Creating Decals

In this tutorial I am going to be showing how to make worn textures in Photoshop for use as decals in your maps.

You will need: Photoshop 7 or later; knowledge of how to convert .tga files to .vtf and a decent selection of Grunge brushes. Also a good collection of symbol brushes or dingbat fonts would be handy if you aren't good at creating your own work in Photoshop.
A good source for brushes is Deviantart also googling "Grunge Brushes" should do the trick also. You can get decent dingbat fonts from most free font websites like DaFont.com or AbstractFonts.com. Now you're prepared, let's get stuck in.

Step 1: First open up a new document, 512 x 512 with a transparent background and RGB colour mode.
news post image

Step 2: Now depending on how creative you're feeling you can either use a dingbat symbol and skip straight on to step 5, but if you're up for some work then select the circle select tool. Hold down shift and begin making a circle, holding down shift will give you a perfect circle no matter where you move the mouse. Draw a circle then press Shift + Backspace to fill the circle with your foreground colour.
news post image

Step 3: Still with your selection go to the toolbar and click the following: Select -> Modify -> Contract. Set the amount to 20 pixels and press ok, this will reduce your current selection so you have a smaller circle selected. Press delete, now you have yourself a hollow ring.
news post image

Step 4: Now if you haven't realised, I'm making the Black Mesa Logo as an example in this tutorial, so select your polygon select tool and hold shift to draw a perfectly straight line from the center, up a bit, then across to the right back to the filled part of your ring, then connect the two lines together and fill it with the same colour as your ring (Alt + Backspace again), deselect your current selection with Ctrl + D.
news post image

Step 5: This is the fun part; you have your logo now. Select the rubber brush, then go to the brush tab at the top left, expand that and in the new expanded box click on the small round arrow to bring up another menu, in that menu click "Load Brushes" and then find the directory of your favourite grunge pack to load it up. Now with a good range of grunge brushes have a play about with different brushes and the rubber tool, rubbing out parts of the logo with one click then switching to another brush. Once you've played about for a bit with different grunge brushes you should have something looking similar to this.
news post image

Step 6: Now right click your layer that you've been drawing on and select Blending options. Turn the opacity down by about 5%, or more if you wish.
news post image

Step 7: Now it's time to save your decal that you have created. File -> Save As, then place it in the directory you want your decal to go into and save it as a .tga image with 32-bit compressed RLE. Once you have saved it's up to you to convert it with your preferred method, some use vmtcreate, some use Nem's Photoshop .vtf plugin, I personally do it the old fashioned way of setting up the directories and dragging the tgas into vtex.exe.
news post image

Step 8: with your .tgas successfully converted to .vtf files it's time to write the .vmt. your code should be something along the lines of this:

	"$basetexture" "decaltutorial/decalexample01"
	"$decal" "1"
	"$decalscale" 0.25
	"$translucent" 1

Now save that as a .vmt, I usually make 3 .vmt files for each decal, each with a different decalscale. so I'd have a blahblah_large.vmt which has a decalscale of .5, a blahblah_medium.vmt which has a decalscale of .25 and a blahblah_small.vmt which has a decalscale of .125, this can give you a good selection for the size of the brush you want to place the decal on.

Now boot up hammer and filter for your decal, it won't look great inside hammer, but it should look much better in game.


View comments ( 19 )

Back to top