Making of 'The Old House'

Introduction

This scene was made especially as a quick test for the Total Textures collection. I mainly used textures from the following DVDs: Aged & Stressed, Around the World: Part 1, Around the World: Part 2, Dirt & Graffiti, and Trees & Plants.

It's very important for every artist to have access to a great texture library. Don't be lazy though: always take a camera with you everywhere you go, to make your own reference photo collections!

Modelling, Lighting & Rendering

There was no special modelling method that I used for this scene - mainly box modelling along with some spline extruding. I started off with a box shape and then gradually kept adding more details. After I was happy with the main building I decided to scatter some props around, to make the scene more realistic and interesting (Fig.01).

Fig. 01

Fig. 01

The lighting itself was kept as simple as possible; I applied a MR Sun and light system which was extremely fast to render and gave me nice results - this works particularly well for outdoor scenes. In order to avoid my textures looking a bit washed out, all the diffuse maps were connected via GammaCorrect with the filtering turned off (Fig.02).

Fig. 02

Fig. 02

The rendering took approximately 20 minutes with high anti-aliasing and FG settings on. I also used a few alpha maps to simulate shadows being cast from the surrounding trees (Fig.03).

Fig. 03

Fig. 03

Textures

I was going for high quality, which is why the texture resolution of the building is 4,000 (I always try to create textures twice as large as their rendering sizes). I un-wrapped the UVs and took them into Photoshop - that's where the fun began (Fig.04).

Fig. 04

Fig. 04

First of all, I went through the entire Total Textures 16 DVD library looking for textures that I thought might be suitable for my project. I quickly chose my base texture and, using a mask, tiled it to 4,000 in size. Masks are very important and helpful; they allow you to quickly add or remove parts of a texture without destroying the base, which is especially useful when you're trying out different things to see which works best for you. I also used lots of adjustment layers for the same reason as masks (Fig.05). Don't forget that you can also add masks to adjustment layers.

Fig. 05

Fig. 05

During the texturing process it's crucial to maintain the same resolution for all the textures, so that your cut-out and pasted pieces don't appear too blurry in comparison to the rest of the textures. For more complex textures I keep all layers in separate folders (including specular and normal maps) to make navigation much easier for me - and for others if they wish to work with my PSD files. I'm really keen on working with brushes, not only to paint details or masks but also to add highlights/shadows to make textures even more interesting. I'm always painting my textures using a tablet - it speeds up the whole process a lot (Fig.06).

Fig. 06

Fig. 06

As you can see from Fig.07, there are a few examples of the techniques and methods used, showing how I used the Total Textures and tweaked them by applying various blending modes/masks/colours/ contrast/ saturation corrections. It's handy to use Levels before mixing textures and Colour Range for selections. At this stage I discovered that experimenting with different things is the best way to achieve the goal you are aiming for. Please also remember to bake an occlusion pass to help you to spot places where details such as cracks and dirt should be placed.

Fig. 07

Fig. 07

Finally, I created specular and normal maps, rendered the occlusion, shadow and specular passes, made some colour correction and final touches in Photoshop (Fig.08).

Fig. 08

Fig. 08

That's all folks! I hope you've enjoyed this, and maybe you've even managed to learn something new. I personally found working with the Total Textures very easy and efficient, and I'm glad that I had an opportunity to try something new with them. Thanks!

Grzegorz "Brasil" Wisniewski