object, without having to repaint things from scratch.

If you remember the last post, this is how we left our plane to be textured. Here we see the plane surrounded by a completed scaffolding in Red. The build Grid is in place and "regularized" So that the amount of distortion is minimized and a single Map can be used over multiple prims for a seamless coverage. Having have done this in the last tutorial the next step is to open Photoshop and prepare the file.

It is suggested you take a systematic approach, starting from the front of the object and move backwards, so that you don't miss anything. As you move from front to back, you should move from bottom to top in your Photoshop Layers. Photoshop is organized as if you are looking down on top of a stack of layers, Organizing these layers, and there will be a lot of them, is key to not driving yourself mad looking for things. Another important point is to name each layer with a name relating to the part of the object you are texturing, For instance "cowling & flaps", "forward Fuselage", and in the future use that for subsequent layers relating to those prims. This will become important later, and will be shown in Part Four.

So with Sl and Photoshop open, it's time to begin the next step. With the Build texture as your base layer, and a layer above that as pure white, with the opacity turned down so you can still read the numbers and see the grid, next. Make a new layer and name it. On this layer you will only be putting down black lines. you may, or may not anti-alias, up to you , but anti-aliasing will occur when you drop the image size from 1000 x 1000 pixels to 512 x 512 or smaller as is necessary. But on this layer you may want to put down lines of 2 pixels wide or thicker so they will still be solid black lines when reduced and uploaded to SL for checking.

Reduce the files to 512 or so when you upload them to SL to save on memory and speed the loading time without getting too much loss of detail. Upload the file and apply it to the prims, and check for errors. It might be in your interest to enter the Beta Grid and apply and test textures there as you have 25000 Lindens free to use to upload texture with, so apply them to the object and adjust as necessary. Here we have the cowling and the cowling flap textures added. The scaffolding, has it's transparency turned up to its highest to check the line and line placement.

Working front to back, the next section, consisting of more than one prim, but all regularized to use the same map. In the end it may become more than one map but the essential outside details need to be the same on both maps to present a seamless appearance.

Here we see the wings. Each wing here is two prims, The curved part, and then the outer panels. Unfortunately, this black and white stage is the most tedious process of the whole texturing step, but it's a necessary step. No other part of this project illustrate this more than the wing and its scaffolding. Just go through the process, and check your maps against the source material.

Here we see the wing map completed. The blue sections on the wing represent areas that on the real aircraft are cloth covered. The reason for the blue is that they are on a separate layer and will become what are known as "selection masks". The use of these is to select areas on other layers to work on, or to apply effects to.

Here we see the wing map opens up and how it's organized.

The canopy too needs to be scaffolded and then painted. but since sculpties have only one "Face" or surface, you have scaffold "through" them to paint both sides.

Another step, but often done during the line phase is to apply the insignia. Because the map is so stretched when applied to a sculptie, one has to approach them the same was as the scaffolding. Building the stars and Bars out of Prims and then applying them to the wing.

However with he insignia, you start from the inside (star) out. Turn the portion you are working on Opaque and the rest transparent, putting each element on it's one layer.

Also Displayed is the map showing the insignia, and how distorted you have to paint it, just to it looks reasonably straight and true when on the plane.

Coming Soon: Part IV. Full color and Photoshop techniques the pros use to save time and enhance Realism. See you soon!