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Modelling, Mapping and Texturing a Creatures Head

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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The DVD contains 6 movies, 45 stills and 27 pages of printable text on this section

With the modelling done in the first part of the overview we now proceed onto texturing our creatures head. In some case the most fun part as it really brings the whole creature to life.

Painting the skin

Assuming we have now imported our wireframe into Photoshop we are ready to begin painting. First duplicate the Layer (it is called Background at the moment) and call it Wireframe and set the blending mode to Screen. This will be at the top of our Layers Palette and be our Guide in making sure we paint the details in the correct areas on our template. At this early stage I like to create a few key layers that I know we will need later on and which will help structure the texture and keep it organised. There will inevitably be additional layers made during the process but for now it is good to set up the essential group that will form the main backbone of our template. These can be seen in the image below. I usually set the Shadows layer to Multiply and the Highlights one to either Soft Light or Overlay. You can see that the main background is a grey tone and because the wireframe layer is set to Screen we can see through the black areas to this layer but the actual wirefame remains visible. Just below this layer is one I chose to name Guidelines and this is a temporary one that will be used intermittently to test the integrity of the mapping and to check if details are in the correct positions.

Once we have set up our initial layers we can begin by blocking in the base skin tones that will form the basis of our texture. These will be composed of a number of semi-opaque layers that will be combined to reveal a little of each when stacked together in a manner not unlike the technique used by the Old Masters who built up skin tones through a number of partially transparent glazes that would help imbue the characters with a lifelike aura. I find this is an effective approach to painting anything organic and particularly skin which can so easily appear wax like if it does not reflect some level of transparency. For this example I have chosen a purple-grey ( as this is a monster ) and after filling in apply a Noise Filter and adjust the amount to around 25.0 followed by a Gaussian Blur (under Filter Blur) with a Radius of about 2.0. Then apply some more noise this time with the amount around 2.0 and we will end up with something similar to the image below.

This essentially makes up the base skin texture and when complete it is a good idea to put each of the layers into a sub-folder and call it Skin by clicking on the Create New Set button which is ringed in red. When we flatten the image and apply it to our model we get something that looks like the image below .



The skin tones together with the Shadows and Highlights layers form perhaps the most important sections and certainly are the most noticeable but there are many refinements and details that need to be included before we can call our texture finished. These often come about through trial and error but there are a few layers that fall under the banner of Details that we can include in a new set and these will make up skin blemishes and pigmentation differences that shall overlay across the skin to add interest and inconsistencies that are a typical attribute of anything organic. Our first layer we shall name Blemishes1 and this will incorporate one of Photoshop's default brushes called Drippy Watercolour and can be found under the category of Special Effects Brushes as seen in the below image .


continued on next page >

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