character texturing for games

Game Character Texturing Tutorial

The process of creating 2D images for use with 3D models is referred to as texturing. Textures, sometimes known as “maps,” operate with Shaders and Materials in a 3D engine or 3D software to create the coloured output of a 3D object. Textures can be created using a variety of methods and tools, including hand painting in a 2d programme like Photoshop, photo manipulation, 3d scanning with a photogrammetry tool, painting in 3D directly on models, procedural creation in a node-based material editor, baking image data from one model to another, etc. Various texture types, such as a Normal map or a Specular colour map, are frequently made and utilised to control various aspects of the shader.

1. Requirements

Any 2D programme like Corel Painter, Gimp, or Adobe Photoshop Additionally, Substance Painter is an option.
Sketching Tablet (recommended but optional).
Models with textures can be viewed with free 3d software like Blender or 3ds Max.
Character model in the open. Use your own or the character bust that is linked.

2. Get Your Model Ready

It is best to UV unwrap your character before texturing. Projecting a 2D picture onto a 3D model’s surface for texture mapping is called UV mapping in 3D modelling. Create a UV map for the character’s face in your preferred 3D software and save it as a png file.

3. Open the Paint Program and Load UVs

The size of texture maps for video games and real-time settings is typically constrained by the engine they are created for. Contrarily, texture maps for pre-rendered scenes, such those in a movie, might be significantly bigger. The size of a texture map is typically only constrained by the processing power of the rendering computer. It’s critical that texture maps look their best regardless of the intended size. I’m using an Adobe Photoshop texture with a 2048 by 2048 pixel resolution for this demonstration.

Once your UVW map has been built and exported, load it into your preferred 2D programme. Change the layer mode to Screen if your UV map isn’t translucent and appears as a black-and-white image. Reduce the image’s opacity to between 15% and 25%.

You can just load the obj file directly if you’re using a model software that supports direct painting, like Substance Painter.

4. Make a layer called “Blood”

Create a layer beneath the UVmap and fill it with a dark red hue to represent the base of skin. A colour like #581d1d will do.

5. Establish a Bottom Dermis Layer

Fill up the layer with a colour that falls somewhere between a skin tone and a blood colour on a new layer placed above the blood layer. For instance, the colour #bb7e70 is somewhere between light skin and blood. Reduce the opacity of this layer by 50%.

6. Paint Narrow Spots

The thinnest part of the skin would be in this layer. Above the Dermis layer, add a new layer and change the colour mode to multiply. The eyes, nostrils, lower cheekbones, and other shallow places should be painted with the colour used on the Blood layer.

Use a soft brush to paint flesh, according to painting advice. I often apply colour in layers using a brush with an opacity of 30 to 50 percent.

7. Make a top layer of dermis

Copy the Dermis layer, then place it above the layer where the shallow regions were painted in. Switch to screen mode for colour. The layer opacity should be set to roughly 34%.

8. Painting Skin Tone Base PT1

Over the Top Dermis layer, add a new layer. Color mode should be set to screen. Layer opacity should be set to about 45%. Start painting colour tone variations with a brush that is set to have an opacity of about 30 to 50 percent. On the face, protruding parts like the forehead, tops of the cheeks under the eyes, tops of the ears, the tip of the nose, etc., will have hot spot areas (areas that would be brighter).

9. Painting Skin Tone Base PT2

Create another layer eventually with the layer opacity set to 45 percent and the colour mode set to screen. Keep painting different skin tones such that high parts are bright and low points are dull.

10. Paint “Fatty” Skin

Make a new layer with Softlight selected as the layer colour mode. This layer will symbolise the “Fatty” region of the skin and contribute to the skin’s variety. Paint the ears, neck, chin, cheeks, and chin.

11. Base Lips Paint

Establish a new layer. Select Multiply as the layer’s colour mode. Paint the lips in using the Blood Layer’s base colour (or any other preferred colour). As desired, alter the layer’s opacity.

12. Lip Highlights in Paint

Establish a new layer. Color mode should be set to screen. Paint highlights onto the top of the upper lip and the middle of the lower lip with a light colour (either the fill colour from the Dermis layer or a lighter shade of the lip base). If necessary, adjust the layer’s opacity.

13. Paint Lighting

Set the colour mode of a new layer to screen. The layer opacity should be set to about 45%. Start painting the portions of the face that would protrude enough to catch light, such as the eyelids, forehead, nose, and tops of ears, using the hue used for the Dermis layer.

14. Paint Additional Shadows

Additional shadows might need to be painted once the reflected lighting has been created. Set the colour mode of a new layer to multiply. Set the layer’s opacity to roughly 75%. Build up more shadows around the ears, neck, bottom lip, and nose using the colour from “blood” layer’s.

15. Add Pores

Real skin isn’t flawless and smooth, looking like a doll’s. Add sweat pores and oil pores, two different sorts. You can use two noise maps when creating pores for hand-painted characters.

A deep grayscale noise map that I create in Photoshop is the first noise map I utilise. I’ll add this layer and set the colour mode to multiply above all the skin layers and directly beneath the UVW map.

In the hierarchy, the second noise map is positioned above the first noise map. This map appears less dense and is set to Multiply colour mode with a layer opacity of about 40%.

16. Paint Additional Elements

The finished foundation skin effect can be seen at this point. Then you can add any other elements you choose, such moles, hairlines, eyebrows, tattoos, etc. Even so, you can experiment with the Hue and Saturation settings to adjust or create new skin tones.

When you are happy with the outcome, hide the UVW map layer and export the image. Use your preferred 3D software to load the texture onto your virtual character.

Now It’s Your Turn

Create your own Game Character Texturing. You can also use a different dark skin version of your choice.


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