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Exercise 8: Creating Prop Designs and Textures

You are going to design four crates, each with its own special feel, but all using the same geometry. Essentially, you are making four textures for one crate object.

Creating the Roughs of Four Crates

The game designer has identified the four crates he wants. He needs a wood crate with the word MUNITIONS on it; a space-aged crate with a window to some glowing matter inside; an old, rusted metal crate with rivets; and for some reason, the aforementioned pink crate with a cute bunny emblem. He would like to see roughs before you go to final, so you should start with those.

  1. Open the diametric grid file. This may seem like overkill for a few crates, but it will easily give you perfect perspective, and if you can get that for free, you should take it.
  2. Create a new layer above your grid layer, and then create a bounding box using the Line tool with a red color and no stroke (FIGURE 4.66).

    Figure 4.66

    FIGURE 4.66 Create the bounding volume for constructing a crate.

  3. Place a new layer above the red layer, and name it crate. Change your line color to black, and create a shape from the bounding volume (red lines). Collect your shapes into a single shape layer by choosing Merge Shapes (FIGURE 4.67).

    Figure 4.67

    FIGURE 4.67 Create a main shape for the crate.

  4. Now you are going to create a relief in the crate shape to give it a bit more depth (FIGURE 4.68). Using the grid, go 1 unit in and create a rectangle on both sides and on the top of the crate.

    Figure 4.68

    FIGURE 4.68 Create a rectangle on both sides.

  5. Add a bit of thickness to those shapes by creating an internal lip (FIGURE 4.69).

    Figure 4.69

    FIGURE 4.69 Add volume by adding an internal lip to the crate.

  6. Finally, collapse all the layers to a single layer. Create a new layer, and merge the shape layer down. Rename it crate, if you wish to. Then use the Fill tool to add some shading, lighter on top and darker on the side with the largest face being the neutral tone (FIGURE 4.70).

    Figure 4.70

    FIGURE 4.70 Add some shading to the crate.

  7. Duplicate the new crate layer four times and spread them out. These will be four roughs once you add colors and detail.
  8. Using the marquee selection tool, select the first crate interior by selecting the space around the crate, and from the Selection down-down menu, choose Select > Inverse.
  9. Create a new layer and fill the marquee selection with a brownish ramp. Change the layer style from Normal to Multiply. Repeat this technique for the rest of the crates, giving each one its own individual color (FIGURE 4.71).

    Figure 4.71

    FIGURE 4.71 Give each crate its own individual color.

  10. When you have the main colors sorted out, return to the first crate, and create a new layer called crate_wood.

Building a Wooden Crate

Put aside the hammer and nails. The only shop you’ll be using to hammer out this wooden crate is Photoshop.

  1. Choose the brush tool with a black color and begin to draw the planks of the crate. Vary the width of the line to simulate uneven placement of the planks. Also draw diagonal lines across the corners to simulate the miter cut of the frame.
  2. Create a new layer, and call it nails. Turn on Bevel & Emboss and Drop Shadow, then select the brush tool with a hard brush and a gray color. In the corners of the crate, draw two circles on either side of the miter cut (FIGURE 4.72). Repeat for all corners.

    Figure 4.72

    FIGURE 4.72 Turn on Bevel & Emboss and Drop Shadow.

  3. Create a new layer under the crate_wood layer, and call it rings. Choose a brush tool with a brown color just a bit darker than the brown on the crate. Using a small brush, draw the natural lines that occur in woodgrain (FIGURE 4.73). Make sure they run lengthwise with the board because most wood is cut that way.

    Figure 4.73

    FIGURE 4.73 Draw the natural lines that occur in woodgrain.

  4. Using the Text tool, add the MUNITIONS label, and then rotate and scale it to fit. Create a new layer below the text layer and merge it down to make it editable. Using the Erase tool at 30% opacity and a Scatter brush, distress the text a bit.
  5. Create a new layer at the top of the stack, and name it shadow. Choose the brush tool with a soft brush. Change the brush color to black and set Opacity to 20%. Open the shadows around the inner parts of the crate to help sell the 3D dimensionality (FIGURE 4.74).

    Figure 4.74

    FIGURE 4.74 Add shadow and color to finish the wooden crate.

Building a Space Crate

In space, no one can hear you build a crate.

  1. Move over to the second crate, colored blue. Use the Rounded Rectangle tool to create a pill shape (FIGURE 4.75).

    Figure 4.75

    FIGURE 4.75 Create another pill shape.

  2. Using the Distort tool, adjust the perspective to match that of the crate’s left front panel. Duplicate that layer, and choose Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. Move the layer into place on the crate’s right side.
  3. Create another pill shape, and use the same techniques to place it on the top panel.
  4. Create a new layer, and merge all three pill shapes and the blank layer to make the pill shapes editable. Using the Magic Wand, select the inside of the three shapes.
  5. Create a new layer named space matter. Choose the brush tool with a soft brush and set Opacity to 60%. Select a bright green color and paint in the selected area.
  6. Choose a scatter brush in a darker green color, and stipple that around to create particle-looking matter. Continue doing this until you have found a space matter that works for you. Then, in blending options, turn on Bevel & Emboss and Outer Glow (FIGURE 4.76). Set Bevel & Emboss to go Down instead of Up, and change the glow color to match the lighter green color.

    Figure 4.76

    FIGURE 4.76 In blending options, turn on Bevel & Emboss.

  7. Choose the Line tool, change its color to bright green with a 5-pt. size and no stroke. Draw a geometric pattern on the case that looks like a circuit board. Work your way around the crate until you are happy with the look. Create a new layer and merge all the line layers with the new layer. Name the layer lines, and change the layer mode from Normal to Color Dodge.

    What would a space crate be without some control buttons?

  8. Using the rectangular shape tool, create four or five different-colored squares. Line them up vertically. Collapse them into one layer, and with the Distort tool, fit them into the space at the top of the crate (FIGURE 4.77). Make sure the perspective works. Now select Bevel & Emboss and Drop Shadow.

    Figure 4.77

    FIGURE 4.77 Add control buttons to finish the crate.

Restoring a Rusted Metal Crate

The rusted crate is a bit of a different story because its gray texture is just the beginning. To make a rust texture, you need to incorporate a lot of transparent layers all working together (FIGURE 4.78). You are trying to replicate years of neglect.

Figure 4.78

FIGURE 4.78 Produce as much visual noise as possible using a reddish-brown color and a scatter pattern.

  1. With the Magic Wand select around the crate, and then choose Select Invert to select the crate.
  2. Create a new layer (you will do this a lot with this crate.) Choose the brush tool with a scatter pattern and a reddish-brown color. On the same layer, repeat the technique with a black color, and then with a gray color. Keep choosing different brushes and sizes. The goal is to produce as much visual noise as possible. When you are done, set Opacity to 50%.
  3. Create a new layer and repeat the process. This time start with a dark orange color and work in a red color. Choose Filter > Noise, and adjust the noise level to resemble rust particles.
  4. Create a new layer, and in the blending options, turn on Bevel & Emboss and Drop Shadow. Choose the brush tool with a scatter brush and a gray color. Paint in some sections to create the look of chipped paint.
  5. Create another layer, and using the brush tool with a scatter, paint some dirt on top of the painting you just did. You may need to place several layers of paint and dirt to get the look right. Don’t worry about the number of layers you have to use; they are free.
  6. Create a new layer, turn on Bevel & Emboss and Drop Shadow; then repeat the process you used to create nails for the wooden crate, except call this layer rivets, as you are now working with a metal object. Pepper them around in patterns (FIGURE 4.79).

    Figure 4.79

    FIGURE 4.79 Create nails.

  7. Choose the Custom Shape tool, and select a foreboding emblem. As you can see in FIGURE 4.80, we used the classic radioactive symbol. Create a new layer, merge the symbol down, and use the Eraser tool to distress it a bit.

    Figure 4.80

    FIGURE 4.80 Create erosion on the crate.

  8. One more thing: Create a new layer and turn on Bevel & Emboss. Make the bevel go down. Select a scatter brush with a black color. Use this brush to poke holes in the crate. That’s just what you want to see when running across a crate with a nuke symbol: a few holes in the side.

Prepping the Fluffy Pink Bunny Crate

The pink crate is the easiest of all your crates (FIGURE 4.81), and that’s because you only need to do a few things to it. The pink color is enough to sell the image.

Figure 4.81

FIGURE 4.81 Create the cutest bunny logo you can.

  1. Create a new layer called dirt. Choose the brush tool with a scatter brush. Select a pink color that is a bit darker than the pink on the crate. Pepper the darker color around to add some visual interest.
  2. Create a new layer, and call it bunny logo. Create the cutest bunny logo you can, and then duplicate the layer. You always want to keep the unaltered original in case you need to change it in the future.
  3. Use the Distort tool or the Perspective tool to place the bunny logo on the left side of the crate.
  4. Duplicate the original logo, and using the same technique, place it on the top panel of the crate (FIGURE 4.82).

    Figure 4.82

    FIGURE 4.82 Duplicate the original logo.

  5. Create a new layer, and just as you did before, use a soft brush with a black color and an opacity of 30% to darken the shadows around the inside edges (FIGURE 4.83).

    Figure 4.83

    FIGURE 4.83 Use a soft brush to darken the shadows.

  6. Save your file and you are done.

    As you can see in FIGURE 4.84, all of the crates match the specs from the designer. You have wood for the wooden crate, space matter for the space crate, rust for the metal crate, and adorable bunnies for the pink crate.

    Figure 4.84

    FIGURE 4.84 The four crates with the final touches.

    These crates may seem a bit cartoony, but they get the point across. A modeler could take any one of these and create a 3D object with very little effort. Even if these crates were meant to be rendered realistically, your modeler would have a pretty good idea of what to include in the mesh and the texture.

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