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Leaf Project

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Date Added: 30th December 2010
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Before we start with the tutorial I want to make it clear that this tutorial uses both 3dmax and photoshop and its not designed for complete beginners at photoshop nor max since there are going to be things that I'm not going to explain such as the position of some tools, adjusting brush sizes, creating layers etc.. nor simple commands of max's user interface such as applying bitmaps nor other map types, exact position of map settings but if you get stuck in a certain area or don't know how to do a certain command don't give up quickly, make sure to take a quick look at the reference manual for either max or photoshop to answer your questions. Painting textures can be very time consuming but very rewarding and maybe you won't like how things are going in the beginning but it will start looking better as it progresses.

Even though this tutorial uses 3d max, I'm sure that people using other 3d packages would benefit from it since the tutorial is mostly dedicated to painting textures with photoshop, but I will also supply with a leaf model in other formats if you want to import it to your 3d package, note that the leaf model already has texture coordinates so you would simply have to take a screenshot of the uv map or bake the procedural color in order to follow along in the painting section.

A short summary of this tutorial would be that its goal is not to simply teach how to paint a leaf with photoshop but to teach texturing methods and techniques that could be applied to every texture you make. The goal is to learn more about texturing as a whole and learn the role that specific map types play on our 3d surfaces and how can we use those maps to make our 3d objects look and interact with virtual lights more realistically therefore our leaf object will include: A color map, bump map, specular map, diffusion map, dirt blend map, translucency map, a Reflection map, and a luminosity map. The map types will be explained more in depth in there specific section of the tutorial.

One of the most important keys when painting your own textures is to have lots of references, that way you can observe how the surface is composed. Break up the surface into multiple components such as color, bump, specularity, diffusion, dirt, luminosity or how much that surface self-illuminates, and translucency.

I think everyone already knows that when you make a color map what you try to capture is the surface's color but when painting textures always try to paint all the details in that object such as the faded areas in metal, rust, damage caused by the sun, even water drips and blood stains, scars etc.. we don't want to leave anything behind, you might think that a certain detail is not important or only makes a subtle difference and maybe not include it but they are important because these are the things that are going to separate your artwork from others and without those subtle differences your surface will look like its missing something to others and especially to yourself as a texture artist, I personally am not happy until I know that my surface acts and looks as its real life counterpart.

The things you try to capture for you bump map is the way that surface feels, you try to capture how that surface is distorted even with the smallest of details, like for example a real leaf my feel very smooth just by touching it but by looking closely you realize that that leaf is composed of very small bumps all throughout its surface and notice how damaged areas also have an impact on how the surface feels, you try to observe all of those details and include them in our bump map. Bump mapping should also be used to back up the information in our color map, like if you add drops of blood or water in the color map you would need to ad those details to the bump maps as well to make it appear as if the liquid had volume and if you add scratches or dents to the color map those should also be included in the bump map as well.

With specularity we try to capture the way that a given object reflects light, therefore its really important to have references of that object under different lighting conditions to get a better idea of how exactly that given object reflects and how the environment around it has affected its reflection. That given object may be wet, dry, dirty, clean, soft, hard, new, or old, all of these properties are important to include in your specular map. A specular map should be used to back up the information in the bump and color maps as well, like the scratches In the bump and color maps, normally light would get trapped more in a scratch or crack on the object's surface therefore that area would be less reflective therefore that should be included in your specular map, or if your adding drops of water or blood those areas would tend to reflect a light source more therefore that information should also be included in your specular map.

Here are the baked color maps, this contains the baked procedural color and the baked wire frame reference if you want to skip the texture baking sections and go straight to the texture painting sections, they
are jpg format with the resolution of 2048x2048 (you can resize of you desire). This was made with users with older versions of max in mind (can be used for other applications as well) since texture baking was implemented in version 5. I would recommend to delete the black background in the images using color range in photoshop in order to maintain alpha transparency in the layers (witch plays an important role in the tutorial).

Here's the 3dmax scene file with the unwrapped leaf model (max5).
Here's the obj, 3ds,xsi, and lwo format leaf model if you want to import and work with
it in another application.
Here are two fingerprint images that you can use for making custom fingerprint brushes that will come into play when making our specular map.

The tutorial is broken up into several parts:

Making the initial base color with procedural maps (3DS Max)
Baking Initial Base color (3DS Max)
Making the Color map (Photoshop)
Making the Bump map (Photoshop)
Making the Specular map (Photoshop)
Making the Diffusion map (Photoshop)
Making the Dirt Blend map (Photoshop)
Making the Reflection Level map (Photoshop)
Making the Translucency Level map (Photoshop)
Making the Luminosity Map (Photoshop)
Making seam layers (Photoshop)
Applying our maps (3DS Max)
Faking blurry refractions using reflections (3DS Max)
Faking Translucency (3DS Max)
Creating the dirt shader (3DS Max)
Rendering tips (3DS Max and Photoshop)
Final Renders and additional information

Make sure to visit the author's website to download this tutorial in pdf-format!

continued on next page >

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