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Low-Poly Character Modeling and Texturing

By Athey Nansel-Moravetz
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Date Added: 9th December 2009
Software used:
3ds Max, Photoshop

For the bottom of the shoe I once again used the Liquify filter to get it to actually line-up with the bottom shoe UVs. Once I was done with laying out all of the shoe's base textures I filled the background layer with a dark grey from the shoe and created a new texture on top of everything (but below the UV reference).

473_tid_040_shoes5.jpg
Okay, once again I used the paintbrush tool with a solid round brush, and opacity set to around 50%. I used a larger brush at first to get in some larger areas of color on the trouble areas like the tops of the foot, and the toe of the shoe. I used a smaller brush (usually size 2 or 3) from then on though. For the seams I highly recommend going on another new layer and after you've painted in some of the seam edges, do a Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen on them and you'll get good results. To get the noise I want in the final texture, I used a lot cross-hatching sort of coloring. I also painted in the laces manually myself.

Remember to pay attention to the exposed seam and make sure it lines up correctly in 3dsmax.

473_tid_040_shoes6.jpg
473_tid_040_shoes8.jpg
When I was satisfied with the texture, I flattened it and scaled it down. The image that I created my texture at was 256x256 but my final image was half that. Image > Resize Image and change the values to 128x128. Now I applied a Sharpen (Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen) and saved it as a .tga file.

The shoe geometry is much smaller then the rest of the model so it really doesn't need a texture the size of the rest of the parts, but I still prefer to make the texture at a higher res and then size it down to get in more detail.

473_tid_040_shoes7.jpg

Onto the Jacket

I did the shirt a lot like I did the pants. First I laid down a base texture layer with no shades or wrinkles, etc. Put in details like pockets and a zipper, and once I had that done, THEN I went in and added wrinkles the same way I did the pants.

473_tid_041_torso.jpg
I did do one thing significantly differently with the torso then I did with the pants. I put seam detail myself to emphasize the seams. After making the base texture above, I switched to the Pen Tool and drew in lines for all the seams. They'll be on their own layer so create a new layer above your base texture and choose a darker color from the image and then in the color picker make it even darker. This will be the color of the seams.

473_tid_041_torso2.jpg
Pay attention because if you've never done this, it's easy to miss this and get confused. Right now the lines are just vector paths. They aren't actually apart of the image yet. We are going to "Stroke" the paths with the paintbrush tool. But first we need to set the paintbrush tool the way we want it. So go to the paintbrush tool, set the brush size to 1 or 2, and set the opacity to 100%.

Now select the pen tool again and Right-Click anywhere in your image and choose Stroke Path from the drop-down.

From the window that comes up, choose Brush from the drop-down, make sure that simulate pressure is NOT checked and click OK.

473_tid_041_torso3.jpg
Now we're going to make the highlights around the seams. Right-click again and choose Delete Path from the drop-down. Now with the pen tool draw in a few areas where there would be highlights on the seams. Create another new layer and set your current color to a lighter version of your main color (near white-ish if necessary) and stroke the new paths.

Once I was happy with the seams, I created two new layers, a Shds and HLs layer. (Shds Mode set to multiply, and HLs Mode set to Screen) and began painting in wrinkles just like I did earlier with the legs.

Having a reference of what the wrinkles should look like well be very helpful here so if you can find one, that's best.

473_tid_041_torso5.jpg
Just like with the pants, I started out with rough scribble marks to get the shape started and laid out. Then I went back in and smoothed them out. The jacket has a seam that you need to watch for. Since the front isn't mirrored (to avoid overly obvious symmetry in the texture) one side is exposed here. You'll need to make sure that the seam on that side of the short isn't too obvious.

473_tid_041_torso6.jpg

Once I had the shds in place, I put in the highlights. Same as before - scribble placing and then smoothing and putting in details.

473_tid_041_torso7.jpg
Once I was done with the shades and highlights I did an extra step. I created another layer above them all and picked a dark grey / grey-bluish color and painted in around some of the darker shaded areas, and then went in and smudged them to blend it with the colors behind. This was just to give it some better color depth.

473_tid_041_torso8.jpg




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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
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(ID: 250088, pid: 0) Again on Thu, 06 February 2014 11:06pm
Best tutorial for unwrapping !!! lots of usefull tips !!!
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(ID: 205261, pid: 0) SEMO on Mon, 01 July 2013 10:14pm
great tutorial , can i make one by max scripts that include all process in order if i want to use this script in making human models ?
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(ID: 200880, pid: 0) Chris on Mon, 03 June 2013 12:59am
Nice tutorial, very informative! I recommended this to some fellow students for a project we are doing. Well done!
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(ID: 189928, pid: 0) Sudhir on Sun, 31 March 2013 3:39am
Very good tutorial for beginers I've made the same thing in 3ds max
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(ID: 97832, pid: 0) Kjuu on Sun, 25 March 2012 4:03pm
Great tutorial. I'm just starting with 3d graphic and that helped me alot. Thanks! PS. XellD, it's much easier to use planes and apply images on them. Then you can easily manage their size.
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(ID: 89163, pid: 0) Sizza on Mon, 27 February 2012 10:03am
A very in depth tutorial, just what I'm looking for, need to download 3DS MAX to try it! Thanks for your time making this.
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(ID: 88868, pid: 0) ErroR on Sat, 25 February 2012 3:27pm
Excellent tutorial. Covers everything in-depth while keeping it pretty simple. Will definitely try this soon. Thanks!
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(ID: 82242, pid: 0) Djcliverson on Thu, 26 January 2012 10:40pm
Great tutorial, these were my first few days of 3d graphics, and you teached me really a lot, easy and funny, thank you so much
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(ID: 79580, pid: 0) Tanbeen Amin on Tue, 17 January 2012 10:26am
Thank you very much for your tutorial... :) i needed this ..!
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(ID: 75265, pid: 0) XellD on Tue, 03 January 2012 12:08am
OK, i don't know if this is still recently read, but I got stuck already on the first page. When I add Backgrounds for front and left viewport (even if I take yours), they end up not being the same height for the feet (also both pictures have the same resolution and so on, as you mentioned). I found many people on forums having the same problem: the background image cannot be aligned inside of 3DS Max. What can I do about that?
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(ID: 72538, pid: 0) Krisu on Wed, 21 December 2011 4:32pm
That is what i was looking for, this kind of tutorials! Thanks you all so much! >_
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