Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

Creating wood texture


Creating Urban Game Environments in 3ds Max

with Adam Crespi

Video: Creating wood texture

Another valuable element in a texture library is wood. We use wood as a building material around the world in different places and different ways. Sometimes it's used as siding. We can see here on an old barn or outbuilding. Sometimes it's used as a structural frame, sometimes it's both, and sometimes it's even a floor. We need to make wood in various ages, various sizes, and various weather conditions so we get different looks to it. What I will show in this example is how to make a large swatch of raw wood that later we can adjust color and cut planks.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 4m 47s
    1. Welcome
    2. Understanding the design process
    3. What you should know before watching this course
    4. Software requirements
    5. Using the exercise files
      2m 4s
  2. 14m 36s
    1. Identifying key contours and shadows in concept art
      1m 59s
    2. Analyzing concept art for texture
      2m 28s
    3. Choosing between modeling and texturing
      1m 43s
    4. Understanding the limitations of normal maps
      2m 26s
    5. Analyzing concept art for key shadow details
      3m 10s
    6. Identifying shadow details as generated or painted
      2m 50s
  3. 44m 57s
    1. Planning the visible overlaid history in a city
      3m 6s
    2. Planning a "wedding cake" building: Base, middle, and top
      2m 50s
    3. Planning a modern building: Base and shaft
      3m 1s
    4. Designing the zoning: Planning the visible uses of buildings
      6m 43s
    5. Laying out city blocks
      2m 36s
    6. Planning modular textures and geometry: Streets and sidewalks
      4m 1s
    7. Texturing intersections
      3m 13s
    8. Modeling modular curbs, gutters, and ramps
      5m 7s
    9. Modeling modular street elements
      3m 14s
    10. Modeling corners with ramps
      5m 56s
    11. Unwrapping sidewalk elements
      5m 10s
  4. 38m 9s
    1. Laying out rectangles and planning how to clone geometry and texture
      4m 59s
    2. Using layers to organize construction elements and actual models
      3m 51s
    3. Extruding edges to form major shadow lines
      5m 17s
    4. Testing the module for correct floor-to-floor heights
      1m 41s
    5. Trimming down the module and cloning
      4m 10s
    6. Stretching the vertical elements to minimize geometry
      7m 10s
    7. Unwrapping the elements for correct proportion
      7m 48s
    8. Laying out a texture sheet for a façade
      3m 13s
  5. 39m 50s
    1. Making brick texture
      6m 23s
    2. Adding detail to the diffuse texture: Sills and arches
      4m 24s
    3. Adding stone accents
      7m 47s
    4. Layering color in window frames and doorways
      8m 39s
    5. Copying diffuse layers for normal map foundations
      2m 7s
    6. Desaturating the diffuse map copies and prepping for normal maps
      3m 42s
    7. Converting bump maps to normal maps using nDO
      6m 48s
  6. 1h 2m
    1. Analyzing the necessary silhouette and geometry
      5m 24s
    2. Examining existing buildings in different lighting conditions
      3m 8s
    3. Planning cornice elements
      3m 32s
    4. Extruding cornice elements from polygon edges
      9m 12s
    5. Assigning smoothing groups for optimal shading
      4m 31s
    6. Unwrapping cornices for lighting
      8m 43s
    7. Modeling sloped roofs
      7m 16s
    8. Adding fascias and soffits
      5m 21s
    9. Adding fascias and soffits for gable ends
      7m 31s
    10. Texture sheets for roofs
      8m 1s
  7. 13m 55s
    1. Arranging, aligning, and cloning modular elements
      3m 26s
    2. Setting pivot points for buildings
      5m 48s
    3. Reusing elements: Exploring possibilities in modular building design
      4m 41s
  8. 40m 3s
    1. Creating a texture library
    2. Creating rusty corrugated metal texture
      7m 53s
    3. Creating stone texture
      4m 42s
    4. Creating wood texture
      9m 50s
    5. Creating rough brick texture
      7m 44s
    6. Creating roads
      9m 18s
  9. 38m 44s
    1. Using the Walkthrough Assistant to assess texture needs
      4m 46s
    2. Drawing detail at the right size
      3m 30s
    3. Understanding tiling and non-tiling textures
      2m 57s
    4. Deciding when to use tiling and non-tiling textures
      3m 2s
    5. Using multiple mapping coordinates
      4m 3s
    6. Using multiple unwrap modifiers
      6m 47s
    7. Unwrapping objects a second time: Planning an unwrap for a light map
      7m 46s
    8. Unwrapping a building façade using overlapping texture elements
      5m 53s
  10. 30m 25s
    1. Understanding ambient occlusion
      1m 50s
    2. Assessing the quality of occlusion as a cinematic mood
      2m 48s
    3. Overview of the Ambient Occlusion shader
      5m 9s
    4. Baking maps using the Render To Texture dialog
      3m 15s
    5. Using occlusion as a foundation for dirt
      5m 28s
    6. Using occlusion from detailed models for texture
      5m 54s
    7. Baking lighting
      6m 1s
  11. 25m 18s
    1. Preparing for Unity as a world builder
      2m 26s
    2. Importing into Unity and recognizing limitations
      4m 12s
    3. Importing elements with detailed materials
      5m 59s
    4. Setting optimal texture sizes and resizing in Unity
      3m 12s
    5. Setting up a naming convention and scene management
      7m 40s
    6. Renaming tools in 3ds Max
      1m 49s
  12. 1m 21s
    1. What's next
      1m 21s

please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course Creating Urban Game Environments in 3ds Max
5h 54m Intermediate Sep 07, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Follow a practical guide to building 3D cityscapes for games. IAuthor Adam Crespi constructs a city block in 3ds Max utilizing low-polygon modeling and advanced texturing techniques. The course shows how to model common city elements such as buildings, intersections, curbs, and roofs and explains how to expand a city quickly and easily by reusing existing geometry in a modular way. The course also sheds light on simulating real-world detail with baking, lighting, and ambient occlusion techniques and offers a series of best practices for exporting to the Unity gaming engine.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the design process and software requirements
  • Analyzing concept art for texture and key shadow detail
  • Planning differently styled buildings
  • Laying out city blocks
  • Organizing construction elements and models using layers
  • Cloning geometry and texture
  • Testing the module for correct floor-to-floor heights
  • Arranging, aligning and cloning modular elements
  • Building a texture library
  • Creating stone, wood, and brick textures
  • Constructing texture sheets
  • Drawing detail
  • Using occlusion as a foundation for dirt
  • Preparing for Unity as a world builder
3D + Animation
3ds Max
Adam Crespi

Creating wood texture

Another valuable element in a texture library is wood. We use wood as a building material around the world in different places and different ways. Sometimes it's used as siding. We can see here on an old barn or outbuilding. Sometimes it's used as a structural frame, sometimes it's both, and sometimes it's even a floor. We need to make wood in various ages, various sizes, and various weather conditions so we get different looks to it. What I will show in this example is how to make a large swatch of raw wood that later we can adjust color and cut planks.

To begin, I'm going to start out with a new document. I will press Ctrl+N for New Document and make this 500x500. I'll fill this new document with a 50% gray, pressing Shift+F5, and under Use choosing 50% Gray. Then I will put some vertical grain on, choosing Filter > Texture > Grain. We want to think of it as not wood, but a roughly parallel series of lines with occasional variation in color and weave.

I will make my Grain Type Vertical and take the Intensity and Contrast down. These don't need to be too fierce. We don't want black and white in the wood. We want gray and slightly different gray to start. I will press OK. Now I'll take this and choose Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. I will set the Angle to 90 to match the grain and the Distance to 20. That way it smoothes out most of the dots, leaving the even grain. I have a little bit of weave in here. That's just fine. Now I need to stretch this document.

I will press Ctrl+Alt+I for Image Size and blow this up to 2000 square. What this does is it spreads out the grain, forcing Photoshop to soften and interpolate the colors slightly, giving me a more natural appearance. We will add the color last. It's really about the pattern first and this is not going to be a tilable texture. This will be a large chunk of wood, actually something bigger than we could get from any tree possible, maybe a 4x4 or 6x6 board that later we could cut planks out of and arrange in the same way we do bricks or stone.

Now I am going to add some weave into the grain. But before I do that, I need a little bit of color variation. I will press B for Brush, and using a fairly large brush, maybe a few hundred wide, and setting it as a Multiply with a very low Opacity, I will brush vertical lines. It's helpful to do this zoomed out just a little bit, pressing Ctrl+Minus. That way I can start my brush outside of my document. Hold Shift and click and drag straight down to match the grain. I'll add in variation, a little lighter, a little darker in different places.

Occasionally, I'll use the square brackets to up- and downsize the brush giving me larger and smaller areas of darkness. As a side note, I do this regularly. I probably have 30, 40, 50 wood samples like this of different species, just large planks ready to go in my library. Then if somebody says we need cherry for all the furniture, I can go to my cherry samples and cut out the parts I need to paste onto and unwrap. I will also work in white sometimes for this, taking the color up to white and setting the brush blending mode here to Soft Light.

As I brush over, I will add light streaks, maybe even smaller across this, again holding Shift while doing this, making sure I click and drag, hold Shift, and then release both at the top, so I don't get a diagonal line. Now I've got variation across this. We will go to Filter and Liquefy. In this, I will add the variation in the wood. I will zoom out so I can see the full document. The first step is to change the grain width. I will use the Bloat tool and I will make the Brush Size fairly big, maybe 300 or so, but a very, very low Density and Rate.

If you are using a tablet, set your pressure very low as well. For this first one, I'm going to try to keep my hand as steady as possible, running my Bloat tool down the wood to spread out the grain. A little weave is okay, but we want to stay away from large zigzags. I'll come back up and catch the top and go right off the document. I'll repeat this several more times, maybe changing the Brush Size just a little bit, looking to add that characteristic variation across wood grain that's there from different years of drought or fire or otherwise.

I don't want to start from the top like that because it's very easy to introduce a dip in the wood. I will make sure I start in the middle, brush down, and come back and catch that top edge. It's okay to leave these in once in a while because we do see places like that in wood. Maybe one or two more will do. Now I need to add the wave in the grain. Trees are always curved. So I am going to use the Forward Warp tool with a huge brush, maybe 1000 square, and a very, very low Density and Pressure.

The idea on this is I'm going to just brush it over and add some weave and variation. Again, I want to stay away from large zigzags but some gentle curves would help. That way in case I see my grain, it's not perfect on something. I tend to do it diagonally, either top -left to bottom-right or top-right to bottom-left, whatever works. We are working our way in from the large scale down to the small. Now I need to add in places for knots. Depending on the species you are making, you may see more or fewer knots or none at all.

I'm going to work in somewhat of a generic pine or fur like we saw on those reference photos. I'll use the Blot tool, taking the Brush Size way down, maybe 100 or so and again a low Density and Pressure. I'll zoom-in and find a place with a bit of weave and in my Blot tool, just gently open up the grain, maybe a little bigger in this case. 150 will work well. I'll open up a place for a knot.

Zoom out and go catch another area. You can add in more or less weave if you'd like. You can do straighter wood if it's quarters-on or if it's flats-on, you may have a great amount of weave. It also depends on the species. As an example, I've had to make curly maple and tiger's eye maple where basically the whole thing was weave and knots. That took me a bit but the result was worth it. Once I have got my knots in, I can use the Twirl tool. Zooming in on each knot and sizing down this Twirl tool to maybe 60 or 70 and in the middle of the knot, I will twirl. What we don't want a huge bunch of rings, but really a somewhat ring like structure that looks kind of like a knot. That will do.

I will zoom in and do another one. It's really okay if some are dark and some are light. That's fine and if some aren't really formed at all. Knots show up in a different places in the wood. I'll finish these out and show the end result here. Using the Twirl tool, maybe upsizing and downsizing the brush a little bit, I've added knots to most of the places I've used the Bloat tool on. Some of them I left alone, like this one here at the top.

My wood is now ready for color. I'll hit OK and accept the Liquefy. This wood is ready as a grain pattern. Now I need to add color. I will make my Background layer by double-clicking on it and naming it. I will call it grain. I will slip a new layer under it, pressing Ctrl+Shift+N for new layer, calling this one color, and then Ctrl+ Shift+Left Bracket to move it down. On this new layer, first I will pick the wood color I want. I am going to make this kind of a nice warm yellow to start.

I'll fill in my under layer, my color, and change the blending mode of Grain to Color Burn. It's neat, but it's a little on the bright side. I will zoom in and using Hue/Saturation on the color layer desaturate and get the color where I want it. I press Ctrl+U to get here. I'll pull the Saturation out, maybe up the Lightness a little bit, and shift the Hue ever so slightly. I would like mine a little warmer. The last step is to add a little more color variation.

I will turn off the grain and eyedropper my under color. Then on the foreground color, I will change the Brightness of the Saturation slightly, maybe 4 or 5 points. Using a Paint Brush that's fairly large maybe several hundred across, but painting in a normal at 80% Opacity, I will add some streaks along the wood. A little goes a long way. We can see just a little bit gets me a bunch of extra darkness. I may want to rethink this and lower the Opacity.

I'll repeat this process with a lighter color, maybe 5 or 6 points lighter than the original. It's okay to let your hand weave a little bit here. It doesn't have to be perfect. You can always come back and paint it where you'd like it. My wood texture is ready. Right now, this is 2000 square. It's ready for cutting and pasting into a texture sheet and recoloring or reusing as I need. It's very easy to do this and now I have a clean raw diffused sample of wood, meaning there is no lighting or perspective baked in and I can cut as many planks out of it as I need.

There are currently no FAQs about Creating Urban Game Environments in 3ds Max.

Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Creating Urban Game Environments in 3ds Max.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


Upgrade to View Courses Offline


With our new Desktop App, Annual Premium Members can download courses for Internet-free viewing.

Upgrade Now

After upgrading, download Desktop App Here.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Start your FREE 10-day trial

Begin learning software, business, and creative skills—anytime,
anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts. provides
Unlimited access to over 4,000 courses—more than 100,000 video tutorials
Expert-led instruction
On-the-go learning. Watch from your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Switch back and forth as you choose.
Start Your FREE Trial Now

A trusted source for knowledge.


We provide training to more than 4 million people, and our members tell us that helps them stay ahead of software updates, pick up brand-new skills, switch careers, land promotions, and explore new hobbies. What can we help you do?

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.