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One of the most important textures we need in our city are the roads we drive on. We need these in miles and miles of tiles and tiles. It's very easy to end up with city blocks worth of roads very quickly. The road then that we drive on is really a mixture of painted pieces and procedural textures. In this case, looking at the reference photo, we can see that the asphalt is a grain structure, dark and light with things overlaid like road lines, gutters, oil stains, and so forth.
To begin then I'm going to start with a large clean section of asphalt and then add in my wear and tear, my stains and my lines. I will begin with a new document. In this case I will set the document large, 2000 on a side. I will run this document at the standard resolution of 72. RGB and White is fine. I am making it big, 2000 square, so when I downsize to 1024 square I force Photoshop to blur. By not making it an even multiple, it's not a half resolution or twice the size, I force Photoshop to interpolate, getting me a better look overall.
I'll fill this first with the 50% gray, choosing Edit > Fill or Shift+F5 and under Use 50% Gray. Then I will make a new layer and fill this as well with 50% Gray. I use 50% Gray in textures a lot because it gives me a base for filters such as grain or noise. Rather than having them act on white and maybe missing components, gray lets me have range up and down or lighter and darker. I will choose Filter > Noise > Add Noise.
In the Noise, I will try a Gaussian Noise at 11, 10, 12%, whatever works. Monochromatic is good here as well, keeping it all gray. Finally, I will set the blending mode of this layer to Multiply. We have a clean section of asphalt. However, if we zoom in, we can see it's pixilated. This might dance a little bit or crawl as part of the texture. Now we want to reduce this before adding the lines. I want to choose where I want my lines blurred and not have Photoshop make them fuzzy on the edge.
I will press Ctrl+Alt+I and downsize this to 1024 square. For this road, I'm going to do three lanes in each direction plus a center safety lane, giving me a total of seven lane widths. Seven doesn't go evenly in the 1024. We come out with roughly 146 and change. I will put the extra pixel out on the outside in case I need a little extra on the road. To start that, I'll choose my Marquee by pressing M and under Style, do a fixed size.
I will make the width here 146 and the Height as well 146. Although really it doesn't matter. I just need the Width. I will land the Marquee and press Ctrl+R for Rulers. I will drag a ruler from the left side over and snap it to the Marquee. I am going to repeat this process across, landing guides which will serve as alignment for my road lines. I have seven lane widths across, maybe a little more in the right side but that's fine. Roads can be a little bit uneven.
I will use these guides as placement for my road lines and guidelines to paint my oil stains. I will paint those in first. I will make a new layer. Press Ctrl+D to deselect and zoom out. When painting, I find especially for straight lines, it's easier to start outside of the document, hold Shift, and drag down so that the line is straight. I will set the blending mode to Multiply and paint in a fairly dark gray to start with a big soft brush. Notice my Hardness is at 0, my Size is 300.
I will start outside of one lane, hold Shift, and click and drag down. I will repeat this process through all the lanes. Initially, it doesn't look like much. Then I will downsize the brush and lay another line down. As we can start to see in this one lane I am building up, we get the wear down in the middle of the road, along with any oil and drips and exhausts that have spilled on it. I will downsize the brush one more time, maybe two or three, and lay a centerline down.
I have even wear on my road starting from top to bottom. I will go through and repeat this for all six of my lanes, leaving the center safety lane alone. I have cloned my oil stains and touched up the painting a bit, finishing all six outside lanes, but not the center safety lane. This gets less wear than the main traffic lanes. If I zoom in, we can see that the staining is gently in the center with some bleed to the sides. Now I need to paint my paint my lane lines. The trick when painting a tilable map with lane lines is to choose a multiple or an easily divisible part of the overall texture size.
As my texture is 1024 square, I'm going to make my lane lines 128 long and see how that looks. I will make a new layer and zoom in so I can test the size of my marquee. I will press M for Marquee and choose a fixed size. For the Width, I'll try 5 pixels. That way I can center it evenly on one of my guidelines. For the Height, I will put in 128. When I lay down a line, check and zoom out, I'll gauge the proportion. If I repeat this every so often, do I have too much lane line or not enough? My guess at the moment is it could be a little shorter.
I am going to make the Height of this 100. I'll have to remember that when I repeat this. I will zoom in on one of my guidelines. Really it doesn't matter which one. Lay down my Marquee and fill it with white or yellow, depending of your choice of lane line. I will deselect, press V for Move and move this line over, centering it on that guideline. Mine is snapped to the top of the image. Zooming out, we can see the start of a lane line. Now I will clone this layer and use my Offset tool to move it down exactly, choosing Filter > Other > Offset.
For the repeat on this, so it tiles seamlessly, I will move it down 256 pixels even though the line is 100 long. That repeat will go evenly down the drawing for ever and ever. I will repeat this process twice more finishing out the lane lines. When I press Ctrl+Semicolon, to turn off the guidelines, we can see my lane lines on the road. I'll go to the top lane line layer, press Ctrl+E to merge down, and now all of my lane lines are on one layer.
I'll take this and clone it across to fill in my other lane lines and then show the end result. I have cloned my lane lines across. You may wish to take the ones on one side and move them down to the bottom of the drawing, so that the dashes don't line up from side to side on the road. This is an artistic choice. The last thing to do is use this same method to paint in the yellow lines in the middle. I'll start this out so we can see how it looks. Pressing Ctrl+Semicolon turns on my guides again. I'll zoom in so I can see for placement and I will start out with a fixed size marquee, a Width of 5 and a Height of 1024.
I will land this marquee on my drawing, centered on that line, and I'll fill this marquee in, well, road line yellow. I want to make this on a new layer as this center is a different construction than the dashed lines. Now I need to move my marquee over. I can do this by pressing M and then using the arrows to nudge. I'll fill this next marquee with black or nearly black, and finally I'll use a fixed size marquee in the same way from the lane lines to make the dash inside of the center safety lane.
I will use a Height of 100 in my marquee again. Landing the marquee next to the black and filling in yellow. I'll repeat the technique of cloning and offsetting this line and show how it looks when I am done. There is one side of my center safety lane. Now I just need to clone this layer and flip it over. I will clone this layer, holding Alt and dragging, and then choose Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal.
Now I will take the clone of the center safety lane lines, turn on my guides again so I can see, and snap this into place. We probably need to zoom in, press V and use the arrows to nudge a little bit. You may wish to flip these back and forth so that the lines alternate, or you can keep them aligned together. If you would like to flip them, choose Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical. Now I have got an offset pattern. My road is ready. I have got oil stains, lane lines, center safety lane, and the feel of the asphalt.
If you would like, you can add in other texture or other repeating objects such as manhole covers. As one final variation, we could put in a gray along the side if your road needs a gutter. Judging from my reference pictures, the asphalt goes straight to curb so I am going to leave mine alone. This is ready to save out and map as a tilable texture onto those miles of road.
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