Texturing Image Breakdown: Street
The following tutorial will provide a brief overview of some of the techniques used to texture a scene using the Total Textures collection available at 3DTotal. As with all of the scenes I have designed for this purpose, I tend to keep the geometry reasonably simple and rely on the textures for much of the detail.
Previous to starting this scene I had finished a concept that focused on a towering slum block set against a cloudy sky. To add a futuristic feel I incorporated an ambiguous floating tower whose white exterior gleamed as it caught some sunlight breaking through the cloud cover.
This contrast between the almost celestial tower and the doleful slum block formed the inspiration for this particular scene. The notion of creating an environment with a curious element, which somehow seems at odds with it, was an idea I wanted to carry though into this piece. As a result I created a conventional street scene comprising a mix of architectural styles and then modeled a large tower with a more unusual entrance. As with the concept, the function of this building is also a mystery; maybe it is a strange residence or perhaps an industrial facility around which a township has evolved.
Camera Position and Lighting
If anyone has read any of my previous tutorials then you will be familiar with my approach, which generally follows the same process. Once I have some provisional geometry built, I add a camera and some lighting to get a better idea about the focal areas and what takes priority.
Despite showing a final stage in Fig.01, the camera and lights were established earlier and remained unchanged. As you can see in the bottom right view, the right side of the street is less apparent and therefore less important.
Because this right side is shaded and facing away from the camera I opted to mirror the textured buildings from the opposite side. This goes against the grain of realism, but if aspects are inconspicuous then shortcuts are acceptable. The buildings are not visible beyond the curve in the street and so there was no need to add any beyond a certain point (see 1 in the top view).
Of the buildings, the two ringed in red (focal point) are the most visible and so these were unwrapped.
Fig.02 shows the map that corresponds with these buildings and the relevant textures that were used to build it. These came predominantly from the Total Textures V19 - Destroyed & Damaged and Total Textures V2:R2 - Aged & Stressed DVDs.
The dirt maps were sampled from Total Textures V5:R2 - Dirt & Graffiti DVD tinted brown and then set to Multiply at various opacities, whilst the remaining textures were color-corrected once assembled.
The other rather obvious area visible to the camera is the actual street surface itself. As opposed to being unwrapped I used a composite map, which is a favored technique of mine. This allows you to alter the coordinates and blending modes of various textures to build up a surface and localize details such as dirt and wear.
Fig.03 shows the material on the left and the composite map, which is assigned at the diffuse level.
The road surface uses a single map (2), which is tiled by a value of 2.0 in both directions, whilst the dirt maps along the edges have been tiled and offset to attain the right position and scale in the scene. These also incorporate a mask to control the opacity, which is applied on the right of the layer (1).
There is a tiling issue along the street which could have been reduced by adding a new layer and an appropriate blending mode. but in this case I ignored it as it wasn't too noticeable.
The other component that takes advantage of unwrapping is the right-hand tower, which incorporates a single texture from the Total Textures V08:R2 - Vehicles DVD.
Fig.04 shows a detail of the tower, which comprises of some loose paneling surrounding an inner section that has been exposed and consequently rusted.
Fig.05 shows the texture and the corresponding map on the lower right, which has been tiled and color corrected. I used panel05 from Total Textures V08:R2 - Vehicles to block in the tower.
The black area refers to the rusted area beneath the panels. The actual panels that have started peeling off can be seen down the right-hand side of the texture and were taken from a texture I made for a previous scene.
I used this texture in conjunction with an Arch&Design; material, hence the different hue in the render. I wanted this structure to stand out in a similar way to the floating tower in my concept, as well as lending it a more metallic quality.
The rusted area did not really require any unwrapping and so I applied a generic rusted metal that was then combined with an overlay to add variation. Fig.06 shows the material with the base texture (metal19 from Total Textures V2:R2 - Aged & Stressed) tiled in order to achieve a correct scale.
Because of the lighting and camera position in the scene it meant I was able to minimize the amount of unwrapping. For me unwrapping is a process that is best reserved for detailed areas or sections of geometry that are more conspicuous.
In this particular scene there are numerous areas that employ a box or planar map depending on their shape and volume. These bypass any unwrapping and use tileable textures that can form part of a composite map or be used on their own.
Fig.07 highlights some areas that use this technique either because of their relative size in the scene or their visibility. The wooden slats in the upper left are inconspicuous enough to get away with a single wooden texture that is tiled by a value of 2.0, whilst the sections in shadow on the right could escape with a similar treatment. Of course this approach suits stills primarily, but the rule of thumb is that a camera and lighting can be used to gauge the priority of the textures.
Elements such as the wires and cables can be done using renderable splines and can then be box mapped. The texture stretching can be controlled in either the UVW Mapping modifier or the Material Editor.
To see more by Richard Tilbury, check out Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 4
Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 5
Digital Painting Techniques: Volume 7
Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop Elements
Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop
Photoshop for 3D Artists
and Prime - The Definitive Digital Art Collection