Making Of 'Qwerk'

This tutorials uses 3ds max, Texporter, Photoshop and the Total Texture CD 7. I don't claim to be responsible for thinking of these methods, I simply learnt it from doing lots of tutorials, practicing and talking to friendly people on forums, hopefully I can pass something on.

The Basics

Right, lets assume you've never applied any mapping to an object in your 3d program. It all looks quite daunting at first doesn't it? But never fear, its really straightforward and just requires a bit of patience to get some good results.

We'll start by jumping in at the deep end and texture the shoulder bolts/covers for Qwerk. These are really simple objects as only one side is visible and it is flat. So select the first cover, go to your modifier stack and apply a UVWmap modifier. We'll use a planar map, which it should default to, and apply it to the Z axis. You should see a yellow square surrounding the disc. This is the gizmo that we use to 'map' our textures onto the mesh. A planar map is very simple and only applies the texture in the selected axis. It will cover the whole object, though the same image will appear on both sides and the texture merely stretches across the sides. Not very good looking, but as it is hidden here, it does not matter.

No need to take my word for it, lets apply a texture so you can see for yourselves. Open up the material editor, and create a new raytrace material. Name it something appropriate like shoulder/bolt mat. Now click the grey box that is next to the diffuse colour, and on the following menu choose 'bitmap'. I used --handle007.jpg-- for this one. Now repeat this step for the reflection slot using the corresponding bump map, then drag and drop the same map into the specular level and bump slots. To finish off, click the white box next to the reflect channel until the word 'fresnel' appears, this will make the material reflect more when it is looking away from the camera. Then adjust your specular level to about 150 and your glossiness to 40. Now drag and drop this to your object and render a preview to see the mapping in effect. Very nice, but the handle in the middle is a bit small at the moment. There are a few ways to crop our images, but the easiest solution is to simply scale our mapping gizmo. To help us judge the size we should scale it to, we'll need to click the checkered cube icon to display the map in the viewport and activate texture correction in the perspective viewport options. Now, select the gizmo in your modifier stack by clicking the + sign next to the UVWmap modifier, then selecting gizmo. It should turn yellow, while the gizmo in the viewport turns blue. Simply treat it as an object and scale it universally from the center until the image fits the mesh a bit better. Try another render, then sit back and marvel at your first mapped object. Easy isn't it?

The Next Step

Ok, we've applied a simple map to a simple object and it was pretty straightforward don't you think? Now we're going to apply multiple materials to the head. As usual there is a few ways you can go about this, I have used selection sets in this
case because the model allowed it. Right, the first step is to define our material id's for the mesh. There will be different materials applied to the face and the rest of the head, so max has to know which faces are going to receive each texture. In editable poly, use the face select mode to select the main polygons that make up the face. Once these are selected, use the 'grow' tool to literally grow the selection. There were 3 sections for the seam, so 2 clicks of grow should select enough faces to hide the change in materials. Now, scroll down to the bottom of your modify panel and under 'polygon properties' use the 'set id' to change the id to 2. If you use the 'select id' underneath and set it to 1, all of the other polys that make the head should be selected. Lets move on.

We are going to use a planar map for the face portion and a spherical map, with a different texture, for the rest of the head. A planar map helps because it allows us to apply detail to the face with little or no stretching, and the spherical map should also reduce stretching around the sides and back of the model, we can hide the seam for this behind the face texture, as it won't be visible on those faces.

Lets do the spherical one first, make sure you are just in select mode and apply a UVWmap modifier to the stack. This time we need a spherical map, it should default to the X axis, which is fine, we just need to adjust it slightly to fit our model. Click the 'fit' button near the bottom of the modifier panel, this will get a best fit for the map. Now select the gizmo, notice how one line on the circle is green? This is where the map will start/stop on our object. Rotate the gizmo so the green line is facing forward. Now the planar map. Apply another UVWmap modifier to the head and leave it as planar. We need to tell this to map another channel, channel 1 is already taken by the spherical map, so lets just use 2. Lastly, using rotate on the gizmo, align it to best fit the face selection, then click 'fit' to resize it automatically. That's it, we have now applied two maps to our head and prepared the model so it knows which material it has.

So lets make a material for it. Firstly we need a multi/sub-object material, click the material type near the bottom right of the preview panes and select it from the following menu. We only need 2 materials, so you can delete any that are extra, now choose 2 different base colours for these by clicking the grey square to the right of the material slot, then apply the material to the object. See how the colours are showing our face selections? The first material slot is colouring the main part of the head and the second is filling the face. Good stuff, now we just need to apply our maps. 'But what maps?' I hear you cry. I thought you'd never ask.

Now we've gone through all that work to map the head, it would be a shame to just slap some basic textures on there, so lets make something custom made for our character. We need a guide to know where to paint our textures so lets use Texporter to generate a picture of our maps. There are lots of tutorials available for Texporter so I'll just cover what we need. For our spherical map, the height:width ratio should be 1:2 to get a map in proportion. It should already be using map channel 1, deselect 'Mark overlaps' and choose to colorize by a 'constant' colour. Use 'Pick object' and click on the face. Texporter will now render an image of our object as viewed by our mapping gizmo. Looks weird doesn't it? But its cool, this is what we will use as a guide to paint our texture, you can see the seam on each edge of the image, there should be half of the face on each side. While we're using Texporter lets generate an image of our second map. This time check the dimensions of the map in the modifier panel so we know how to proportion our image size. Select 'map channel' 2, then select 'only id' and set it to 2. Now pick the head again. You should get another render, this time as viewed by the planar map but without the rest of the faces that make the head, just the ones for the face. You do? Cool, lets move on to the fun part. 

Painting textures is by far the most enjoyable aspect of texturing, but it can also be a headache when you start with a blank canvas. Fortunately I'm using the Total Textures CD so I've got loads of inspiration to choose from. Lets do the face first. I used --hull009.jpg-- as the base for this one. In your paint software, open the map you made of the face, create a new layer and drag the hull image into it. Reduce the opacity slightly so you can see your wireframe underneath. Now start adding detail, really that's the best way I can explain it. Using images from the CD or anything else at your disposal, add layers over your base using either 'darken' or 'multiply' for the darker areas and 'screen' or 'Overlay' for the lighter ones. By building up layers of detail you can create convincing textures. Try to think where weathering might occur and where dirt will build up, what effect water would have on the different materials, anything that may happen to the texture if it was in 'Real' use, but don't try to be accurate.

Here's a little trick I use all the time to help randomise my textures a bit more. On the rest of the head, I created a base by using hull images 023 and 024 and tiling them alternately across the image then collapsing all the layers into one. Now it looks obviously tiled, but by simply using some grunge maps I can break it up a little. Create a layer mask for the base colour, now use a grunge map as the mask, and hey presto, no more obvious tiling. This also gives me another advantage. If I want to add a slight hint of a base paint under the main red colour, I can simply duplicate the layer, adjust the colour to something appropriate (an off white in this case) and then put it below the base colour. By adjusting the brightness/contrast
of the mask, I'm able to show or hide the layer underneath through the holes in the above layer.

Another method I use while painting textures is to arrange my layers into groups so I can quickly duplicate and then alter them to create specularity and bump maps on the fly. The rest of it is all in your head, if you will. Experiment and play with settings and colours to add more life to your texture.

That's It

The rest of Qwerk was textured using these methods too. The legs and the arms had more material ids than the face and the body, but otherwise it's the same idea. By using different methods in different areas you can texture anything, just keep experimenting and reading and before long you'll find yourself doing it without thinking.

Mark Dooney

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