Texturing a Scene

This tutorial will show you how to texture a whole scene. I will try to do a simple texturing job on a complex scene (lots of objects). The whole texturing is going to be done only in 3D Studio MAX, but it will work in other packages with their respective tools just as well.

The main problem is that we are going to texture an architectural scene. Surfaces on scenes like this are big. For example, the part of the front fassade, left of the entrance is 5 meters (16.5 feet) wide and 7 meters (23 feet) tall. So if you want to texture it with bricks, that's one hell of a big brick map. And the biggest brick map I ever saw was only 3 meters (10 feet) in width and 1.5 meters (5 feet) in heigth, so even with this one there are going to be some repetitions. Thus its up to you to make the repetitions as little visible as you can. When I first put my hands on the Total Textures CD's I was delighted.

I spent a couple of hours browsing trough those map-archives. The maps are great, especially for "close up"-scenes, but can they be used on big surface scenes? You can bet they can.....I will try to texture this scene by only using Total Textures

To the left are the scene properties. Above you can see the perspective view of the scene - a house. There is only one omni light lighting the house, but you can insert a few more to lit it more to better see what you are doing with the textures. Do not forget to delete those extra lights before rendering, though.

You can download a .max file of the scene here (self-extracting WinRAR).

The first thing I did was to apply a texture to that big surface left of the entrance. I used a standard max material, with a map from Total Textures Volume 3 in the diffuse slot. What I got was big ugly dirty red wall - to calm it down a little I tiled it: U=2, V=2. Allready it was a bit better but the map is repeating, so I picked a UVW mapping gizmo and moved it up. The idea was that maybe I can hide some repeating parts of the map behind the windows. Maps that don't have big contrasts in color and shapes in them are best for repetative
covering of a surface...

With this map it is going to be difficult: see that dark part of the map at the top? It's going to be visible when you repeat it.

This map has hardly recognizable contrasts in color and shape and can be repeated many times on one surface.

Before we go any further lets see how you make those materials. Open a Material editor. Click on any of the sphere - this is going to be a material. On the left you see a Standard material setup.

Put the desired map in the Diffuse map slot, and a matching black and white map in the Bump map slot. Sometimes you can use a bump map as a Specular map too. Now it is up to you to set those other parameters - "Specular Level", "Glossiness", etc. to get the result you want. Every material is different and unique...  Ok, back to the paint-job! The house is far from done.

The second thing I did was to make a brick material and apply it to the centre part of front fassade. What I saw was a big sized brickwall on the front and side walls. It was time to adjust that map. After experimenting a little bit I got satisfying results with "U Tile" = 4.5 and "V Tile" = 8.0 (see images below)

Fig 10

Fig 10

...too big

Fig 11

Fig 11

...too stretchy

Fig 12

Fig 12

...too good to be true!

Tiling adjustments can be done in Material editor for every map separately or in UVW Mapping modifier for a seperate object..

For this scene I prefer to create a material and to adjust tiling for every object in the UVW map modifier. If this does not help try to select the mapping gizmo and scale it or move it to get satisfying results.

If you have a map that is 982x618 pixels, that you apply to a surface of 400x400 (max)units, MAX will squeeze or stretch that map until it fits onto the object - the map will end up beng scaled unaturaly. The UVW Mapping modifier will help you to get that map look natural and in best size.

And this is the glorious UVW Mapping modifier (left). Starting from the top: the first thing you need is the "Gizmo". When the Gizmoa, a Sub-object, is active you can work with it. Transforming, moving, scaling, all that is possible to adjust your texture maps to fit nicely. The second very important option is called "Mapping": chose one of the plenty mapping types - they are self-explaining, don't you think? And in the end we must not forget the tiling settings, to give your maps the final
touch. Try the UVW-Mapping Modifier out yourself, you will see it is easy to use.

...proceed to page two to learn more...

The next step was to apply the same brick material to this box object that represents the supporting pillar of the roof covering the entrance door. After that we have to adjust the material so that the bricks are of the same size as those on the wall.

Here this is done allready. Take a look at how the bricks are exactly of the same size on both objects (wall and pillar). There are two identical pillars in the scene. We are not going to do the same adjustmenting on that other box here, too. But yes, it has to look almost the same.

What we are going to do is simple: open the "Edit Modifier Stack"-window by clicking on the apropriate button. Copy the "UVW Mapping"-modifier of the pillar shown in the stack and paste it to the second pillar's Modifier Stack. This way the work is done faster and easier.

Let's see what the whole picture is like. You can see how that brick map is repeating on that front wall. Lets hope that with light and shadows we can cover that up.

You can always take a front picture of that wall, take it to photoshop and there paint a brick map and get rid of repeating parts. But we are not going to do that this

The same brick material is applied to some other objects and every object's mapping coordinates are adjusted separately.

This is a result:

For the ground I used a Multy/Sub-Object-Map that consists of a grass and a stone material. The difference is that this time I used box-mapping for all faces that will carry the stone-texture and planar mapping for every face that will be textured with the grass-map.

The "UV Tile"-window shown on the image to the left is for that grass material. It repeats, but you cannot see that right away.

To see what have we done so far look above...

Oh yes...apply a cobblestone material to the walkway around the house.

This house was to be red with gray architectural elements. But during the texturing process I made some changes, the process of which can be seen lon the eft.

Below you can follow the process of finalizing the scene by adding the background and
some flora... Only the maps of those trees are not from the Total Textures CD's. They are just planes with a tree texture applied. To make those trees not look all the same use a different transparency map for each of them.  

These are some of the materials used - all of them can be found on 3DTotal's TotalTexture CD's!

Lastly, before I say Good Bye: this is what the screen looked like right before the final rendering was done.

In scene there is only one omni light and sky light. Rendering was done with Brazil r/s.

Feedback will be greatly appreciated.

© Nikola Drincic 2003 - All rights reserved.

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