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Warehouse scene: Composite maps vs Unwrapping - using Total Textures

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Date Added: 10th December 2009
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This particular scene was used as the basis for two chapters in 3DCreative magazine, as part of a tutorial dedicated to post production techniques. The series focused on how Photoshop can be used to enhance 3D renders by way of compositing different passes as well as looking at the numerous image adjustments that are frequently used in the process.

During this tutorial we will focus on the advantages of using Composite maps to create a multi-layered level of detail and show how texture co-ordinates can be manipulated within the material editor to avoid unwrapping geometry.

Composite maps work in a similar way to the blending modes available in the Layers palette in Photoshop and enable various textures to be combined on a single surface. As we will see, they also incorporate the use of masks which can offer further control over how each map appears in relation to one another.

In this case we will be looking at how these are used in conjunction with 3ds Max, but these techniques and materials should be applicable in other 3D packages too.

The majority of the textures used in this tutorial came from the 3DTotal Textures collection.

{Total Textures Collection V1 - V19}

Fig.01 shows the scene in question: a simple corridor with the camera placed at one end and the corresponding view (inset). It is set in an industrial context and one that is in a state of decay with crumbling walls, debris, damaged pipe work and loose cables. The textures need to reflect this state of decay and so I used quite a few from 3DTotal's most suitable texture collections, notably Total Textures V02:R2 - Aged & Stressed , and Total Textures V05:R2 - Dirt & Graffiti

Fig. 01

The main part of the scene is composed of the actual corridor itself, which is a single mesh as seen in Fig.02. This has been assigned a Multi Sub-Object material which means that an ID number is allocated to each face and corresponds to a material ID. In this case the corridor mesh has been divided into five sets, as shown in the material editor on the left. These five ID numbers make up the entire mesh, e.g. the floor polygons are assigned the number 2, the left wall 3 etc.

Fig. 02

Therefore when a texture is applied to Sub-Material 4 it will appear on the back wall only.
Most of these five Sub-Materials are assigned a Composite map, which means that when the material tab is clicked for ID 2 (Floor (Standard)), for example, it opens another sub level where the standard Diffuse or Color map is labeled a Composite (Fig.03).

Fig. 03

continued on next page >

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Valerie on Tue, 29 January 2013 1:30pm
Where is Fig 17? It seems to be missing from the page. Thanks, this is excellent. (Admin note: Image uploaded, thanks for notifying us)
Alberto on Wed, 08 August 2012 11:48pm
Thanks, excelent.
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