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Creating Plants and Flowers

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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The Texturing

So now we have these five pieces of a lily. "What do we do with them?" you ask. Why, we texture them of course! Obviously, texturing is one of the most important aspects of creating a 3D image so be sure to take your time in this section.

Creating the Textures

15. We'll begin with the flower. Load the 'petal.lwo' into Modeler if it's not already there, and drag out the top view so that it encompasses the whole screen. Zoom in on the object now using the Fit All command. You should now be looking at a really big petal from the top. If you have screen capture software you can use it now, otherwise just hit the key on your keyboard. This copies the current image on the screen to the clipboard.

Figure 17

16. Here is where we need Photoshop or any other image-editing program that has 'layers'. I'll be using version 4.0. Open up Photoshop and create a new document. The default size for the document should be whatever your screen resolution is because that is the size of the image currently on the clipboard. Hit 'OK'. Now paste the image from the clipboard into the document. Using the crop tool, crop the document so that the petal fills the whole image. I find that using the Guides to outline the shape of the box before drawing the selection makes this process much easier. See Figure 17 for a visual of this step.

17. Now we can have some fun. Create a second layer on top of the wireframe image. Set the transparency of the new layer to around 80%. This allows us to see through the layer that we're painting on so that we can use the wireframe as a guide without actually painting onto it. Depending upon your equipment, you could either use the Photoshop tools to create the image map, or you could actually scan in a petal of some sort and apply that to the image. It's up to you. I opted to paint my lily by hand with an orange hue. Create the petal texture and then save it as a PSD file. Do not flatten it. Note that the Amiga IFF image loader/saver can be found in the Goodies\Plugins directory of the Photoshop 4.0 CD-ROM. Just copy the file 'aiff8b.8bi' into your Photoshop\Plugins\Formats directory on your hard drive.

Figure 18:Petal pasted into layered document. Click to Enlarge

Figure 19: The final petal texture. Click to Enlarge

18a. Now, go back into Modeler, load up the 'flower.lwo' object, zoom in on it, take a screen shot, and paste it into a new Photoshop document. Crop it around the flower just like we did with the petal. Now, open the petal document and select the second layer that contains the petal image and copy it. Paste it into the new document on top of the wireframe flower. You can see in Figure 18 that only the petal was pasted, not the background wireframe of the petal. That's why we didn't flatten the image earlier.

18b. The rest is simple. Just resize the new layer so that it fits one of the petals and line it up. Clone the layer four more times and use the Transform Layer tools to align each of the five layers with the petals. Make sure that all the layers are now set to 100% opacity and merge the petal layers together. The easiest way to do this is to link them together via the Layers window and then choose 'Merge Linked'. At this point, you might have to do some cloning and touching up here and there to get it just right. Copy the flower layer and paste it into a new, clean white document, flatten it, and save it as an IFF file.'ll be happy to know that the hardest part is behind us. Figure 19.

19. OK, now repeat steps 15-17 for the leaf, except this time at the end of step 17, copy the layer with the leaf texture on it and paste it into a new document, flatten it, and save it. Figure 20 shows you what I came up with.

Figure 20

Figure 21:Bud texture

20. Now for the bud. This is a little trickier to do only because we're creating a cylindrical map rather than a planar map. The first two steps are the same as for the two planar maps that we just created. Get a screen capture of the bud in the face view and crop the document to fit it. Be sure that you crop the image around only the bud, not the stem. Here is where it changes. Paint the side of the bud just as you would paint the leaf or the petal. Once you're finished, copy it to the clipboard and click on 'New' to open up a new document. Once again, the default size of the document should automatically be whatever the size of the image on the clipboard is. Leave the height the way it is, but double the width. Create the new document and paste the image into it. Align the image with one side of the document. You can see that because we doubled the width, there is room for another copy of the image. Duplicate the layer or simply paste the image into the document again and flip this new layer horizontally and line it up with the other side of the document. What you should end up with is two identical images mirrored next to one another (Figure 21). Now flatten the image and if there is a visible seam in the middle where the two layers were connected, paint it out with the clone tool. We should now have three textures: the petal texture, the leaf texture, and the bud texture. We'll be able to use these for the color textures as well as the bump maps. Well, we're finally ready put it all together in Layout, so let's go!

Once you have Layout open, load in the six parts of the flower. Don't worry if they are overlapping on another. That will be changed when we position them later on.


21. Now load in the three image maps that we just created. We'll texture the petal first. Apply the petal's image map to the 'Petal_P_Y' surface as a planar map on the 'Y' axis, just as the surface name indicates. Choose 'Automatic Sizing' and turn off 'Texture Anti-aliasing'. Apply the same image as a planar bump map on the 'Y' axis with the same options. Give the bump map an amplitude of about 100%. As far as the rest of the settings go, I chose what I thought looked best, however you can certainly adjust the surface attributes to your liking. Although these settings are somewhat optional, keep in mind the fact that most plants and even petals have some sort of specularity to their surface, which you should be sure to include on your flowers.

= 0.0%
Diffuse Level = 80%
Specular Level = 15%
Color Highlights = Checked
Glossiness = Medium
Reflectivity = 0%
Transparency = 0%

22. We'll do the same for the leaf. Apply its texture maps in the same manner. The only settings that I changed are the other surfacing attributes.

= 0.0%
Diffuse Level = 90%
Specular Level = 15%
Color Highlights = UnChecked
Glossiness = Medium
Reflectivity = 0%
Transparency = 0%

23. For the bud, just apply its image map as a cylindrical map on the 'Y' axis. Select 'Auto-sizing', turn off texture anti-aliasing, and if you like, apply it as a bump map as well. The rest of the surface settings for the bud are identical to those of the petal.

24. The three stem surfaces ('Budstem_Cyl_Y', 'Stembig_Cyl_Y', and 'Stemsmall_Cyl_Y') can all be surfaced with the leaf color texture. Simply apply it as a cylindrical map along the 'Y' axis. You can also use the leaf's surfacing attributes for the stems. Easy, eh?

25. OK, last but certainly not least is the stamen. The 'stamen' surface was easy...

Color = 240,150,40
Luminosity = 0.0%
Diffuse Level = 90%
Specular Level = 25%
Color Highlights = Checked
Glossiness = Medium
Reflectivity = 0%
Transparency = 0%

...and the 'pollenbud' surface wasn't much harder.

Color = 70,55,30
Luminosity = 0.0%
Diffuse Level = 70%
Specular Level = 10%
Color Highlights = Un-Checked
Glossiness = Medium
Reflectivity = 0%
Transparency = 0%

Well, that's about it for the texturing. The last step in the whole process is simply to assemble the lily and set up some lights.

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Glen D on Wed, 11 January 2012 2:16am
A great tutorial on how to create vegetation. Even though it is very old, the fundamentals here are great.
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