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Making Of 'Scarecrow'

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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For the barrel, I had already created UV maps and colour texture. So what I did was to use the colour texture in Photoshop and desaturate it. Then I have played with Levels and adjusted the brightness/contrast on each layer to create a mask. When a mask had been created I used it in ZBrush for masking the intensity. This mask then served as a template for sculpting and it also helped me to fine-tune the details on the barrel (Fig. 10).  

Fig. 10

Normal Maps

To create normal maps I exported the high polygon geometry to OBJ format and used it in Maya. It's important to have high polygon geometry on top of low polygon geometry so that the objects overlap. The low polygon model had to be mapped.

For the under lighting/shading I selected Transfer Maps.
In the Transfer Maps window, under the Target Meshes rollout, I added low poly and high poly under Source Meshes. In the Output rollout, I selected normal map and set the destination of where to export the texture. The Map space was set to Tangent.

In Maya's common output rollout, the resolution for the width and height was set up to: "Sampling quality" to High, "Filter type" to Triangular and "Ignore Mirrored Faces" was ticked.

When all the high polygon parts had been baked onto a normal map, I combined them in Photoshop to create just one texture (Fig. 11).

Fig. 11

  1. For the fine details, the height map had been created for parts like the seams, material textures, stitches, etc. By using the Normal map filter plug-in in Photoshop, I created a normal map from the height map.
  2. A normal map baked from Maya.
  3. The normal map, made from height map, was overlaid on top of the generated normal map made in Maya. This gave me enough detail for rendering.


When the modelling stage was complete, I began working on the textures. But, first of all, I had to unwrap all of the models! For most parts I used planar mapping projection, except for the round parts where I used cylindrical mapping. Because the image was static, I put all UV seams on the back side. By doing this I avoided all the troubles with seams on the textures. Here is a simple explanation of texturing the jacket on the scarecrow...

Colour Map

  1. First I defined basic colours for every part of the scarecrow. For the jacket, I wanted a red colour so I painted all the jacket parts with red.
  2. The second step was adding some shading to get basic shapes. For this step, I used the blue channel from the normal map and set it to Multiply. (I could also have used an ambient occlusion (AO) pass, baked from high resolution geometry to low polygon, but since I was creating a still image, I simply baked AO at the end for the whole image.)
  3. The jacket was to be made from leather, so I used a leather texture found in the 3DTotal Textures DVD Collection ( Before using the texture though, I desaturated and adjusted the brightness/contrast to retain the base colour. I then overlaid the leather texture on top of the base colour (Fig. 12).

Fig. 12

  1. The next step was to break up the base colours and add more of an aged look. I used a dirt texture and overlaid it on top of the leather texture, and then adjusted the opacity to about 50%.
  2. To add more details and to define the material a bit more, I created seams for the fabric. Seams were painted by using a small brush with hard edges. I used an almost white colour because it was to be overlaid on top of the dirt layer. After painting seams, I made shadows around those seams to give an impression of depth. For a more irregular look I added small highlights using a white, small brush with the layer set to Screen mode.
  3. I used a lighter red colour with a low opacity to paint highlights onto a new layer, where wrinkles were mostly evident (Fig. 13).

Fig. 13

  1. With a dark red brush, new shadows were added onto a new layer and the mode was set to Soft light. Shadows usually help to define normal maps on small details, such as wrinkles and seams.
  2. Here, I faked some of the shadows where the buttons meet the jacket (Fig. 14).

Fig. 14

Opacity Maps

For wear and tear on the clothing I made simple opacity maps. Black pixels are transparent, while white pixels are visible. I used the same technique for the birds' feathers and wheat leaves. This was a quick and efficient way of adding more details to simple polygons (Fig. 15).

Fig. 15

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