In order to use the full compliment of textures on the collection it is advised that you set up your Material Editor to take advantage of the masks, overlays, bump and specular maps. The specular and bump maps should be accomodated for already with their respective map channels but in order to help compensate for tiling issues when repeating your colour maps we have included masks and overlays to help deal with the problem.
It is a commonly known fact that when a texture is tiled more and more there are subtle patterns that begin to become more apparent which at first may be almost invisible. The reason for this is that real world sources such as walls and paving are not perfectly symmetrical in terms of their surface and so when you take a photo of a selected area such as a wall and then repeat this in a 3D package you notice an unrealistic pattern emerging – the bane of any texture artist! In order to nullify this somewhat we have made numerous overlay maps that can be mixed with a tileable texture using a mask as a way of controlling which areas are visible.
In other words the mask is used to obscure problem areas and reveal the overlay map which is never tiled in order to create a unified surface which avoids symmetry. The following tutorial which is done in Max is aimed at helping the novice apply these maps and understand their value.
|Once you have your object apply a material to it in the usual fashion. You can see in Fig 1 that the material is the default Standard one. Next click on the map button next to the diffuse slot and select Mix from the browser.|
|The diffuse slot now contains a mix map which itself contains 3 slots – two colour slots and a mix amount. Click on the slots and load in your colour map in the top one, the overlay map in the second one and finally apply the mask map to the lower slot as seen in Fig2.|
|You can now tile the colour map but be sure to tile the mask, bump, specular and normal maps by the exact amount so that the textures correspond. The only one you should leave untiled is the overlay map which should always remain at 1.0. When you click on the three slots you will be presented with the coordinates dialogue box as seen in Fig 3. It is here that you set up the number of times you wish to miltiply your texture. You can see in the example that it is the colour map (highlighted in red) that has been tiled by two (ringed in red).|
|In order to apply the Normal map click on the bump map slot and select Normal bump from the browser as seen in Fig 4.|
|You will then be faced with normal bump parameters as seen in Fig 5. Simply load the normal map into the corresponding top slot and the bump map into the one below remembering off course to keep the tiling consistent with the other maps.|
When applying the overlay maps you may need to try a few before you find the most suitable one as they differ in terms of their contrast and colouration. This is because there is a wide variety of colour maps that cover an array of subjects and so in order to cater for everything, numerous overlays are necessary. A picture with a high level of contrast and a more expansive palette will more than likely require an overlay map to match where as a more monochromatic one with a smaller tonal range will beg for the opposite. What follows is a brief example of how the right sort of overlay can make a difference and make for a more realistic and subtle look to your texturing. For the benefit of anyone new to Photoshop there is also a short explanation of how to alter existing maps to get the look you are after.
|If you look at Fig 6 you will notice that the image is tiled twice in both directions and as a result there are some repeatable patterns such as the knot and red tint along the length of one of the boards.|
|When we apply an overlay we will see how this remedies the problem and makes it look far less apparent as seen in Fig 7. Although we have alleviated it to some degree the overlay is not great as it looks a bit patchy and is at odds with the colour of the wood somewhat.|
|When we substitute this with a different one that is more in tune with the colours of the wood image you can see a more subtle and effective result as seen in Fig 8. There is no reason why either of the overlays cannot be used but as a rule of thumb it is often best to choose a map that has a similar contrast and colouration to the photo in question.|
What follows is a beginner’s account of how you can quickly alter the overlay maps to suit your textures using Photoshop.
|If you look at Fig 9 you will see that the cloth texture has been tiled and uses an overlay map that has a strong contrast and creates the appearance of dirt. It breaks up the image quite well but needs to be a bit more subtle.|
|If we look at the map (Fig 10) we can see a large tonal range and one that leans towards a red as opposed to a blue palette. What we shall do is reduce the contrast and give the map a bluer colour so it more closely matches our cloth.|
|Open up the file in Photoshop and then under Select – Colour Range use the colour picker toselect the darker areas as seen in Fig 11. Click OK and then once again choose Select and go to Feather and change the number to 5 pixels. This will effectivley soften the selection boundary.|
|Then under Image- Adjustments- Colour Balance begin to shift the colour range towards the blue and green areas similar to Fig 12. Once this is done invert the selection area (Select – Inverse) and do the same thing to the rest of the image. You can vary the settings slightly if you wish.|
|With this done make sure you deselect everything and then go to Image-Adjustments-Brightness/Contrast and reduce the contrast and increase the brightness similar to Fig 13. All that is left to do now is blur the image by going to Filter-Blur-Gaussian Blur and once this is done you can then re apply your overlay and hopefully see a better result.|
|I made some changes to the map in question and when used on the cloth it produced a far more subtle effect (Fig 14).|
|These are just a few quick and simple ways in which you can tailor the maps to better suit your needs but ultimately it is a subjective decision and depends entirely on what you wish to achieve.|