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Creating a Crate Texture Map

You will now create a texture map for one of these crates. This will bring together all the techniques you have covered in this chapter and give you a sneak preview into the next chapter.

Making Side Pieces

Just in case you didn’t know, a texture is an image that is applied to a 3D object to give it color or tone. It can also be used as a vehicle to deliver lighting or displacement information. The texture you’re making for this crate is set up just like the layout you did for the texture atlas with a bunch of information squeezed into a square. However, when the image is applied to only one object, it is just called a texture. You will make your texture in three parts. You could have gotten away just using two parts, but the game engine is going to calculate the area for that third part no matter what you do, so you might as well use it.

  1. Open a new file that is 1024x1024, and name it crate_wood1.
  2. Create two 512x512 squares, and stack them on top of each other on the right (FIGURE 4.85). Be very careful with your positioning. In a texture, every pixel counts, so you want to make it nice and tidy from the beginning.

    Figure 4.85

    FIGURE 4.85 Create two 512x512 squares.

    The larger part will be used for the four longer areas, and the two squares will be used for the end caps. In previous exercises, you illustrated your images to get the look you needed; but this prop requires a little more realism, so you will use a photo as the base and work from there (FIGURE 4.86). Actually, most 3D programs have premade wood textures that work really well, but in the interest of advancing your skills, you will make your own.

    Figure 4.86

    FIGURE 4.86 Use a photo as the base and work from there.

  3. Find a picture of a piece of wood that looks like it’s from an old crate. You are looking for an image of a board around 3 feet in length.
  4. Import the image into your main file, and just like a carpenter, build a frame. Scale your wood picture thinner, if necessary, and slide it against the right wall. Duplicate the layer, and slide that up against the left wall. Duplicate that layer, and rotate it 90 degrees, and move it to the bottom. Duplicate that layer one more time, and move it to the top. You should now have a wood frame with a blue center (FIGURE 4.87).

    Figure 4.87

    FIGURE 4.87 You should now have a wood frame with a blue center.

  5. Because you are a good carpenter, you’re going to give your frame a miter cut, which means that you cut the top and the bottom pieces at an angle (FIGURE 4.88). (You needn’t cut the side pieces because it’s just an image.) Select the bottom piece layer, and with the Polygonal Lasso tool, select an area from the bottom corner to the inside joint where the two pieces come together; then select around the outside edge of the board image. Close your loop, and cut out the selection. Repeat this on the other side, and with both pieces of the top.

    Figure 4.88

    FIGURE 4.88 Give your frame a miter cut.

  6. This looks great, but it’s not as realistic as it might be. Merge all three layers, and in blending options, select Bevel & Emboss and Drop Shadow.
  7. Create a new layer called nails. In the blending options of this layer, turn on Bevel & Emboss and Drop Shadow. Now select a neutral gray color and hammer some nails into the corners of the wood frame (FIGURE 4.89). Or, as you say in Photoshop, select a brush tool with a hard edge and 100% opacity and flow, and put two dots on either side of the seams of the top and side pieces.

    Figure 4.89

    FIGURE 4.89 Hammer some nails into the corners of the wood frame.

  8. Create another new layer and call it wood edges. Select a brush tool with a sharp brush and set Opacity to 85 and Flow to 60. Using a black color, work a deeper line into the section where the two pieces of board meet. You may also want to add some subtle highlights. While you are there, dirty up the nails a bit by scribbling on top of them with the black and the highlight color (FIGURE 4.90). Don’t worry about accurately rendering your nails. The lighting in the engine and the resolution constraints will fill in the rest.

    Figure 4.90

    FIGURE 4.90 Dirty up the nails a bit by scribbling on top of them.

  9. Import your wood image and rotate it 90 degrees. Move the new layer under the wood-frame layer. Duplicate it four or five times. If you need to scale it a bit to fit, that is fine. It is important to maintain the spaces between the boards. You need to see blue between each one. In the blending options, select Bevel & Emboss.
  10. Now return to the blending properties and adjust the drop shadow to appear a little stronger (FIGURE 4.91). Set Distance to 28, Spread to 3, and Size to 8.

    Figure 4.91

    FIGURE 4.91 Maintain the spaces between the boards.

  11. Now for some detail. Select the Text tool, and type MUNITIONS as you did previously. Rotate the text 90 degrees clockwise, and place it in the middle of the wood frame. Make sure that the text layer is the top layer.
  12. Create a new layer, and merge the text layer down to make it a raster image and, therefore, editable. Using the Eraser tool with a hard-edged brush, erase the portions of text that are between the boards. Now choose a scatter brush. Set Opacity to 33 and erase portions of the text to give it a worn look that matches the wood (FIGURE 4.92).

    Figure 4.92

    FIGURE 4.92 Give the boards a worn look.

  13. Save your file.

Texturing Cap Pieces

Now that you have created the sides of the crate, the cap sections should be easy. You have all the assets that you need. You just have to do a little creative cutting and pasting.

  1. Select and duplicate the wood frame, nails, and wood edges layers. Merge the layers, and then slide them to the other side of the screen (FIGURE 4.93).

    Figure 4.93

    FIGURE 4.93 Slide the merged layers to the other side of the screen.

  2. Select and copy the lower half of the new wood frame layer, and then paste it in place. Translate it up until the bottom of the frame covers the orange background area.
  3. Choose the Eraser tool at 33% opacity with a soft-edge brush, and blend in the two pieces (FIGURE 4.94).

    Figure 4.94

    FIGURE 4.94 Blend in the two pieces.

  4. Merge the two layers, and using a marquee selection tool, select the entire square frame, and then duplicate and paste it. Move it down to the lower position, covering the red area (FIGURE 4.95).

    Figure 4.95

    FIGURE 4.95 Move the square frame down to the lower position, covering the red area.

  5. Bring in your wood again and rotate it 90 degrees. Move it into place, and cut off or erase the extra portions. Duplicate the layer three or four times, and fill the two frames just as you did previously.

    You have added a decal of some bullets and a break in the wood with some bullets showing through. The break was made by erasing the wood layer a little bit, and then adding an image of bullets under the wood layer (FIGURE 4.96).

    Figure 4.96

    FIGURE 4.96 Add a decal of some bullets to the crate.

    Because you started from a real-life object, the texture has a far greater chance of looking like a real object in the game world (FIGURE 4.97). Other factors will need to be addressed to fully sell it as a realistic object, but you will learn about those techniques in Chapter 5.

    Figure 4.97

    FIGURE 4.97 Using an image of an actual object results in a more realistic-looking crate.

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