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Unconventional Texturing Methods - Metal Balls

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Date Added: 25th June 2009
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Unconventional Texturing Methods

Practice with Metal balls.

Before we move on to an actually game model, I have devised a simply exercise with a simple object that may familiarise us with some of my unconventional techniques.

You will find this exercise useful as the same techniques are used on our tutorial model later. Besides, I do not believe in prescribing how one is to decide actual application of paint. This tutorial will free you from slavishly replicating my decisions on the tutorial basketball player which you can see this Friday 6th July 2007. I think understanding the technique- not copying the method, is of import.

Left: Painted by freehand, Right: Mechanical airbrush with masks

I have here two metal balls. The first, painted by freehand in Photoshop. The second ball, painted mechanically using Photoshop masks, gradient tools and wind blur filters. I will explain later why I rarely use Photoshop's Gaussian blur filter, Smudge or burn tools. For now, we will concentrate on the differences between freehand airbrushing and mechanical airbrushing. (Fig01)

Freehand painting above (Fig02), Mechanical painting below. (Fig03)

A closer look at both balls demonstrates the differences in results. Freehand is great for painting rust buckets and monsters with acne. If you want to do a Toy Story-esque theme, gradient tool based painting is your best bet.

With freehand painting, the artist's imperfect hand movements can be seen. Certain styles require painted smoothness with absolute consistency; this is why gradient tools are used for such textures.

These layers show how I build up my tones in both techniques. You will notice that I used motion blur instead of Gaussian blur for the black base of the second ball. I tend to use motion blur because it adds character to what could potentially be sterile. (Fig04)

I have taken extra care with the first ball keep the tones as smooth as possible, yet, it cannot match the consistency of the tones in the second ball. (Fig05)

As stated previously, I rarely use Gaussian blur. You will discover that with ample use of Gaussian blur, your texture will end up looking wooly. Judicial use of motion blur on the other hand lends character to soft and hard folds, solid walls or even skin.

I have applied Gaussian blur for the large grey area, but to add a certain hardness to the ball I will now use motion blur for several touches. The first of which is a hot spotlight on the side of the ball filled in with solid white. (Fig06)

Each effect is done on a separate layer for maximum control.

Fig. 08

The trick with motion blur is to get the angle right. I have chosen -36 degrees here, I would suggest choosing an angle to your taste. The blur distance is also at your own discretion. The point to remember with these parameters is that blur distance and angle will affect the outcome drastically, judgment must be exercised as to how appropriate such an unconventional application is. (Fig07)

I have added a secondary glaze to the right side using the same method. (Fig08)

Here, we will use some of the most common masking techniques I use for all my masking work.

You may have noticed from my brush pallet that I have several customized brushes. These are designed to suit my disposition. They are easy to design in Photoshop 6. I think Photoshop 7 is un-intuitive at best and quite clumsy in the extreme. However, I digress.

Here, I am trying to create an offset highlight effect. I have created an oval mask. Make sure the oval select menu is set to normal for that non-fixed axis flexibility. I will proceed to shade my chosen position using a large brush. I always use a large brush to disguise hand movement and therefore maintain paint consistency and fine gradient. (Fig09)

continued on next page >

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