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Once we've crafted a diffuse texture or that matter any other texture as part of a material, we can reuse these layers if we do it carefully and we are organized. What I've done here in this example is first to go through and name all of my layers, separating out cleanly things that are geometry or essentially of hard surface from things that are painted on detail such as dirt. I have brick and mortar and brick arch and mortar so they lay over properly as well as windows and dirt and stone sill and chiseling, etcetera. What I'd like to do in my layers is to go in and group things.
In addition to naming the layers I'll name the groups. That way I can take this whole diffuse layer and clone it and decide what parts will become a bump map or a normal map. To start with I'll pick all of my layers except for my template. We can pick one, hold Shift, and pick the end to select all. Then press Ctrl+G to group the layers. I'll rename this group to Color. Or diffuse works nicely too. Now I can take this whole group, hold Alt, and clone it in the Layer menu by dragging, renaming the new group to Bump.
Notice that I've left my template layer above everything, still as a multiplied layer unlocked, but that way I can see it, no matter what texture I am working on. I'll turn off that, turn off the Color layer, and in the Bump layer sort through what's going to be actually relief on the surface and what's simply painted on. Things that are simply painted on are going to disappear for this. I'll select the dirt, the sill dirt, the window dirt, and hit Delete to delete all of them. Now I can take these, grayscale them, and make a bump or a normal map out of it nicely.
The important thing to stress here is to be organized. In any working drawing, in this case a PSD, we should be organized by name and by layer and when possible in any other method available so that we can find things easily and adjust them. In this case, if I had to adjust the color of the brick or maybe add variation, it's very easy to come in and select just the brick layer to constrain that selection without worrying about affecting dirt or mortar. Likewise, I can adjust things like dirt or windows or even window glass very easily and reuse it whenever possible.
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