Advice On Making Textures

Modelling, Textures, Animating and other general engine asset topics.

Advice On Making Textures

Postby Epifire on Thu Nov 24, 2011 6:26 pm

Hey guys, I wanted to ask around and get some feedback on the "how to make good textures" subject. First let me give a overall explanation of what I do know, and use. I have the basic understanding on how to create a texture, but I know nothing about creating say a bump-mapped or normal-mapped texture. I use and have a official version of Texture Maker that I made this Star Wars Battlefront texture with...

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It's an old texture of mine, but either way you know what I can do up to this point. Say if I wanted to give those darker lines (other wise the door seams) depth by means of bump-mapping, how would I do that? Now I have looked into what is behind bump-mapping, but I got no idea on how to create a bump-mapped texture.

If any one is willing to give examples, feel free to create spin offs from the texture I got up there. I am not using it in anything so I could care less if any one edited it.

The order I would like to proceed is this. Find out how to add reflection, glowing, bump and anything else that a common texture artist would know. That and lastly incorporating the final version of the texture into our common engine, Source.
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Re: Advice On Making Textures

Postby Chopium on Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:37 am

http://www.philipk.net/ndo.html
This site has tools and a tutorial on bumpmaps and specular maps. Look at official texture vmts to get an idea of the syntax.

I think for source, what looks best when considering lighting are textures staying at an average luminosity (127 lum) with not a lot of overall contrast. This is a trend in textures from Left 4 Dead 2 to Portal 2, and I think it overall makes the engine look better.
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Re: Advice On Making Textures

Postby Epifire on Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:44 pm

Well I checked out what you linked, but the only problem is I don't have or use Photoshop. I searched around a bit, and stumbled upon Crazy Bump and installed it. Now Crazy Bump as I see it is great for bump-map/normal-mapping, but I probably need some thing different for adding information on making some thing glow don't I? Say a making a control panel with glowing buttons, or making a texture that has transparency.

Loving Crazy Bump though, in just a few minuets of sitting down I got my door texture there how I wanted it to look. When I got it saved I ended up with five information textures. So just taking my door for instance what would I do for putting that into a simple test map?

Last time I put a couple of textures into my materials folder the textures flickered really oddly in-game. Don't know what I did wrong, but I know I messed up some where. Making these things clear is what I am looking for, I will be able to understand the general development cycle once I understand the "how to" process.
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Re: Advice On Making Textures

Postby kraid on Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:54 am

If you ain't got the po$$ibility to use Photoshop, Gimp is a free alternative, also older versions of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements would do and are way less expensive.

In order to get your textures with all the effects ingame, you need to teach yourself some vmt writing.
Basically all you need is the valve developer wiki https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wik ... ial_System

Also you'll need to be able to do things like adding an alphalayer to a image file (in Photoshop/Gimp)
for things like reflection and selfillumination.

As for your flickering problem, i'm allmost certain that you've been using the wrong shader.
(e.g. VertexLitGeneric on a texture mapped onto a brush)
Just the three most common ones:
LightmappedGeneric == for world textures, lightmaps are baked during compile
VertexLitGeneric == for model textures only, should not appear in hammer texture tool.
UnlitGeneric == usable on models and brushes, but doesn't recive lightning of any kind.
Will appear glowing when used in a lit enviroment, so it can be used for things like monitor screens.

Read up the wiki for more information about these and other shaders.
Goldeneye Source v4.2.3
get it now and play for FREE!!!
http://www.goldeneyesource.net
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Re: Advice On Making Textures

Postby Black_Stormy on Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:00 pm

Things like transparency, illumination, specular and normal mapping are all engine specific features. Unfortunately source isn't like unreal where you can just plug in an image and away you go, you'll have to learn the finer points of .vmt files and shaders. The source shaders have a lot of nuances and mannerisms that you have to get used to and design around rather than overcome.

As for creating normal maps, there's 2 ways I do it, both equally applicable for different situations.

The first way I do it is to model the surface completely in blender. Full highpoly fancy schmancy models of whatever the texture is. I'll then bake the normal map, ambient occlusion map and sometimes the heightmap (which takes a bit of weird material tweaking in blender) to a flat plane. I'll save it as 2x the size I want the final image to be so I can scale it down in GIMP because blender doesn't anti-alias the baked image. There are other programs that are better than blender at baking and you can usually import your model into them but I cbf getting them. Mudbox and crazybump are the main contenders I think. I'll use the heightmap and ao map to paint my texture in GIMP (which isn't actually an alternative to Photoshop, rather an entirely different program aimed at different uses, but I own both and only use GIMP, mostly due to my reluctance to adapt to photoshops workflow). I'll also use photo references and sometimes photos set to overlay mode to make up for my sub-par painting skills. This technique allows for some really high detail and accurate textures since you have total control over all the source files. It does take a lot of time, however. This is the same process used to bake a highpoly model to a game-poly model, only on a flat surface instead of an unwrapped lowpoly model.

The second way to make a normal map, which you would be better off doing in this instance, would be to adapt your image to a heightmap and then run it through a normal map filter (of which GIMP has a few). You would have to consider which parts of the image are higher in relation to the rest and then make a greyscale image heightmap with black being the deepest point and white being the highest. Often I do this simply by desaturating the diffuse image, using a sharpen filter and then upping the contrast until I get some nice variations, but you can do it completely by hand as well, and sometimes you're better off doing it that way. Then you run the grayscale image through the normalmap filter (play around with the options, I tend to use the first option for sobel or prewitt a lot because source needs a bit of extra oomph in its normal maps).

Also remember that sometimes you won't be able to see the normal map, but that doesn't mean it's not there. You might need to change the lighting a bit or even add some specularity to get it to show. As a rule of thumb, less is usually more.
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