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Fantasy Letter

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Date Added: 24th March 2010
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You get to create an old piece of paper and the tutorial takes you through all the steps. You need to know the basics of both Lightwave and Photoshop, though the tutorial is step by step it does not explain where everything is or what things do.


Okay, we'll do a tutorial on heavy texturing now, turning a simple flat plane with a bunch of polygons into an old piece of paper with handwriting on it. 50% of the work will be done in Photoshop, and there's where we'll start. In the end, you'll hopefully have something looking like the following picture.

Picture 1: The finished image


Lets get going! Start by loading up Photoshop. I'm using version 6 but I'm sure this can be done in earlier versions to. Set the background colour to white, and the foreground colour to black, and then create a new document - 21cm wide and 29cm high.

Select the Airbrush tool, and then change the pressure to 100%. I am using the smallest of the sharp square brushes, look at picture 2 to check my settings.

Picture 2: The settings for the airbrush tool

Okay, what we'll do now is draw a line how we want the edges of our Fantasy letter to look. Put some time in this to get a good result, picture 3 is my creation. Start drawing about 1cm in on the image, and not at the very edges.

Picture 3: Draw an outline using the airbrush tool

Save this outline as outline.jpg somewhere on your hard-drive now, if something should go wrong we are safe. Finished with that part? Good, select the Paint bucket tool, and set the pressure to 100%. Now click somewhere on the outer side of this line to fill it with black, looking something like picture 4. Note, the following picture is smaller than the actual image; it's just to show you what part should be filled with black.

Picture 4: Fill the outer area with black

The first map we will create for Lightwave is the Clip Map, but before we need to make sure that the edges are really sharp, and we can fix this by adjusting the Levels. Use the Magnify tool and zoom in a corner of your paper, looking something like picture 5. I zoomed in the lower left corner.

Picture 5: A zoomed in corner; note the AntiAliasing that we need to get rid of

Okay, select "Image -> Adjust -> Levels" and a panel should appear. Use the following settings.

Picture 6: Adjust the Levels with the settings in the window. Note how the AntiAliasing disappears

Click OK when you've entered the values shown, and the AntiAliasing is gone, now you can zoom out again to regular size. This is it for our Clip Map. Select "Save As" in the File menu and set the filename to "Paper_Clip.jpg".

Okay, lets get on with creating a transparency map. In the History Panel, the latest action should be the "Levels" one, as in picture 7.

Picture 7: History Panel

We need to undo the last action here, so click on the "Paint Bucket" action in the history panel; this will remove the "Levels" action. Okay, we will apply a filter to the edges of this paper now to use as transparency later on, so select "Filter -> Sketch -> Water Paper". Set the Fiber Length to 4, the Brightness to 70 and the Contrast to 77, then click OK.

The edges of our paper will now be "fiberized". Save this image as "Paper_Transp.jpg".

Okay, now we need a Displacement Map. Undo the Fiber action in the History Panel and get back to the last Paint Bucket action (like before when we undo'ed the Adjust Levels action).

Select the Magic Wand tool, set the Tolerance to 30 in the Magic Wand Options panel and then click somewhere on the outer black area. This will make a selection that follows the outer line perfectly. In the menu, choose "Select -> Inverse", which will inverse the selection so we are working with the white area.

Select "Edit -> Preferences -> Guides & Grid" and set the Gridline to every 50 pixels. Also set the subdivisions to 1, then click OK. Turn on the Grid from the "View -> Show" menu, but turn off Snap to Grid. What you have now should look something like picture8.

Picture 8: Grid is on, Snap to Grid is off, and the Magic Wand tool has been used

Select the Airbrush tool and set the pressure to 5%. Select a 35 sized soft round brush from the brushes panel and then paint the edges here and there to add some darker areas. Then pick out a vertical grid line that is closest to the middle of the paper, and paint along that grid line. Then use 2 horizontal grid lines and paint along those. Look at picture 9 and you'll know what I mean.

Picture 9: Use the Airbrush to darken the edges, and also the middle vertical grid, and two horizontal grids

You can change sizes of brushes as you like, but try to get as similar to picture 9 as possible. Also use a big brush, 100-200, and paint all over the image to get rid of all the white. When you are done, deselect the selection and save this as "Paper_Disp.jpg".

Now use the Magic Wand tool again to select the outer black area, and then inverse the selection. Change the Background colour to R: 215 G: 182 B: 131, and the Foreground colour to R: 236 G: 202 B: 142.

Use the "Edit -> Fill" tool and then fill this selection with 100% background colour. Select "Filters -> Texture -> Texturizer" and use the following settings.

Picture 10: The Texturizer settings

Click OK and the texture should apply within the selection borders.

Select the Airbrush tool and set the pressure to 10%, the mode to Color Burn and also select a soft round brush with 100 in size. Then paint here and there within the selected area so it looks something like picture 11.

Picture 11: Airbrush here and there
NOTE: the round ring is just my airbrush tool

Do you remember how we painted along a couple of grid lines earlier when we created the displacement map? Well, the displacement map will make those darker areas appear bumpy in the final image, so in this colour image, we will create what will look like worn edges along those grid lines, know what I mean?

I can't explain every paint procedure I do, so I will leave this up to you. For Darker Red and brown areas, simply change the Foreground colour to what colour you want to "burn" the image with (and remember to keep the Mode of the Airbrush tool to Color Burn). Look at picture 12, this is my final colour image; try to create the same effects with your brush tools.

Picture 12: The finished colour Image

When you have finished the work on your colour image, save it as "Paper_Col.jpg".

Only one map left to create! The Text. You can use what you want for this, if you want to create a treasure map, or a letter like me, it's up to you. Create a new project with the same sizes as before (Width: 21cm Height: 29cm). Use a White Background and a Black Foreground colour, then select the Type Tool and start writing your text with a good looking font! You might want to keep the text in the middle of the image, since we will be using clip maps and such later on. Picture 13 is what mine looked like.

Picture 13: The Text we will map on our Letter

Note that I also used the Smudge tool to smear out the text after I created it, making it look a bit older (You don't need to use the smudge tool though). Save this as "Paper_Text.jpg" when you are finished.

continued on next page >

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