Texture Creation tutorial - Skin Investigation

Texture Creation tutorial

Hourences.com – Texture Creation using nDo2

About : Creating textures using photosources for Diffuse, and nDo2 for the Normal map.
Target Audience : Photoshop and nDo2 users – Intermediate
Platform : Photoshop/nDo2
Latest Update :October 2011


I never really got into zBrush and Mudbox, I have always stuck to the oldschool approach of pure Photoshop for 2D work. No sculpting or such. zBrush and Mudbox are great tools, but it really adds an extra layer of complexity to texture creation, and I am not too fond of using too many different tools
next to each other. I much prefer a one stop solution for all I want to do. Keeps down the costs of acquiring software, less things to learn and keep up with, and keeps up the workflow.

That pure Photoshop approach regained a lot of its credibility again with the recent release of nDo2. nDo2 is a new program that hooks into Photoshop, and allows you paint, sculpt, convert, and draw normal maps directly from within PS. It also comes with a nice 3D previewer, and Ambient Occlusion/Specular/Heigth support. It returns a lot of power back to Photoshop.

In this tutorial I am going to show you how I usually create my diffuse textures, and how to then take a diffuse texture into nDo2 and use it to create a normal map for it.

The tutorial requires at least basic Photoshop knowledge.


I almost always start off from photos. My usual approach is to:

  • Combine several photos together to get something more unique rather than a photo imported into a game.
  • Brightness and color correct it to fit together, and fit the other textures in the game.
  • Possibly make it tile-able, and remove any detail that stands out too much.
  • Emphasize important lines and shapes by overpainting it with black or white lines and smudges. Sharpening the edges and adding in more depth.

On CGTextures.com, you can find the following photo in Metal – Containers

1.) Crop of the blue around the edges (Crop tool in toolbar – C is the shortcut) and resize it to nearest power of two via Image – Image Size. In this case that was 2048×1024 pixels.

2.) The photo is a bit blurry so do Filter – Sharpen. Not really ideal, but at least it helps a bit. I sometimes also sharpen things through a High Pass, refer to my Photoshop texturing tricks tutorial on how to set that up. Also, in my experience the lower res the texture is the more it has to be sharpened. When I work with 512 textures, or most especially with anything under 512 I always sharpen it quite a lot. It really makes a significant difference on low res textures.

3.) Paint out all details that would allow the player to recognize all instances of this texture in the game are the same. So anything that is too unique or special has to go.

My usual approach is to paint things out with a combination of the Clone Stamp Tool, Healing Brush Tool, and Patch Tool. All found in the regular toolbar.

4.) Next up adjust the brightness and contrast, and its color. I almost always use Image – Adjustments – Levels for this, and I almost always exaggerate the difference between bright and dark (or in other words increase the contrast) on my photo sourced textures.

I always use Image – Adjustments – Hue/Saturation, Photo Filter (same location), or a new layer on top of the photo filled with a solid color and set to Overlay, to alter the color of the photo.

5.) Time to mix in some other photos. Since this texture is to function as a wall panel, some concrete would do well. Mixing up different material types almost always leads to some nice variation. You can find the following texture on CGTextures, in the Concrete section.

More about Texture Creation tutorial

Transparent gif

by cdub

In photoshop, keep selecting all the background until you have all of you want to be transparent...Try deleting background and see if the underlying backgroundis already transparent. (If your final image is easy to select, select it directly.). If initially selecting the BACKGROUND, and you need to get a transparent bckgrnd, inverse the selection so the main subject is selected. You may already have a Transparent background (you'll see the checkerboard).
If you don't already have an underlying transparent background, Copy the selected imaged.
Open new file, with Transparent background

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